Not The Best Goodbye!

Most of you might be aware about the ongoing political situation in Hong Kong. Somehow, the situation in Hong Kong worsened over the last few weeks and the universities were unable to operate normally. Because of the rising tension, the students started leaving the campuses and even Drexel felt that it was unsafe for the students to be in Hong Kong for an elongated period of time. As a result, they closely monitored the situation and ensured that all the Drexel students were immediately able to leave Hong Kong. At the same time, HKUST positively reacted to the situation and made all the remaining lectures and assessments for the semester online, so that the students could be safe and still complete their classes and credits. Don’t worry, I am not going to provide a detailed insight or my views on the situation and make this post sound more like a news article. Firstly because I am completely neutral about the situation and secondly because all the information is available online. Instead, I am going to dedicate this post to share and describe some of my most memorable experiences in Hong Kong.

Out of all the experiences, one that tops my list is the first time I cooked some real vegetarian food with my roommate. I have always been a kind of person who never prefers cooking because it involves a lot of time and patience. I have always believed that it’s more convenient to simply order and eat some food instead of buying groceries, cooking, and later doing the dishes. However, that belief of mine changed because of the high meal prices in Hong Kong. The only way to bring those expenses down was to buy groceries and cook my own food. As I hadn’t spent a lot of time shopping for groceries and cooking in the past, I was a bit lazy to try it. However, I had a really solid bond with my roommate and I was able to share my problems with him. As a result, he decided to help me and we started shopping for grocery together and hunted down some really cheap places in the city. Next, we came back to the dorm and used the floor kitchen to cook some dishes made of eggs, mushrooms, and a lot of healthy veggies. It wasn’t just a lot cheaper compared to the options available on campus, but also healthier. The satisfaction I experienced after eating that meal makes it one of the most memorable moments in Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, it wasn’t a really great of an achievement, but I was satisfied because I dared to step out of my comfort zone. That meal also helped me save a lot of money because I started shopping for grocery every week and cooked everything I needed.

After my first cooking experience in Hong Kong, another memorable experience is related to my research. Before leaving for UST, I had already emailed my favorite professor there and had signed up for a credit-based research program. But I simply didn’t want to earn credits from that opportunity. I wanted more of a professional research experience. As a result, I stayed in touch with him remotely and learnt everything that I was going to need over the summer break. After reaching UST, I continued working and one day, my research supervisor offered to co-author a conference paper with me. That is one of the most memorable days in Hong Kong because all my hard work had payed off. After accepting that offer, I was given access to his personal lab (Symlab) in which I was able to network with his PhD and post-doctoral students. They happily welcomed me to the lab and in no time, Symlab was more like a family. We worked together and had a lot of fun outside the lab as well. As I aspire to pursue a PhD in future, spending time with the Symlab colleagues was another great learning experience.

In addition to the two experiences described above, there are ample of other instances. While I have already described some of those in the previous posts, I can’t simply fit all the remaining ones in this post. For example, the day out on Hong Kong island, the endless study sessions with the local students, my first friends on campus, playing with the school squash team and many more. Which means I did a lot of things in Hong Kong. Yet, I wasn’t satisfied while leaving. I wanted to spend more time there and make the most out of it. But the things don’t always go the way we want it to. As the title suggests, it wasn’t the best goodbye, but I will always cherish every moment spent in Hong Kong. All I want to say is, “THANKS FOR EVERYTHING HONG KONG”!

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