London Host Hiromi
墨西哥之行最開心是食物好好食，WVU的dorm food真的超難食，房間有廚房但大雪封路，根本不能外出採購食材，日日食dorm food真係人都顛，墨西哥有捲餅、燉豆、米飯等各式美食，便宜又好吃，真係好感動！
This is Hiromi in the picture. We are university schoolmates. She lives in London and I stay 2 nights at her home in London.
Hiromi pay a great attention on little details in life. She loves her tea set and western style old chair in the picture. She dressed in a dignified style but no smile on her face. I draw her as a ‘Lady who is wealthy with taste but a little bit sad’ in the picture.
Hiromi is a Japanese. She was born and grown up in Japan. We met in WVU, a university in USA as an exchange student. Hiromi loves drinking tea and we always have a cup of tea together. Hiromi is a big emotion person. She once climbs the wall with both her hands and legs suddenly and scream happily when we are drinking tea together. I try to climb the wall because she looks so happy and it seems so fun but I fail the challenge. I fell down at once on the first step. Well, young is the best alcohol, we just drunk WITHOUT drinking anything…
Hiromi and I live in the same student dorm but on different floors in WVU, USA. She once said to me, ‘Hey, I think that white floor captain guy is SO handsome! It would be great if he could be my boyfriend～’
I encourage her, ‘ You can write him a love letter, or claiming that you don’t know how to use the drying machine and ask him to help you～'
Hiromi shakes her head, saying she is too shy to speak to him. We would repeat the above conversation EVERYTIME when we meet. I think her ‘spring-love’ look is so funny and I admire her honesty on her own feeling. There isn’t much progress between Hiromi and the white floor captain guy in the end of our semester. Hiromi still stops at ‘look at him and feel good is enough’ stage. This love story gone with the wind when Hiromi leave America.
Hiromi and I travel together in Mexico during the Easter break in WVU. My film studies teacher approve my vocation apply with encouragement when she knows the vocation is for travelling in Mexico. She believes travelling is the best way to learn. The schooling style is so different between the free and open in USA and the high pressure and heavy control in Hong Kong!
I was studying Art History in WVU and there are Mexico Pyramids printed in the textbook. I was so surprised to know there ARE pyramids in MEXICO!? I only know there are pyramids in EGYPT!
It is much closer for me to travel from USA than from Hong Kong to Mexico. There are holidays, money and companies, let’s GO～! It was such an invincible youth time when I think back now.
Hiromi has already stayed in WVU for 6 months when I arrive in WVU. She met Yazmin who came from Mexico in the last semester. So we are going to visit Yazmin in Mexico. It is so different to travel with a local friend. No getting lost nor being cheated nor be hit by cars (laugh). Yazmin has her local friend to accompany us and that local friend has her young brothers and sisters coming with us too. We are like stars patrolling the streets and there are people asking for photo-taking with us everywhere we go due to our rarely-seen Asian faces in Mexico.
The best part of the Mexico trip is the FOOD. The dorm food in WVU is super unpalatable. There is a small kitchen in my room but the heavy snow blocks the road and it’s impossible to go out for grocery. The Mexican taco, beans, rice are super delicious and cheap. It is just great!
And we visit the pyramids in Mexico. It is nice to set foot on the top of the pyramid but it is a shame that there are NO information boards about the pyramid history on site. It’s free for the local Mexicans to visit the pyramids but admission fees was being charged on foreign visitors...
Hiromi and I have a big fight on the last day of the Mexico trip. We have many fun in the previous days and bought lots of souvenirs. I want to take a taxi to the hostel because there are lots of luggage but Hiromi hasn’t got enough cash for the taxi fees. I told Hiromi she doesn’t has to pay and just get in the taxi but she refused and even said she would take a bus back to hostel alone. I have no idea why she was so stubborn. Hiromi finally be convince and gets into the taxi but she doesn’t speak to me for the whole day and spend the day alone on the last day in a tense mood.
