Saturday, 7 June 2014

Colourful Hong Kong!

Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong was the most developed city we have been in Asia. The transportation system was amazingly efficient. It felt like being in a science fiction movie after visiting Vietnam. We took the airport train and reached the city within half an hour. The owner of our small apartment which was booked through Airbnb was already waiting for us. Airbnb is a website where people rent out lodging and private rooms and sometimes it can be the best option to get affordable accommodation, especially in Hong Kong where the hotels are very expensive. Our room was around 10 square metres with a double bed and a bathroom. It probably was the smallest place I ever stayed in. Not a good idea if you are claustrophobic! 

Saturday morning in Hong Kong

Joyful Alex at the light show
Hong Kong is a colourful and vibrant city. It has a lot of skyscrapers and great areas to explore. The Victoria Peak and Tsim Sha Tsui district are attractive tourist destinations. Daily at 8pm, there is the “World’s Largest and Permanent Light and Sound Show” (Guinness World Records) which is a perfect symphony of lights and music at the Victoria Harbour. It is a spectacular event that you can’t miss if you ever visit this exciting city. 

More tourist attractions include the Big Buddha, Soho and some small fisherman villages. There are plenty of markets to explore for shopping enthusiasts. We visited a nice jade market to get some presents for our families.

Doors at the Big Buddha

Cheung Chau is a nice little island where you can spend a full day. It is easy to reach by ferry. It was nice to leave crowded and busy Hong Kong behind for a couple of hours to enjoy hiking on this peaceful island. In Cheung Chau, we visited a small village and the Tin Hau Temple which was a tranquil place for meditation or receiving predictions about your future through Chinese fortune sticks.  

Friendly fish from Cheung Chau
During our time in this animated city, we caught up with Marie whom we met in Halong Bay tour in Vietnam. She is originally from France but lives and works in Hong Kong for the last couple of years. It was great to see her again. Thank you Marie for the fantastic travel tips! 

Dinner with friends

Hong Kong brought up some deep rooted, unfulfilled desires about not being able to make it to the corporate world. I felt inferior, jealous and bitter after seeing the busy white collar crowd in their expensive suites. I realised that my inner child wanted to be a part of this crowd in order to be acknowledged by my father. 

When I was growing up, it was important for my family that I go to university and get a good job in a reputable company. I started my studies in economics when I was 18, although I was drawn more towards the field of psychology. I wanted to please my parents and fulfil their dreams rather than following my own path.  

Hong Kong Business District
How much do you get influenced by your family, teachers, media and community? Do you know what you really want in life or are you pursuing someone else’s dreams? At the time, I wasn't aware of these processes! I did what I was told. I am sure everyone wanted the best for me from their perspective. Now, I believe that although parental guidance is essential, the children also need to have the freedom to make their own choices.   

My studies in economics took me to different countries and helped me to develop a bigger vision of the world. When I reflect back now, I can see that everything in my life happened for a reason and it was part of a perfect divine plan even though I could not connect the dots back then. I fulfilled my desire of studying psychotherapy in a later stage of my life when the timing was right. I learned to trust the process and go with the flow of life which was not always easy. I believe that our souls constantly guide us to the right direction but we need to quieten our minds to hear these messages. 

Coming back to Hong Kong! This time, I was able to witness my thoughts and emotions as an observer and did not react to them. Developing awareness of our mind chatter through mindfulness practices can help us to break the chain of blind reaction and provides clarity. This clarity then leads to wisdom and change. We all have the option to react to our thoughts (which may not be always true) or observe them as passing clouds without reaction. The choice is yours!

Those 4 days in Hong Kong provided healing for my soul. I was able to see and release some of my old reaction patterns which were formed during my childhood. I know that my father loves me unconditionally. I am also aware that it is difficult for him to show his feelings, which is unfortunately common for many men due to our conditionings. The good news is that change is always possible through conscious effort. Thank you Hong Kong for the entertainment and the opportunity to grow. 

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