Today, a year ago, I moved from Taiwan to Hong Kong to begin a new academic adventure with Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology. Looking back on this year, it’s hard to believe how quickly it all passed. All together, with 2 years accumulated in Taiwan, this also marks about 3 years of living in Asia, which is remarkable given the fact that if you asked me a few years ago where Taiwan is or what Hong Kong is all about I probably wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.
It has been a humbling experience. For some people, like myself, it does sometimes take getting out of one’s own culture to get to know one’s self. It sometimes seems like there isn’t a single day that goes by that doesn’t challenge the very core of my perceptions about life and people, what’s good or bad, right or wrong, and forces me to go head-to-head with some of my deepest cultural & personal characteristics. I’m a more open, patient, accepting and understanding person than I’ve ever been, atleast I hope I am, not only towards others but also towards my own faults and misgivings.
In the past year, it has also been so with academics, as I form stronger more coherent ideas about what I regard as high quality research and my potential contributions in the fields I relate to. In the past year I’ve written a few research proposals addressing various topics, mostly receiving feedback much more encouraging than I have hoped for. Things about my personal background and personal abilities which I’ve sometimes thought of as being disadvantages, I’ve also come to see as potential positives, sometimes even proving as my strong points.
As I struggle for self re-definition, seeking my own place and peace of mind in a far away land, I have also come to acknowledge the importance of things I have always took for granted. It is mostly in the absence of even the simplest things that we realize how much we miss and need them.
Happy Spring Semester!