Last time I was in Hong Kong was almost 3 years ago. Everything seems fresh to me again. I was born in this city, and I walk around exactly like a tourist: a big camera around my neck, English words in between my broken Chinese, a surprised yet confused expression that seems to suggest someone who is lost but enjoying her misadventure.
The truth is, I didn’t like coming back to Hong Kong. Mundane routine seems like mission impossible from my eyes. It’s an extraordinary personal experience, until shopkeepers after shopkeepers ask whether I’m from overseas. At least give my broken Cantonese a chance! It’s one thing to deem oneself as an outcast, it’s something else when others label you as a foreigner, an outsider.
On the phone with my dad, I mindlessly referred to the house in Hong Kong as “my parents’ home”, when Dad patiently corrected me, saying it’s “our home”. That’s the moment I realized how much of a stranger Hong Kong is, to me. I really only lived in this apartment for a month in my life. At best, it’s like a summer resort home where I take an occasional vacation.
But that is also the moment when I realized how much love there is in Hong Kong, waiting for me. In this lovely home, I am welcomed like the most valued guest. Mom set up a bed for my short 1-month stay, put out a mug for me among the family mugs, an extra toothbrush, a special pair of slippers.. everything imaginable without my asking. This time, my perspective changed a little. It’s fine if everyone in this city sees me as a stranger, as long as I have my family who will always reserve a space for me, who will always make room for me here.