We are in cold war for a couple of months when we get back to WVU in USA. I finally give up and bring some tea bags to find Hiromi after months of no-tea-days. Hiromi opens the door when a big smile and we are good again and back to the tea-drinking-tea-talk good old days；）
Our semester end and we get back to Japan and Hong Kong. We are old-fashion buddy and become pen friends across the ocean with REAL pens and papers. Every time we write a couple of pages like a competition to see who write a longer letter and it was fun.
Hiromi becomes a teacher in Japan after graduation. She visits Hong Kong and stay at my home for a few days once.
I go to the airport and pick up Hiromi. Tears are running on her face and she walks lame and was holding by a kind heart lady when she steps out of the departure hall.
She said, ‘ I was so nervous for my first visit in Hong Kong and saw a sad movie on the flight and tears are
just running off…’
Hiromi gets a happy mood again soon after our Hong Kong trip begins and we try out all the good food in Hong Kong. I found out Hiromi’s favourite food is ‘To Fu Fa’. Japan has a long tradition in ToFu and maybe that’s the reason why she likes ToFu so much.
But we fight in Hong Kong again. Hiromi told me she already dated other WVU schoolmates for dinners AFTER she arrives in Hong Kong. I am a bit pissed off because I have a Hong Kong trip schedule planned for her and I have to change the schedule and shorten the time we can spend together.
I was too stubborn when I look back now. What I have planned for Hiromi may not be the best for her. It is HER Hong Kong trip and I should respect her. She is nice enough to invite me to join the dinner with other WVU schoolmates and it is always good for me to know new friends.
We keep writing letters to each other after Hiromi back to Japan. I get a Japan working holiday visa after a few years. I stay with Hiromi and her family in Nagoya for a month. It is so fun to make the traditional mochi with Hiromi and her family in the New Year day.
But one month is a time too long for staying in a friend’s home.
I was so young and asked Hiromi naively, ‘ I get the Japan working holiday visa! Can I stay with you?’
Hiromi naively replied, ‘OK, come and stay with us～’
I accept too honestly, ‘So I come and stay with you for a month～’
Hiromi honestly said, ‘OK, come and stay with us～’
So I just go to Japan and cheeky stay with Hiromi and her family. I always collides Japanese taboo without any notice and I own a great thank you to Hiromi’s mum Emiko who always looking after me.
Japanese culture has a LOT of taboo such as shoes off before get into the house, the foot can’t point to the home shrine when sleeping, shower first then bathing… Hiromi’s dad Kazuto always mad at me because I collide at least one taboo EVERYDAY. Hiromi is very helpless between a careless me and her angry dad.
Actually I should move out at once when I disturbed their daily life. But I was so naïve and stay with them for a month. I really own a big thank you to Hiromi and her family’s endure and accommodate and I would really want to say to them, ‘Sorry and thank you.’
I find out Hiromi is actually a shopaholic when I arrive at her home. Beautiful clothes, elegant ceramics, tea sets, Moomin stuffs…are all her favourite. I am so surprise Hiromi gives me all her un-wanted clothes to me and I accept them with gratitude. Hiromi teaches me how to appreciate the beauty of ceramics. Japanese has a great emphasis on beauty and I was being affected!
Hiromi shares her love story with me again in Japan. This time her target is Japanese boys. But she thinks target number 1 is too short and target number 2 is too passive. Then she has a crush with her boss and saying her boss is ‘handsome as a prince and gentle as a dove’ but she is again too shy to confess to her boss so all her love story die a natural death.
I get back to Hong Kong after the Japan working holiday visa ends. Hiromi and I still write to each other with a less frequency but our interactive increase on fb.
A few years pass, Hiromi resigns her teacher job in Japan and fly to Italy and stay there to learn Italian for a few months alone. She likes Italian fashion, food and language but of course she loves the beautiful Italian boys the most. She always shouts at me through skype, ‘Italian boys are so HANDSOME～’ I believe she is very satisfy just by appreciating all the handsome Italian boys walking by on the street with a cup of cappuccino on her hand.
