Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011: Highlights, Milestones, Reflections

2011 has been another eventful year. I think the highlights are graduating from Stanford with a Masters (being done with school for an unknown amount of time) and moving to Hong Kong to start my first real job. This time last year, I was still trying to decide which job to take. I remembered starting 2011 with some serious discussions with friends, family, and mentors. I believe it was MLK weekend that I flew to Hong Kong to check out the city and see the people at my potential job.

After deciding where to go for my first job, I finished my final quarter at Stanford. I was a TA for the first time. It was interesting to be on the other side. I made friends with the construction management students through taking one of their group project classes. I was skeptical and didn't really want to do any group projects but my classmates and the professor turned out to be interesting people.

My last week at Stanford was filled with trying to meet up with various people. Packing took forever as usual and it rained on the day I moved out. I had a lot of help though, both during packing and moving. I then spent a few weeks at home organizing, scanning stuff, and repacking. I flew to Boston and stayed with Yalu and Mike for a few days. I met up with some friends in the area (or just happened to be in the area) and did a lot of clothes shopping (no taxes on clothes!).

I arrived in Hong Kong on Easter weekend after not sleeping very much on the long flight over. I was lucky that Joanna was also visiting Hong Kong/China at the moment and we met up on my first day there. We got a chance to do some touristy stuff and explored HK together. She stayed with me until my first day at work.

I remembered my first month of work as being hot, humid, exhausting, confusing, bewildering... What a learning experience! I'm so glad that my coworkers managed to put up with me, helped me along, and brought me into their circle. I felt really lost at first, didn't know the customs and norms, and felt like I couldn't express myself at all. But I really felt like my team created a safe harbor for me and put up with all my mistakes. I'm just starting to branch out and have gotten to know more people in the office.

I managed to find my first apartment ever with the help of a family friend. Managed to buy furniture, a lot of which are way too big for the small apartment. You would think that furnishing a completely unfurnished place would give you a chance to make things match and such. But I suppose I'm not that skilled. I think I went to home furnishing stores every weekend for the first 2 or 3 months. Now that I'm settled in, I have a better sense of what I actually need and what is just consuming space. So now I'm going to start to get rid of stuff that I don't actually use to have more space in the apartment. Space is such a premium in HK.

I think I've mostly settled in on a routine that basically consists of working on the weekdays and then catching up with people on the weekends (local and internationally). Work is intense and takes up all my time on weekdays. But even though work has basically taken over my life, I've managed to do a few things outside of work. These include:
  • joining a gym
  • going to MIT and Stanford club events
  • running a 10K in Disneyland
  • surviving a Signal No. 8 typhoon (it wasn't bad at all)
  • 30km hike in the Ma On Shan area
  • meeting up with various friends who are in the area

This last one has been interesting. A lot of people have come through Asia since I got here. Let's see, there was
  • Joanna, visitng family in China
  • Andre, doing research at CityU
  • Parents, visiting me and family in China
  • Xiaoyu, visiting friends and family in China and HK
  • Deborah, visiting family in HK
  • Andrew, interned in Taiwan and needed to leave to extend visa
  • Megan, interned in China and was on her way to Germany
  • Alex, traveling Asia with Megan
  • Wenqi, starting a job in HK
  • Anne, visiting family in China and HK
  • Mahalia and Oat, I met up with them in Thailand

All in all, 2011 has been a year of massive changes and life lessons. Time goes by unimaginably fast that it's important to grab onto every little moment. In the end, it's the little things that we will remember.

1 comment:

yalu said...

can't believe earlier this year you were still at Stanford! Feels like so long ago.