Compilation I

I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad – George Bernard Shaw

This post will most likely contain information coming from several days as I have nothing to write, but nothing to do. Right now it is Thursday night, and, depending on how much time the bank trip takes me tomorrow, I will most likely go to Sha Tin tomorrow and peruse some stores before an event at 4:30. I probably won’t buy anything yet, because I’m still creating my budget for this semester, but I do think that I will have more money than I need. I don’t know how much yet, but I will probably have enough to spend on souvenirs and other things I was going to buy eventually (e.g., running shoes). With that said:

Hmm I almost feel obligated to shop in HK because there is 1) SO much stuff, so many malls, so many deals and 2) no sales tax and 3) the locals do it and 4) I rarely buy anything for myself or for others and now that I have some spending money (while still coming out on the black side of -zero+), isn’t it time to make up for lost time? I don’t know. I don’t like to buy stuff because I would like to live a very anti-materialistic lifestyle. Also, what do I need? Money can only provide physical necessities, but a 6-at-once toaster is not a necessity. And there is a difference between buying ‘stuff’ and buying ‘stuff I don’t need.’ How often am I going to be eating toast? But a nice jacket, now THAT’s something that can have utility. However, on the other hand, how many jackets do I need? So this is a question that’s been floating around in my head for a few years, but one that has really come to the frontal lobe within the past two weeks.
Further, I get so overwhelmed at everything in the stores. I get confused as to what I want, what I need, what I won’t use, what’s overpriced, what’s the best store to buy it in…I eventually end up erring on the safe side and not making any purchases.
It’s late and I’ll update this thing later. Soon I will probably release two posts filled exclusively with pictures: one with scenery and the other with food. So, EXPECT. But I don’t know when yet. Next week? I haven’t been taking many photos of either so that will give me time to actually take some photos of them. Congee, noodle soup, dim sum, junk food, egg tarts (when I finally find a legit one), etc.

Saturday: I went to another mall-complex today, but it turned out to be a little less exciting than the ones I’ve been to. There was a wet market, however, but that was the highlight. All the shops were for women, and there were a few restaurants. So much for that. However, as I was walking back to the MTR station, I happened to happen upon a street performance!

Sorry to leave you with such little detail, but I really don’t know much about what I witnessed. It was short but fun. Earlier when I left my hostel, I told myself I wouldn’t need my camera; sometimes I say the dumbest things. After it ended I was walking back to the station, but had a sudden impulse to go back, as if I’d missed something. I know from previous experiences that it’s just best to listen to my spontaneous gut sometimes. I walked back, found another commercial center right next to the one I was just in. Again, it was kind of a let down; mostly just restaurants and clothes for women. This center had electronics, though, although I don’t want any. The fantastic side of this story is that I found a bakery with hot egg tarts! So I bought my first one and it was delicious. Sugar, pastry, eggs, yeah! So to conclude: street performance and egg tart: highlight of my day.

Wednesday: Nothing much has been going on. I went to a supermarket on Monday to buy some snacks and such. And class. Tuesday I went to class all day. Today I went to class and then will go to a mall to peruse some shops some more before hanging out tonight. Hopefully I can get a better idea of what I want to buy for others and for myself. I may end up not buying anything for myself, seeing as how I really don’t want anything right now. I want to be happy, but buying things for oneself can’t really bring that. Well, I guess an exception would be a plane ticket to visit family. But that’s all.

In order to give myself even more time to collect photos of food and scenery (both of the nature-y and of the building-y persuasions), I will disclose some info about myself that you may or may not be aware of:

I don’t enjoy liquids. I rarely drink anything at all. The only reason I drink water is out of necessity, and the only reason I drink milk is for protein and calcium supplementation when I go on stretches of vegetarianism. I’ve been drinking water here, but not so much milk (in fact, pretty much none at all so far) because I’ve been eating meat and fish nearly every day. However, there are so many varieties of drinks here that I might have to indulge every once in a while. I won’t break my streak of no soda (none since June 09), but there are juices and a variety of soymilks that are looking mighty tasty. I’ve tried soymilk flavored with malt (excellent), black sesame (excellent), chocolate (so-so), papaya (tasted like cough medicine and the aftertaste was the worst), and melon (tasted like cantaloupe…so-so). Also, a lot of variety in juices, like black currant and lemon, among others, although I haven’t tried any yet.