Hiromi goes back to Japan after the Italy trip and apply for a UK working holiday visa and fly to London alone. She works in a Japanese-fund company in London and has a crush with her ‘handsome as a prince, gentle as a dove’ boss again. Meanwhile she enrols in lots of speed dating activities and playing an active role in her love journey.
My EU trip begin later and I ask Hiromi, ‘ Hey, I will come to London, can I stay with you?’
Hiromi is smarter this time by answering, ‘You may stay with my for 3 NIGHTS at most,’
Hiromi is more mature, more sophistic on handling things and more prudence in speaking after a few years. But she is still the straight-forward, super honest with an extreme nervous heart Hiromi the wild monkey.
Hiromi planned to pick me up in the airport but I have to get to her home by myself in the last minute because she got a fever. The reason is London rains every day and she gets a cold and my arrival makes her too happy and nervous and she is down.
I don’t have much sightseeing activities in London so there are some free time for hearing Hiromi’s love story. This time Hiromi target is a French boy. But the French boy got unemployed lately and he is busy with the job hunting so no time for Hiromi. Hiromi doesn’t like that and break up with him. I respond too-honest, ‘ You don’t love him at all. You walk away when he is in trouble and your heart is not on him,’
Hiromi is mature enough not to get mad on me with my too-honest respond. We are both very restraint in this London reunion and ‘No Fight’ is our unspoken rule. My short London trip ends in a claim mood but I am sort of miss the direct and honest fights we have had before…
I got the message that Hiromi got engaged with her Italian boyfriend when I finish my travel and get back to Hong Kong. I sincerely congratulate Hiromi has found her prince finally and wish them a happy life ever after ：））
宏美在廚房伸頭出來 Hiromi pop her head out of the kitchen.
這就是宏美的夢想牆壁(摘自她的fb) This is Hiromi’s ideal dream wall. (from her fb)
宏美帶我去看倫敦的二手店，好靚又好貴的茶具呀～ Hiromi took me to a second hand store, so pretty and so expensive tea set～
又靚又貴的裙 so pretty and so expensive dress
又靚又貴的裙 so pretty and so expensive dress
倫敦地鐵的透明垃圾袋，一目了然，唔怕有炸彈，英國設計就是強 A transparent rubbish bag in a metro station in London. No panic if bomb mix with rubbish. English design, STRONG.
公共空間的免費鋼琴！香港幾時先有！？ A free-to-play Piano in a public space! When do we have that in HK!?
來Tate Modern朝聖，可惜局部維修中，嗚～ Tate Modern! It’s a shame that it is being partly renewal…
Keep clam and乜乜乜…Keep clam and so so so …
Saw The Salvation Army (SA) building in London! My primary school (in Hong Kong) was run by the Salvation Army and my school badge is exactly the same as the SA badge in this photo. I was so happy to see a familiar school badge in a foreign country. I talk about it to the old gentleman in the front counter and he is very happy too. He then calls the responsible of the Asian branch of SA and offers me a tour in the SA building. I really want to join the tour but I have a flight to catch… I will sure be back here for the tour!
I buy a flight ticket from London to Copenhagen from easyJet on internet with my credit card. The flight staff has to explain the situation to EVERY traveller because EasyJet oversold. Traveller can depart at the original time WITHOUT any compensation OR traveller can delay a few hours voluntary and catch a flight in another airport to Copenhagen with a compensation of EU$200 (the taxi fee to another airport would be paid by EasyJet, please see the photo).
For that EU$200, I voluntary delay and arrive in Copenhagen at midnight. ( please see the photo) I am so lucky that Copenhagen has a simple public transport system and I arrive in Copenhagen CS host home in an hour. And that EU$200 was transferred into my credit card account in 1.5 months and it’s the only money income throughout my EU trip.