september, xvi.

I slept in. Thirteen hours in total. I should feel rested. I wake up to news of the typhoon that is tearing through South East Asia. I message all my friends in Hong Kong. I can’t stop replaying the videos of cranes falling down, trees being torn apart. It all feels a little apocalyptic.

By the time, we meet in the city it’s too late for breakfast so we just skip straight to lunch at 11:45. Svíčková with a half pint of Plzeň. I decide that this is my last day. He saw us from the car and called me immediately. “Who is that guy you are sitting with? And did I allow it?” It made me laugh and I had to call my parents to tell them about it. It felt good to know that someone is looking out for me even if it’s by sheer coincidence.

I chose the chair that was directly in the sun. I like the way hairs on forearms turn blond. Just like the strands of my hair. From chestnut brown to strawberry blonde in an hour. I couldn’t finish the half pint or the plateful of food. It was all too much. I could feel the way my body was revolting against it. The Czech cuisine is (still) too heavy for me. That’s how I know I am (still) not from here. I never will be.

I am counting off the days, minutes really until I’ll be alone again. I said no visitors and yet I still haven’t learned to say no.

From Kampa through Charles Bridge back to the National Theater all the way back to Old Town Square and up to the Fashion Club Rooftop. The view is spectacular. Then we carried on to Letna’s Stalin. Darkness descended by then. Hunger rose. Back across the river. A burger bar, cash only. Awful live music but we still endured it. By nine in the evening, I could barely keep my eyes opened. And on the way home I discovered Giovanni Kiyingi at Zázemí and I’m so glad that I walked past just at the right moment. I spotted him through a window, someone inside cracked it open for me so I could hear better. Zázemí feels like the most unlikely place to have discovered him. And yet. There’ll be more to this, I’m sure.

Before falling asleep, I check up on Hong Kong one more time. I decide I will go back in the spring again.

on the side of a road

Hong Kong, 2014.

There are many things you can try if you want. And some of them will even give it to you.

We used to frequent a tiny bar on Kowloon side called Roadside Bar. A retro poster hung inside covered by shadows and lights of a disco ball above it.

I used to get drunk, stare at it, smoke one cigarette after another. Norah Jones’ The Fall played on repeat. Josephine never rejected my request to keep the album playing. The words are engraved on the inside of my skull. 彌敦道 still remembers my footprints on the way back home. But who am I now?

Hong Kong returns to me in slow motion. Flashbacks both light and painful.

I still feel the heat of the city on my skin.

I am not sure what happened this week. Or what happened to it.

The waves again. Like clockwork. Something is different this time, though. I’m watching Luther for the umpteenth time.

November. Would you please slow down? I keep repeating myself. Old letters, words; it’s all coming up to the surface and I am not ready for it. They say that time’s supposed to heal ya. But I ain’t done much healing.

I’m taking stock of my life again.

有时你需要学会放手。

june 1

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It’s been a year since I left Hong Kong. A year ago, this was my view from the living room. What a wild life.

count your blessings

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written more than a year ago, when I still lived in Hong Kong.
now that I am in Prague, I realize that my ambitions have not really changed.

monday was a public holiday in hong kong; in commemoration of dragon boat festival, which is also known as tuen ng festival and dumpling festival. in other words, it’s all about boat rowing, wine drinking, and sticky-rice eating. I indulged in none of the above, but I did spend the day on the sunniest and brightest beach in hong kong. lower cheung sha beach will remain our favorite for as long as we are here.

because picture this: perfect azure blue skies, with soft breeze, chilled drinks, and light summery food. greek salad with not enough feta cheese, chickpeas, and cucumbers; flat pizza with tomato and basil and cranberry-infused iced tea. I read mandela and I took pictures and relaxed. did a whole lot of nothing, but I could feel that it was good for me. my body relaxed, my mind thought of nothing in particular too much or for too long.

I wondered why I should ever feel guilty about not feeling guilty. why it was nearly impossible to take as many days away from work as one wished, to wake up when one feels rested, to eat healthy and fresh produce without splurging insane amounts of money, to feel amazed when the air is clean rather than taking it for granted. because the air should and needs to be clean. because the oceans need to be clean. because our bodies and minds need to be clean.

hong kong is a place that does not pay attention or devote any time to urban infrastructure, to cleaner living and eating, to create sustainable ecosystems and natural environments. despite the existence of green queen and hundreds of others. globally, it is not enough. it does not even scratch the surface and it angers me. it saddens me. everything is manufactured and fake, and nothing will last for too long, until it is replaced with something else.

something that once used to be normal has now become a selling-point in the sea of consumerism. I ordered a mojito for refreshment and frankie, the boy who made and brought it for me, proudly exclaimed: this is our mint from the backyard, but we have no more, so you will have to choose another drink later. it was not a problem, really, but I wondered why it needs to be like that. why it should be an extraordinary fact that the mint was homegrown, rather than store-bought. I remembered my grandmother’s garden; it used to be my favorite thing to do every morning. picking tiny strawberries to go with pancakes, and cucumbers to put into our salads for lunch, picking off leaves of basil and mint for flavored water. we used to have aloe vera, wild lavender, and small orange tangerines. we grew our own peppers, parsley and blitva – a vegetable not unlike spinach, but with more a profound and developed taste.

an idea that I am often revisiting and thinking about; one day I will have to leave the city and move to a secluded area, a piece of land that has not been destroyed, developed or expanded to suit the masses. I will have to move somewhere where the idea of a natural life is not a strange one, but a given one. something that no one even thinks about, but just does.

maybe then I will find contentment.