“Don’t go,” Little Brother warned me. “She wants to eat you. Or they’ll find your body floating in the bay.”
The Grandmonster had invited me to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year this year, and while I’m sure she’d very much enjoy watching the Police finding my body in the bay on the evening news, there was something else afoot. My little brother was immediately concerned, but mostly because I haven’t updated my Trust yet to include giving him all my airline miles in case of my untimely demise. He’s practical that way.
Honestly, I thought I hadn’t been overseas to HK in 2 or 3 years. It was 5. It’s funny, because I don’t think I notice changes around me so much when I’m constantly in the same place. Hong Kong is notorious for change, though. New quickly becomes old, buildings get torn down, new buildings go up, stores change locations…or freaking close without a peep. I’ve kept some of those stores in business over the years. Granted, they’re Blu-Ray stores, but I still contributed to their health.
And they’re gone now.
Even the little grocery store down the street added a fresh fish counter, a sushi counter, dinner counter, and installed new freezers that don’t have enough room to house the Sara Lee Honeydew or Mango Pound Cakes I’d come to enjoy during a visit. The HMV in Central moved down the street, Hong Kong Records moved to a much tinier location in Ocean Centre, and the Pizza Hut in Mong Kok moved, and no longer offers individual slices for sale.
The biggest change, though, has been watching my husband’s Grandmonster. My first visit was in 1998, and that woman walked our butts off. And you know what? She can still walk our butts off. I give her credit for being so active. But she tires a little easier, sleeps in a little later—this woman used to get us up at 5:30 every morning—and recognizes the efforts of others a little more. Well, my efforts anyway.
It was a short visit, and I was only gone a week. His Majesty’s mother joined us during the trip, and the four of us got out for a lovely Dim Sum, bit of shopping at IKEA, shopping at more malls than I count, buying some snacks and nibbles, and, honestly, just kind of enjoying ourselves.
There are a few things the Grandmonster isn’t able to do herself anymore, and I don’t mind helping out. It’s a load off her mind that I can get up on ladders, clean the ceiling fans, wipe the lights off—she has very high ceilings—and generally be available to assist in ways my own grandmother needs me these days. My mother-in-law cooked non-stop, His Majesty took care of Grandma, and I picked up the slack wherever I was needed.
The place changed, though. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it to. The world continues on, right? It’s not going to stop for one person, even through the use of alternative facts. I suspect the trick will be to return to HK again, and in less than 5 years next time.
Oddly enough, I didn’t have much in the way of jet lag after arriving. It was a fairly smooth transition. It was coming home that got me. I am NOT someone who wakes up at 3a.m. feeling refreshed. Ever. And when I do, it’s time to go back to bed. In fact, now that I’m finished writing this, bed is exactly where I’m heading.