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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Handling hectic Hong Kong . . .

The pace of life here in Hong Kong, for me at least, makes Beijing look almost rural. There's so much to see and do and always something going on but I feel as if I've done very little the past three months. I guess that's not truly the case.

After my first month looking after friends' apartment and gorgeous ginger cats, I found an apartment of my own that I love. Like many homes in HK, it's a tiny studio but is ideal for me. The building is only three years old so everything feels new and clean and it has great facilities - gym, pool, a reading room, relaxation area with several Bali-style loungers, massage chairs, barbecue terrace with two Webers, an outdoor area and 24-hour reception staff.

My apartment came with a new sofa bed (I got to choose the style and color) and has a reasonable amount of storage space, a great bathroom and a wonderful open kitchen area with lots of counter space and an oven. There's a small balcony (I need to get a chair to put out there) and a small view of the harbor (I'm watching ferries go by as I write this). I've been slowly buying everything I need for the place, picking up items most days as I head home from work. I make my own meals to take to work most days and am again baking sweet treats to take in for workmates or share with a friendly neighbor.

My neighborhood, Sai Ying Pun, has wonderful restaurants, markets and shops and almost everything one needs is withing walking distance. It has the feel of a village rather than a big-city 'hood and you see and acknowledge a lot of the same people around all the time. My apartment complex has a similar feel, with regulars in the gym and pool and several families with young children to liven up the place.

Work has been a slight case of being careful what you wish for - I wanted a challenge after not finding that in my last position and have definitely found it here. I've completed my probation period and feel I'm settling in well and work with some great people - always a huge plus. It's been more intense that I expected, which explains why I haven't done as much as I expected as yet. I often just want to stay in my quiet apartment in my free time for now.

Obviously, it's a busy city and I work in a hub of the mayhem at Causeway Bay, and have become to narrower, more crowded walkways than even in Beijing. There are also public spaces everywhere, however, allowing a respite from the bustle and a place to rest and recuperate before heading back into the fray. I also like the sports areas I see dotted throughout the city, which seem busy whatever the hour.

I've made time to take care of myself and find my own peace - something that seems more important in such a busy city. I start each day with meditation before breakfast, coffee and hitting the gym, and often follow that up by swimming laps then hanging out poolside with a book. I'm taking a yoga class at least once a week and trying to fit in one other practice session also. The meditation and yoga help me relax and be more tolerant, the workouts give me happy endorphins and it all together makes me a calmer, more chill person. 

I guess I've achieved a reasonable amount in the time I've been here and the weather is starting to be ideal for hiking so I hope to explore more of my new home in the next months. There's no hurry - I imagine I will be here for some time . . .