Goodbye Hong Kong– Till we meet again

And here I am, my last night in Hong Kong again. How many times have I had last nights here? Too many to count. But like all the other times, there will be people I dearly miss.

I do have a few more posts on this trip to Asia, but I will most likely post them at a later date. But for now, I guess I’ll just blurt out a few thoughts.

For one, I know that although I’m not saying goodbye to Hong Kong forever, I did say a very permanent goodbye to my grandmother. She’s my dad’s mom, and the last grandparent I have. She has cancer, and although she’s still hanging in there, I know I won’t be able to see her in the flesh anymore. It’s weird seeing your headstrong and ever critical grandma get reduced to a hunched over little lady, relying on a cane to hold herself up. It pained me so much that the first time I saw her after coming back, I felt tears well up in my eyes. Time can be so harsh.

In happier news, I spent the last month doing an internship. My cousin also works in the company I interned for and he was the best! He was a cousin that I never saw much of as he was in Australia during the 5 years I was in Hong Kong, and then when I moved back to Canada, he came back. Anyway, it was one of the most fun months I’ve had in a very long time, as well as an enriching one. I will make a post on what I’ve learned, because I want to make sure I have it down in writing somewhere. I don’t want to forget the first time I worked in another country!

Asides from the great food, I also enjoyed seeing my family. Most of my mom and dad’s brothers and sisters live in Hong Kong, so every time I come back, I get to see all my aunts and uncles, as well as my cousins. This time, I came back taking the title of Auntie to one of my cousin’s daughter! Yup, I’m definitely growing up. It really sucks that I still cannot say goodbye to everyone without tearing up, but I guess that’s just something that’ll follow me for the rest of my life.

I really wonder when I’ll be back again. But one thing’s for sure: it will feel like a million years no matter how soon I return. And once again, I must say goodbye to my second home.

Soles don’t just happen

I am currently still on “vacation” in Hong Kong.  Vacation being in quotation marks because I’m actually interning at a company—which requires me to jump around between our Hong Kong office and our office in China.

The place where I work is a manufacturer of gloves for many companies. Some brands include Wal-mart, Nike, Volcom, Lululemon, Target, J. Crew, The North Face—just to name a few. I was very surprised because I didn’t know that they had such a huge portfolio, but I’ve been told that many other glove manufacturers have folded, causing more and more business to be brought to the place where I work.

Anyway, the other day, I got to visit a place in Dongguan that makes molds for shoe companies. I can’t say it was life changing, but it did put things in perspective.

Sure, I knew someone had to have made the soles for the sneakers we wear, but I never went as far as to think about the people who make the molds for the rubber to be poured in. It seemed silly that all this time, I thought soles just magically happened.

Inside the factory, they had designers who were all in an office space, designing 3D molds for shoes. Then in the production area, we observed molds being made in simple ways (by hand or closely watched by a technician as a machine did its work), as well as really high tech ways (where a metal plate was set in a huge sealed machine, and the design was carved into the plate automatically).  A lot of water was used to cool down the metal, as well as clean the area of the metal that they were working on. There were also people in an area of the factory that inspected the molds, and people making small changes to molds by hand.

When we walked outside to get back on our car to leave, we caught a glimpse of the river that ran through that part of the city. It was jet black. We suspect that it probably had to do with the mold making company—but curiously, there was still a lot of plant growth everywhere. I’m still not sure what that black stuff in the water was.

So no, soles don’t just magically happen.