This week has been quite a game-changer — the week that changed everything? Not really. But it’s been a week of changes.
Preternaturally busy. And as usual I woke up late for it! First, the welcoming service at church, followed by Sunday school. Then the last day of the Chinese (!) Alpha course — I’m going to miss my small group; it’s been wonderful getting to know yet another circle of local HKers, with their hopes, dreams, fears and faith. (Ooh, I went to Sai Kung with them for the Alpha weekend away; it was … interesting, and included the sound of lapping waves sending me to sleep, as our dorm room was perched above a shore.) Finally, I had to rush upwards and west to Yuen Long as a dinner guest on a cooking show called Cooking Ma Ma — a friend’s mum, who’s quite the chef with a heart of gold, was the focus of an episode, and I was very sweetly invited by the family to join in the fun and glory.
It turned out to be more stressful than I expected — it’s quite hard to be eloquent or even articulate in front of strangers who have to show they’re in control, I found! My first time witnessing a HK TV crew at work — I guess everyone has their ‘pressures’, and it was painful to feel I had to ‘match up’ to the bantering from the new host, a replacement for the rapper Jin. Anyway, much to my relief, when I got there, they wisely decided I wouldn’t do for the one-on-one interview, so I only had to speak up during the start of the dinner. I think I was a bit mean and rude to the host (there was another one, who did her best, but was a typical dolly doll, so was limited in the range of expressions expected from her, I think) — I could have been much nicer. Maybe I was too used to ribbing from EC’s bro, who bears a Terribly Striking Resemblance in Many Ways to the host, and felt too free with my words. Ah, words. I must learn not to wield them like swords, but beat them into ploughshares for good fruit and gain.
The last day my small group at church met for Bible study. It’s been quite a journey, ever since I took over the reins from EC and TK last … August, was it? Everything I hoped for and feared … nothing like an utter and complete falling on the grace of God to build up one’s faith; and nothing like clear and keen-eyed observation of how brothers and sisters rise and fall away to witness how direly grace is needed. I’m thankful, and humbled, by the experience. And am left with the knowledge that there is much more to be done, that can be done, and will be done.
My appraisal went well — that’s actually quite easy to achieve if you’re honest about giving your best, both professionally and personally, every day you spend at the office — and I still do enjoy being at work, getting things done, and being a woman of somewhat independent means. However, I felt obliged to let it be known that I thought I would head back home the following year. I don’t think it benefits me to have done this so early — I’m probably going to lose some opportunities, and that would sadden me, but I really have to do something about moving on. I sort of know in my head and heart that I can really build a career here, but I don’t feel that it’s right of me to do this far away from my parents. I guess it’d be different if I were bound by the ol’ ball and chain, as I’d be beholden to another set of responsibilities, but as it is, I feel so selfish sometimes. Whatever may be, I am deeply grateful for the time I’ve had in HK, the friends I’ve made, the self-knowledge I’ve gained, and most of all, the drawing closer to my awesome God.
Here I am in Thursday — currently in Penang and tapping away on my brother’s weathered black MacBook. It feels good to rest my eyes on the lush tropical vegetation, the low shophouses, and of course my family. I’m in Malaysia for a younger cousin’s wedding — have been cracking jokes back at the office about how I’d have to face the question of ‘When’s it your turn?’, but I’m not really concerned. A future filled with love is what I expect, but I don’t demand it to be one of mushy romance — 30 years of books, films and imaginings can make one sick of the whole deal, actually! It’s not all about me, me, me, as defined by him, him, him. I’ve figured out at least that I’d rather put my sights on Him first and foremost, and let all things flow from there. Now just to get over the hurdle of my inane need to indulge in silly timewasters like Tower Defense (my personal favourite is Warzone). Stop focusing on feeling ‘good’, and start working on being good!
‘Tirra lirra, by the river,’ sang Sir Lancelot.