The tale of the fishballs

Part 1

A 20-something girl from Vancouver finally stepped onto Hong Kong soil. She found an apartment that fit herself and her suitcase down Nathan Road and worked as an HR assistant at a reputed organisation. Every other day, she found herself walking down to 48 Pitt Street, Yau Ma Tei. She stood by the pavement and watched passers-by as she chomped on some delicious fish balls. This was her heritage. This is where her ancestors came from. The sauces from the chunks of steaming hot fish balls oozed onto her fingers as she thought about her life. Was this something she really wanted? All she wanted was some spice in her life. Right now, she had a bowl full of it. If only, she knew what to do with it. One thought lead to another and she found herself transported back in time to her life in Canada.

“There’s a battle between what we know and what we feel,” Said Carrie Bradshaw for the seventh time that evening. Virginia had ensconced herself in the cosy comforts of her couch as she watched this scene on repeat. Suddenly, she sat up. An idea was brewing in her mind. She was tired of Vancouver. It was a life given to her, but not chosen by her. She sat listlessly on the same couch, rewatching that scene. It was as if Carrie Bradshaw was speaking to her. This was definitely a sign. She. Was. Going. To. NEW YORK!

The door clicked and she heard her mum entering the house, stacked to the head with brown paper bags holding groceries. Without helping her settle at home, she muttered in a single breath “MUM!! I have a brilliant idea. I want to go to New York and settle there, get a bunch of friends, become famous and live it up.” She paused to take a breath. “What do you think?”

Pat came the reply, “Are you okay? Settling in a different country is no child’s play. We will talk about it when your father is back home.”

She sat back on her favourite couch and looked up at the ceiling, looking for answers and hoping she would find the “writing on the wall” that so many people around the world refer to.

She found nothing. She felt her insides squirm as she heard the door click open once again. It was time for a mental combat. She knew it would be difficult to explain her point of view—but she tried to think of what Carrie Bradshaw would say. And then… she got it.

That night, everyone at the dining table ate in silence. Virginia’s mother looked lost in thought while her dad just looked tired. So she decided to open the discussion herself. “Papa, I want to leave Vancouver and find my feet… in New York.”

Her father gazed into her eyes intently. “Why, I was waiting for you to tell me that one day. But I wasn’t sure that day would come so soon. Why New York?”

“I want to be Carrie Bradshaw.”

“That’s not a good enough reason. Think about where you can go realistically. ” He guffawed as he spoke.

“How about Hong Kong?” She said. 

“Hmm. That’s interesting. But before you say anything, I have to warn you. You are not used to crowds. It is going to be a difficult place to live in, as compared to Vancouver. Besides, living by yourself for a couple of years is a good idea, if you would like that. As for us, we would be more than happy if you stayed here with us. But you’re an adult. I leave the decision onto you,” he said wiping his mouth with the tissue.

The seed had been planted in Virginia’s mind. That night, she tossed and turned at the idea of Hong Kong. She had grown up hearing stories about the land of dreams from her parents. About the fish balls. The dumplings. The amazing hustle and bustle of the city. And somewhere, she had forgotten her dream of exploring her roots. This was it.

Her thoughts marinated as she had multiple discussions with her parents for the next few months before she made her decision. It was the only logical place she could dream of shifting to. She didn’t need a visa, her parents were originally from Hong Kong and she would get the chance to explore her Cantonese heritage. It was a win-win.

A 20-something girl from Vancouver finally stepped onto Hong Kong soil. She found an apartment that fit herself and her suitcase down Nathan Road and worked as an HR assistant at a reputed organisation. Every other day, she found herself walking down to 48 Pitt Street, Yau Ma Tei. She stood by the pavement and watched passers-by as she chomped on some delicious fish balls. This was her heritage. This is where her ancestors came from. The sauces from the chunks of steaming hot fish balls oozed onto her fingers as she thought about her life. Was this something she really wanted? All she wanted was some spice in her life. Right now, she had a bowl full of it. If only, she knew what to do with it.

Photo Credits: Suraj Hemnani | Instagram: @cloud96drone

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