Week 1: Hong Kong and Singapore

This week I arrived in Asia- my very first time on this continent. Within 24 hours of landing in Singapore from the U.S., I was already on my way to Hong Kong with my boss. He introduced me to the employees of his venture capitalist firm and showed me their shoebox of an office in the central part of the city. I was then left to my own devices and explored a little bit of the city. I walked to the botanical gardens and spent some time people-watching in the park. The botanical gardens have an impressive fountain surrounded by benches for those seeking refuge from the clustered city. It was there that I was able to breathe in the Asian air and take a moment to appreciate how far I’d come and the new culture that I had begun to dive into. 

The next day I was up bright and early for breakfast with my boss followed by some clerical work (inputting contacts into their system), and then shadowing one of the members of his team on a lunch interview. Surprisingly the lunch was casual and more of a discussion than an interview. Jolie, whom I was shadowing, described to me the importance of the new hire being personable and social. It was interesting to hear about the interviewee’s education and professional background. He was young and American-born and educated but living in Hong Kong. After lunch, I finished some more clerical work and then went with my boss to check in on one of his investments- a recruiting company. I didn’t understand much of what they were discussing, but I was able to catch onto some of the goals and tasks my boss expected of his investments in order for them to be successful. I could tell he was frustrated because the founder of his investment wasn’t listening and it was effecting the company’s production. 

My boss gave me Thursday to venture into the city alone and do what I wanted. I woke up, walked to a breakfast shop and got two pastries- mango passionfruit and pistachio raspberry, and took them back to the hotel to eat in the air conditioning (which I’ve learned to appreciate). I then left and went to an antique market, then took a ferry to Kowloon, went to the ladies’ market and got a fake designer bag for myself and a hoodie for my brother. I then went back to central and relaxed, then headed back out again to go to the observation wheel at night. The view was great and I got to see the nightly light show at 8. In my car on the wheel was a young family and some older women in a group. I asked one of them to take a picture of me and she was happy to do so. We didn’t speak the same language but were able to communicate through gestures and smiles. One of her friends helped direct her and the camera, another took pictures of her helping me to record the event. It was a special moment for me, because from traveling alone and keeping to myself I hadn’t had many interactions with foreigners. After the observation wheel, I headed back to Kowloon for the Temple Night Market, walked around, and then sat down at a street shop to observe the hustle and bustle around me. I watched groups happily gathered together outside, socializing, and eating street food. 

Friday was my last day in Hong Kong. I went back to the office, did more clerical work (this time updating expense reports) and then went to a business lunch with my boss, his business partner, an employee, and one of their investors. I sat back and observed- they mostly talked about business stuff I didn’t know anything about. Afterward, we left for the airport and my trip to Hong Kong was over. Although the trip was short, it was the perfect introduction to Asia and it allowed me to evolve as a solo traveller. I learned it was easy to get overwhelmed and want to stay in my hotel but pushing myself to leave paid off and the thrill of new experiences made up for the anxiety I was facing. 

Park in HKView of Central from KowloonBreakfast in HKTemple Night MarketIn the OfficeSingaporeSingapore Garden by the BaySingapore Airport

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