January 2013 marked 11 years since my family moved to Hong Kong for the second time. And although it’s just my mum who lives here now, and I’ve lived in Sydney, Australia for four of those years and Toronto, Canada for two, Hong Kong feels the most like home. Perhaps that is why, I always feel like I’m re-finding myself when I am here. This is the city of my first true love, my first night out, some of my oldest and closest friends. I can be away for a year and a half, and still navigate myself around like I never left. I think I walk these streets in my dreams, and years melt away when I see those familiar faces. Expat brats are one of a kind people.
It’s probably unsurprising then, that I value the advice I get when I’m here. There are a lot of older and wiser people than me, who’ve led very interesting lives that live here. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by love and by people who want to see me succeed, and only want the best for me.
This evening I went for a few cheap cocktails with Miss J. I met Miss J exactly ten years ago when we were both in High School and when we both signed up to do the Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival production of ‘Footloose’. What an experience. Forty five of the most frustrated Drama/Musical Theatre geeks from all the different High Schools in Hong Kong, thrown together into one huge all singing all dancing production.
We spent hours together at rehearsal, and hours hiding in the bowels of the Shouson Theatre in Wan Chai. We were just kids, chasing our passion and singing our hearts out. Bonds were formed that have continued to this day.
So back to the cocktails. Miss J has her head screwed on pretty straight and to me, it seems like not much fazes her. I could say “J, i’ve decided to sign up for the Mars cruiser expedition. I’m leaving in 8 years and I’m not coming back” and this girl would take a breath, think about it and then say “Ok. great.”
So tonight when we went for a few drinks and I was telling her (for the 100th time) that I don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life, and-I’m-24-and-OMG-who-am-I?-And-I-Like-Toronto-But-what-about-London?-Or-New-York?-Or…
And after listening to me rant for a little bit, sipping on her Lychee Bellini, she put her hand on my arm and said “Paris…do what you always do…just Improvise.”
I felt like this girl had just transfigured into Buddha at the Bar and an ethereal light was beaming out of the top of her head and bouncing around the room.
Life is a series of Improvisations. Things happen, you go with them, you make decisions and you get on with your life.
I never realized that was what I was doing. I kind of thought things were just happening in my life that were a random series of events. Which is kind of what happens in Improvisation, an offer is made and then you run with it. There is no saying no in Improv, you can take what is offered and transform it into something else, but you never just stop.
That isn’t how life works.
Okay maybe it was the three (very strong) cocktails, but something suddenly clicked in my brain.
I’ve decided to go with the flow and continue to accept the offers that open to me and not put too much pressure on the way the story pans out.
After all it’s all just a bit of fun.