It’s currently almost 9:00am here in Hong Kong. I arrived yesterday around 3:00pm local time and spent the evening with relatives. Internet access is limited.
Nothing too exciting thus far.
And of course, I’m already covered in mosquito bites. But I’m trying to save the repellants for later on in the places where I’ll really need it.
Hong Kong is just an intermediary destination for me: somewhere that is removed from my home in New York City but somewhere in which I am not fully immersed in the unfamiliar.
I spent the plane ride sitting next to a woman in her late 30′s who was returning home to the Philippines for the first time in 18 years. When she told me her final destination was Cebu, I told her that I would be visiting there in a few weeks as well. She assumed I was visiting family as well and was oddly surprised when I said that I was not Filipina nor had I ever been to the Philippines. She then told me about her kids, her husband in New Jersey, her manicure, her love for shopping, the beach resort she was visiting in Cebu…and she watched every chick flick offered on the plane and reported back to me her personal reviews of them. Nice lady.
When she asked me what I had gotten my Masters for, I mentioned International Social Welfare and Social Policy. Not really understanding what that means (Who does? It’s so vague), she asked me what I did and was planning to do work-wise. I started telling her about working in anti-trafficking and counseling foreign-born women in those situations, and that I was actually going to Cebu to meet with people doing similar work but focused on local trafficking. She nodded along, mentioned that it seemed interesting, and said NYC was a big spot to do that kind of work.
It wasn’t until later on when I mentioned something about women and children in oppressive situations that it occurred to me that this woman didn’t know what trafficking was. She actually thought I worked in traffic control or something (as in…transportation).
I shouldn’t be surprised, but the fact that I was made me analyze my biases. Perhaps I had assumed that this woman knew about trafficking because she had grown up in the Philippines, which is completely ignorant on my part. I can’t and shouldn’t assume anything like that ever.
First mini reminder lesson of the trip.
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