Asian Winter Sunset

Thanks for following all my adventures over the past month. I’m arriving home soon and wanted to give everyone an update and summary.

It all began in the middle of December when my dear friend Joseph casually mentioned that he was getting married in Singapore in the middle of January. Of course, we were already planning on being in the States over Christmas, so I was definitely conflicted in scheduling more travel, but I knew I couldn’t miss his wedding.

Dennis shares in the joy of Joseph and Serena's wedding.
Dennis shares in the joy of Joseph and Serena’s wedding.

With Mandi’s support and encouragement, I made the choice to have an Asian expedition. My ルームメイト Drew lives in Tokyo and we both needed the chance to spend some time together. Therefore, with my mobile office packed and having spent too many hours planning my travels, I set out for Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and finally back home (though due to a cancelled flight I ended up cutting out the stopover in Abu Dhabi).

Just look at that wing - so graceful and so powerful!
Just look at that wing – so graceful and so powerful!

Joseph’s wedding was special and he and his wife have an exciting year ahead of them. Singapore was an awesome country to visit with a strange mix of traditional Chinese sights and modern English sounds. Coming from a law-loving country like Germany, the hyper-strict rules of that small island nation seemed rather status-quo if not a bit light-hearted (Singaporeans have some great cartoon art urging you to be nice). In the week we shared together, Joseph and I finally had the opportunity to catch up on a few years’ worth of life that has passed.

My home in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong (yeah, all three belong - city, island, special district of China)
My home in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong (yeah, all three belong – city, island, special district of China)

The stop in Hong Kong was somewhat a disaster, but the kind of disaster you learn from. Catalogued in my earlier post, I ran out of money while I was there and spent way too long on the phone trying to make a withdrawal. Contrary to Singapore, Japan, and Germany, Hong Kong was a city of chaos and the people seemed darn proud of it. I stayed in a tent on the roof of a falling-apart highrise after a night-walk through the lights on the streets below.

The Bank of China building stands proud in the middle of the financial district, making its stripes to reflect their blinking and colorful patterns off the neighboring buildings.
The Bank of China building stands proud in the middle of the financial district, making its stripes to reflect their blinking and colorful patterns off the neighboring buildings.

Getting to Japan was kind of like coming home in a way. After moving around constantly, I would finally stay put for two whole weeks with my dear friend. When I was there in June I was still pretty new to my job and didn’t have the whole mobile-workforce thing figured out either. This time, a veteran at finding great places in the city to sit at for the day, I explored parts of Tokyo I hadn’t seen before: Harajuku, Shibuya, Takaosanguchi, Asakusa. Drew and I maximized our time together (there’s not much free time in Japanese daily life) and explored Yokohama and Kawaguchiko, a small town on the edge of Mt. Fuji. We had a blast and bonded like two close brothers should. His wife Seiko was incredibly kind and hospitable and it was great to get to know her since I was unable to really do so when they started dating in Chicago.

Dennis and Drew in Kawaguchiko in front of Mt. Fuji, the iconic volcano on the outskirts of Tokyo.
Dennis and Drew in Kawaguchiko in front of Mt. Fuji, the iconic volcano on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Now I am back at home with Mandi and it’s good to be home. Home is a fluid term, but I reflected on this particular truth about it: It doesn’t matter where home is: you know when you aren’t there; and the closer you are to returning, the greater you long to be there.

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