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Published: March 6th 2014
I had an interesting experience recently...
Hong Kong without words. This may seem an odd title for a blog and well, it is. But it's entirely true. I recently lost my voice and after treatment to fix it, I was forced to stay silent for a whole week. Not a word was spoken.
So I was experiencing Hong Kong without words. I will be honest, it was a challenge but it was also thought provoking. I realised how I could communicate with my best friends and family, without needing words. I think you know that you are comfortable with someone when words are not necessary and there are no "awkward silences" because anyone who saw me during that week - all they got was silence!
I had different methods of getting my needs/questions across - I never thought a Fisher-price toy would be so valuable, but the doodle pad was incredible. I would select the most useful word to write on the doodle pad, and my friends would gather what I was trying to ask! A couple of people forgot that they still had the power of speech and that my ears worked, when they began to sign
Look up, Look Down
Love this shot - it's a great spot where the mirror is on the ceiling on the pavement
or write the answer back to me!
If I did go out of the house accompanied, I was armed with a doodle pad, notepad and pen, phone and phone charger (texting only!). I was terrified of bumping into anyone I knew, so would not venture out alone.
What I found interesting though, and the reason I wanted to write this blog is that I noticed more whilst being without a voice.
I was happy listening to whoever was with me, but unable to respond, I was also looking around more, becoming more aware of my surroundings. Usually when I am out with someone, we are engrossed in conversation naturally.
I found myself taking the time to observe, to watch and to think. Sometimes the thinking part was too much because I would create questions but couldn't ask them, or I would want to share a thought and couldn't. Just observing all that was around me made me appreciate everything all the more.
Normally I am part of the mayhem and busyness that is Hong Kong, but somehow I felt outside of that a little bit - and more like an observer. I watched the crowds
of people coming and going, running errands, taking children to art class, or grabbing a coffee on the way back to the office. The amount of people looking at their phone whilst walking along the street was incredible, and of course I have been guilty of this too, but I am making an effort to do this less now! Having been in the house for a long time recovering and getting a slight case of cabin-fever, it was quite overwhelming to re-enter the city centre of this organised chaos; Hong Kong. It reminded me of when I first arrived, and made me think of those newbies that must land here every day and what they make of this place.
In the end, I am grateful that I was lucky enough to gain my voice back and slowly it is getting stronger. (Waiting to belt out a tune, but that will come with time!). I must also say how much more respect I now have for those that are not as fortunate as me, and who do not have speech. I managed a week, and I can call it an experience. Others live without speech every day and to those
people I have only admiration and respect.
Sometimes we don't appreciate something until it's gone.
Signing off with "goodbye for now" - the next blog I'm very excited to say, will be from New York. In the meantime I shall leave you with my recent Hong Kong "observations".
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