Unbelievably, there is only one week left until Christmas Break. One week, until most of us go back home. The last days of school feel very different, the atmosphere is somewhat more relaxed and it seems as if our daily pace has slowed down a little bit. A few days ago we celebrated the last day of Hanukkah together in Block 3 dayroom. It was a wonderful experience, with cozy candle lights and stories told by our Jewish co-years. It was my first time actually celebrating Hanukkah and once again I realized that this is one of the great sides of living at a UWC: experiencing different cultural and religious festivals.
Now Hanukkah has passed and everyone is slowly getting into the Christmas spirit and even the canteen has been decorated with a lovely Christmas tree and “Merry Christmas” signs. Even though the temperature rarely drops down to 0°C it still feels “cold” nowadays. Since most of us got used to the warm and humid weather, 16°C makes us shiver quite a lot and hence the campus is full of students wearing their LPC hoodies, boots and scarfs. It feels like winter has come.
Yesterday we had our last Dragon Boat session of this term and while we all expected to be freezing by the time we got back to college, the water was not as cold as I thought it would be. This session we trained getting in the competition mode, with Hong, our coach, making race announcements in Chinese, followed by us raising paddles, yelling “Skal!” and getting into the “ready position”. As soon as Hong blew the whistle, we all started paddling with full power and almost perfect synchronity. In the front, one of us was drumming the beat in which we had to paddle, and in the back, someone was steering the by moving the sweep oar, rigged at the side of it. It was a good session and the sun was warming us.
The view was beautiful as always, with the desolate islands andLady Buddha peeking though them on our right and the peak of Ma On Shan overlooking the skyscrapers to our left. I still can’t believe that we climbed and hiked all the way up there! The water was calm and reflecting the light like a mirror.
By the time we came back to the shore, the sun had already started setting, bathing everything around us in golden rays. We took a quick group photo, thanked Hong for this term and then started heading back to school.
After dinner I went to Central with Yousra (from the Netherlands) and Siren (from Norway). We hopped on the MTR and after a little more than an hour we arrived in Sheung Wan, one station away from Central. Siren wanted to show us the artsy neighborhood she had visited on one of her trips to the art galleries and so we started walking across different streets. Unfortunately, almost all shops and galleries were closed and only the expensive restaurants were crowded with rich customers, dressed in beautiful dresses and suits. We found a very cozy looking Italian restaurant with beautiful Italian flair, but right when we wanted to go in, we realized the cars in the parking lot in front of it: Mercedes, Ferrari, Bentley.
We decided to just continue our night walk and discovered beautiful but empty streets with lights and artists painting the walls. After a while we started walking back to the MTR station when Yousra asked whether we wanted to take the night ferry instead. We decided to take the ferry to TST and then sit by the waterfront to enjoy a coffee. After a little walk across busy streets with Ting Ting’s passing by, we arrived at the ferry terminal. One ferry token costs only 2 Hong Kong Dollars (equivalent to about 20 Eurocents!) The ferryride was wonderful and we admired the breathtaking skyline with buildings decorated with colorful Christmas lights that were reflected by the water. After about 10 minutes we arrived at the ferry terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, where we hopped off. The Cultural Center and Clocktower were illuminated with warm orange light and even though both were surrounded by palm trees, Christmas spirit had filled the air.
We strolled around the Avenue of Stars, still not taking our eyes off the amazing skyline that reminded us every second about the fact that we were truly living in Hong Kong.
Having a coffee by the water with that view was absolutely wonderful. Yousra ordered a Caramel Latte, Siren a Vanilla Frappucino, and I (of course) a Chai Latte.We quickly grabbed an empty table right by the water and then enjoyed our drinks while talking about life, school and interesting experiences of our past. It was a great and cozy evening and heading back to school, we all felt tired but happy.