I have cold hands. One quote reads “cold hands means warm heart.” I don’t know if this is true, but I do have cold hands. It’s very inconvenient in the winter when people remark, “oh, your hands are so purple! are you all right?” Yes, I’m fine. My blood is just where it belongs: in my heart, stomach, and brain. Thanks. It’s been fairly chilly here, and I’m almost (almost) regretting not bringing gloves, but it’s more of an inconvenience than a worry. I can just stick my hands in my pockets and everything is A-OK.

I like activity. If you’ve been following along, you’ll probably know that I like to have an “active lifestyle.” But it’s so much more than that. I intentionally take the stairs rather than the elevator. I haven’t taken a bus to class since 2007. I like to run and play sports, but exercise is just the icing on the cake. I get a huge sense of satisfaction from being able to effortlessly climb to the top of campus. Having a working body is very important, and if I go longer than a fortnight without exercise or much movement, I start to get irritable, cranky, moody, apathetic, lazy, bored, burnt out, etc etc. I bring this up because I have left the country twice and both times I have seen both 1) old people and 2) people in suits running some place, something that I RARELY see in America (Once, I saw an elderly lady shuffling along to catch a bus in Chicago. I was impressed). I don’t think that they were running for its own sake, but just to get some place quickly. In Paris, people ran to catch connecting metros. Here I’ve seen a few old people (anyone over 35 is old to me, but not necessarily old) running on the track. The campus has a staff fitness test aimed at improving fitness for staffers. The campus facilities people (the workers who maintain the greens and environment) can often be seen playing soccer or jogging on the track. It amazes me that they can still do that, but then I realize that I’m amazed at myself for being amazed. That is, this is how older people should be: active. Gardening, walking/hiking, sports, bowling…We should be shocked when old people don’t get out and move they bodies, dig? I would like to grow up to be a healthy old man. I want to die in my sleep. But one can only hope, can’t one?

Well, that’s all for now! Have a great week and I hope you can stay warm in this excitingly cold streak you may be having.
P.S. Two more weeks until Chinese New Year!


8 thoughts on “Compilation I

  1. Caleb, treat yourself and buy you some gloves! How are the students over there? Are you making lots of friends in your classes? Are they friendly? Hang in there!

    1. The students are pretty friendly. I would say generally about the same friendliness as students in america. Maybe a little more outgoing towards me because I’m an exchange student, but they’re generally open to conversations.

  2. I agree with Sherie, Caleb! Buy yourself some gloves…then donate them to someone when you come back to the US. I find it hard to understand not liking liquids. And I love that you get to see healthy lifestyles…better than the US anyway! Big hugs from Minnesota.

    1. Yeah, donating? You’re so smart. But right now it’s really warm (~60) so I haven’t missed them. I probably won’t need them for more than a few nights anyway. Oh well…

  3. The best egg tarts and probably the cheapest too are around Sha Tin Po. It’s a little walks away but most ppl will know where to go. It’s like 10 min walk from the station to a little courtyard looking place w/ lots of restaurants and shops (go figure). The bakeries on the outsides of the courtyard are good! wish i had names, but guess you’ll just have to eat all of them and find out!

    1. Sha tin po? Is that the Sha tin MTR stop? I was out exploring today and I found some, but probably not the ones you were talking about since they were on the street. I was just out walking and discovered that I was really close to the sha tin station, but I really had no clue where I was.

  4. Caleb, It sounds like you are having an amazing introverted exploration time wandering around the city. Did I ever tell you about the day I wandered around London by myself?

    By the end of your post it sounded like you made up your mind about buying things. I always feel bad for buying things for myself because what do we really need? I don’t need all the massive amounts of stuff the stores try to sell me these days. However I love to buy souvenirs for friends when I travel (hint hint).

    1. No, I don’t remember you telling me about London. Or maybe you did and I’m just associating it with the memory of you telling me when you went to France. Also, the sticky rice you had is probably similar to the sticky rice here. Sometimes it’s called glutinous rice.

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