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Meet the guys

From Chicago to Atlanta at 37,000 feet up, my journey is quickly coming to an end.  Getting off the plane in Chicago, I was instantly bombarded by sensory overload.  The smells, the fashion, the stores, the menus I was glancing at walking through the terminals.  It was all different.  There were no more Chinese characters accompanied by smaller English translation underneath, or old ladies practically yelling in Cantonese on cellphones.  Everyone was moving in s l o w  m o t i o n compared to the crowds I’m usually surrounded by.

So, that’s that.

I really wanted to remember my last night in HK… I wanted to remember their smiles, their laughs… all of it. I wish all my friends could have come, but many of them were tied up with school or out of town.  We decided to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Crystal Jade, then hit up a Chinese dessert place.  Our night came to a close on top of the New Town Plaza mall terrace looking over Hong Kong and talking about the year… perfect.

How’d we meet?


From L to R – Joe, Javen, Peter, Dennis, and Justin.

The guys pictured above are all from various provinces scattered about Mainland China.  They all decided to come to Hong Kong Polytechnic University to pursue and complete their prospective graduate degrees. They also all decided, because they would be in HK for a year or two, that they would check out a Sunday afternoon conversational English class/program offered by a local church.  It just so happened that our team was volunteering for this Sunday afternoon program.  Over the course of the fall semester, I went from relying on name tags and seeing them maybe once a week, to hanging out with them 2 – 3 times a week and loving the fact that my iPhone finally had Chinese contacts in its address book.  It’s crazy to think how quickly we moved from surface questions like school majors, favorite eats, hobbies, etc. to authentically embracing our culture collision, and allowing the roots of friendship to grow deep.  I feel like you can gauge a lot from a friendship by the sheer number of shared inside jokes.  OK maybe not completely, but think about it.  Boy, we had tons, and for that I’m eternally thankful. I’m thankful that these guys broke that silly Auburn/US bubble I so easily operated in.  I’m thankful our path’s collided in Hong Kong even if it was just for a year… although looking forward, I hope I’ll see them sooner than later.  They stretched my theology and challenged me to really learn to articulate why I live the way I do and value the things that I value. Did I mention we laughed a TON?  To say I’ll miss these faces is an understatement.

What else am I thankful for?  Skype.

I’ll share 5 describers for each guy in hopes that you can at least feel like you kinda of know them:

Joe //  crazy, random, quick-witted, he referred to me as “baby face benson,” athletic

Javen //  thinker, genuine, caring, button downs, intentional

Peter //  ladies man, incredible language skills, consistent, athletic, questioner

Dennis  //  joyful, badminton, leadership, wisdom, consistent

Justin //  silly, sometimes quiet, ping pong player, fashion, he gets a new pair of glasses every week



I can’t wait to see how our paths cross in the near future, guys…

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