Well, after my epic moan nearly 5 weeks ago, I had very little to write about and very little time to write. My little brother came to visit me for a week, upon my own insistence. He’s off to do his MBA and settling in well in a European city as we speak. I am proud of him in a sense and while I am a little bit worried that this is his first real foray into the big bad world out there (he’s lived at home till now), I think he will be okay. I asked him to stay with me a week so we could talk about things, MBA-things, living alone things, long-distance relationship things. I taught him how to poach eggs (he loves them as much as I) and how to do dishes. I ordered him to do our laundry and make the bed. Important things as I don’t want him to live in squalor and disarray.
We had a lovely time together. Not to my surprise, we bond a little more every time we meet and are little bit more honest with each other. We still live in very different worlds, he and I, and I don’t think I could be completely honest with him about my life and my choices but something tells me that he wouldn’t judge me too much for them. Nor would I, him, if the roles were reversed. We also drank a lot, danced a lot and went on a junk too so there was so fun involved, not just pedantic lecturing.
I had other visitors too, old business school friends and I went on another junk with them. Summer seems to be over, Hong Kong is windy and cool; for a couple of weeks, the weather had been of the wear-anything-you-want-without-worrying-about-pit-stains variety. But now it’s turned rainy, which I hate, because both my coiff and I relished the fleeting fortnight of lower humidity.
The weekend before mom’s arrival, I achieved next to nothing. Because my maid didn’t show up, I had a dozen chores to add to my usual weekend tasks of handwashing lingerie and sorting out dry cleaning. I must have done three washing machine loads on top of this. I celebrated Diwali by pairing South Indian moru-kootan and Maharashtrian style fiery aloo-mirchi. I watched lots of comedy central shows including the new “@midnight” which I highly recommend. I read and finally finished yesterday the unputdownable “Caliph’s House” – a book about packing up shop and moving to Morocco on a whim seemed like an appropriate choice given my current state of mind. I also started reading “The Millenium Cookbook”.
I wore shorts and a tank top and no make-up and no hair product and took leisurely strolls around my lovely neighbourhood of Sheung Wan. I found a very affordable (by HK / Central standards) mani/pedi place. Only 200 HKD for a pedicure, fucking bargain! And I even dropped off my recycling!
Can you believe it’s been a year since I moved from the very suburban, expatty environs of Midlevels to the rapidly-gentrifying and stinking-of-dried-seafood-year-round Sheung Wan? It’s been a year since I lost my beautiful 3-bedroom flat, trading it for my cute, low-floor, balconied 2 bedroom. My new (not new anymore) apartment is like Thumbelina, tiny but perfect.
And now that December is not that far away, I find it hard not to reflect on the year that was and the other “things” I lost. I lost one half of a pair of gorgeous diamond hoop earrings. They were expensive and a gift from dad and I lost them in, near, or the way to Leonard’s flat one evening (yup, bad omen!). Dad was not impressed.
I lost my inhibitions around online dating and went on loads of dates this year. Some were good, most were terrible and undeserving. I am little more wary about even replying to messages, let alone actually going on a date.
Speaking of online dating, I lost 10,000 HKD thanks to my own stupid naivety – I was defrauded in an elaborate and long-drawn fashion by a man I dated briefly. Yes, this actually happened and it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that the money isn’t coming back. I want to really write about the entire episode, from beginning to end. I want to name him by his real name and shame him for taking advantage of me. Maybe I will but it won’t change the fact I feel stupid for trusting someone blindly (as is my nature). Or the fact that thanks to this and my experience with Sam, I have lost (or should I say temporarily suspended) my ability to trust men.
And that’s not the only reason I am financially worse off. I have agreed to loan my brother the entire amount of his business school fees. That’s about sixty thousand euros, in other words, no fucking joke. What I understood to be spaced out installments turned out to three installments before the end of the year. Gulp. Gold prices have dropped significantly causing a serious dent in my gold portfolio while the rest of my investments remain pretty much flat. I have to pay my first tax bill in January and it is by no means tiny. I checked my bank account this morning and it confirms that after paying my brother’s final fee installment next week, I will be pretty much left with nothing in liquid savings. (And to think I went and bought a handbag in the midst of this financial clusterfuck). I hope to God that my abhorrent new manager doesn’t kick me to the curb in the meantime.
Which brings me to losing my boss! Okay, this isn’t a really big deal. He was a horrible manager but a respectable human being. That is hard to come to terms with because I never know for sure if I loathe him or aspire to be like him. My new boss , on the other hand, seems to be a loathsome, obscenely rich, spoilt, devoutly religious, patronising condescending know-it-all. He has insulted me several times and openly admits to “testing” everyone in the office including senior staff. He has also already made his secretary cry. Quality person, basically.
Knock on wood, I think that covers it. I am bemused by all this and in some sense grateful that it wasn’t all that bad. Do I hope against hope that the fraud will return my money? Or that my diamond earrings will show up in the corner of my bedroom? Or that my new boss will love me so much that he will slap me with a vulgar raise? Hell to the yeah, of course I do! To quote (again!) another favourite poem of mine,