Stress, Fun and Lasting Memories
Sunday brought the first day of rest that I had in over two weeks so I decided to sit in the dorm and stay dry. Monday brought the first week of real preparation for the project, as we worked tirelessly to ensure that our project would be done on time. Travels this week included trips to a landfill (where we were unfortunately unable to physically drive on) and a great experience at a dry market.
While the trips were certainly exciting, the real fun was the crunch time experience that occurred when we were able to work as a group to finish the project. In a group where there are four people, this meant that we were able to efficiently work on the project, without the need for people to be sitting idle during time that could be better spent. This also meant that we were able to work more cohesively and have greater say in the project.
At the same time, there was also group dynamic issues, which happens when you stick people who have never worked together in a high intensity environment. Fortunately, I had the benefit of working with group members who are great communicators, so we were able to work out issues as they came up, which was a great help when we saw other teams struggling with similar issues.
As the rest of the week whizzed by, we focused more on ensuring that we would be able to finish our projects on time. This meant that by the time Friday came, we were in states of euphoria, because a great weight had been lifted off of our shoulders. Being able to see everyone presenting to random passerby at the university allowed for us to fully appreciate what had gone into the project and ensure that we could possibly encourage others to join in the future.
After finishing the project and heading back to the dorms, we headed out for one final adventure in the city by day. Having held back due to not wanting to push myself to the limits, I decided to join my friends at the Jade Market, and try my hand at haggling. Needless to say, it was interesting watching friends haggle, because I had never really observed this before. A trip through the Lady’s Market was also quite interesting, because it provided an opportunity to see the scale of a night market during the day.
After this, I decided to break off from the group and travel to Mon Kok and see the childhood flat of my girlfriend’s mother. When I found out about the trip last fall, I instantly wanted to go abroad, not only because I had never done so in undergrad, but I wanted an opportunity to understand more about where my girlfriend’s family came from. After navigating the streets using Google Maps, I came upon the flat where her grandparents had raised seven children. Below the flat was a bustling street market filled with many kinds of goods of all varieties. Storefronts occupied the bottom floors of these buildings, and I was the only westerner in sight. Walking back to the MTR, I was suddenly in an upscale neighborhood, with a mall and many western amenities, showing how close-knit the city is, diversity-wise.
That night, we were treated to an incredible feast at a nearby restaurant, and presented our professors with thank you gifts, for all of the time that they spent helping us out on our assignments. Following this, most of the class embarked to the Central district, where we were able to enjoy an extremely diverse nightlife, with people from all around the world. The next day involved the next part of my journey to Southeast Asia.