1) The skyline. There are skyscrapers packed along both sides of the harbor, all vying to be the tallest, brightest, and shiniest. Last night we walked along the "Avenue of Stars" and watched the nightly light show play across the dozens of skyscrapers across the way. After 25 years living in Iowa and 5 months living in Qufu, I can't help but be dazzled by city lights!
2) English. English, English, everywhere. I can read bus schedules and street signs. I can order from a menu. I can understand the news. I can ask questions and understand the answer. For a few short days, I'm no longer an illiterate ignoramus. Hooray!
Plus, who doesn't love a little British flavor in a big city? We can go up the "lifts," write an e-mail to our "mum," and travel down the left side of the street. Yes, please!
3) New friends. We came to Hong Kong because Sara's former piano professor, a HK native, is visiting here for a few days. So we spent a day with her and her sweet 74-year-old mother. Her mom was snapping pictures at every opportunity, even on the escalators. It was great. A couple nights ago we had a meal with Rufina and Jason. Rufina is also a Hong Kong local, and she served with my organization in Sara's town for 5 years, so we got to hear more about our organization's history in Shandong Province.
Finally, we have been really blessed to stay with a very generous family from the international church, who picked us up when we arrived, opened up their beautiful home on Hong Kong island, and answered all our questions about the city. They really want to share the good things God has given them, and they've shown us true hospitality. Susan, the mum, is from the UK, and Jason is from Taiwan. They have two adorable boys who already know more languages than I do.
4) Freedom. It's quite nice to be in a place where you can speak your mind. In the PRC, I keep a lot of my opinions to myself, which seems a good way to develop humility as a learner in another culture. Nonetheless, it's nice to know that if I did want to air out my opinions, I could do it here without much backlash. Plus, it's refreshing to drive down the street and see churches meeting freely and other such things.
Oh, there are so many things I like about this place. I like being able to buy cookies and eat curry. I like seeing the mess of English and Chinese signs hovering above narrow streets. I like being near the sea. I like getting on a bus and careening along through green hills and peaks. It's great!
Today we leave HK and go to Shenzhen for a couple days.