Sophie M. Ward
At night the characters become threatening like obnoxious bullies of the night. Their yellow and red lights pierce the darkness making even the natives question where they are. It is not hard to imagine yourself becoming lost within the narrow city streets.
You feel out-of-place even when the sun shines.
It could be 8am or 8pm but whatever the time the heavens roar with fireworks. Each explosion bursts a collage of colour into the sky. Reds, blues, greens. Bangs, booms, blasts. It reminds you of a New Year’s Eve spent alone in the backstreets of China Town and you remember that the familiar landmarks of home aren’t just a block away.
You are the only one of your kind here.
You are a fish with a set of legs and are walking on land for the first time. Growing suspicious of where the others hide their gills. Why don’t they miss the water? What are they doing that’s different to you?
They know. They know you’re not one of them. They stare. Their eyes penetrate your porcelain skin.
You must fit in. This has never been easy for you. You try your best.
You quickly grasp how to cross the road without the assembly of men on J-bikes knocking you over. You learn how to stop the dusted breeze from newly built roads from choking you. You begin to crave the smells of the spice and sugar that soars into the streets. You can even force yourself into the overly-crammed buses and the babble that is foreign to your ears becomes your favoured soundtrack.
The people still stare. Their eyes still penetrate. Yet you have become aware their intention is to not make you feel uncomfortable. You learn to laugh it off. Become part of the joke and not the actual joke itself.
Every day you walk and look around in awe. Often it is hard not to compare it all to what you were highly accustomed to. It is even harder for it not to make you miss home but you know that this is a once in a life time opportunity. A chance to experience something unique solely for you.
You become friends with the characters you once thought were bullies. They become the best type of friends ones that will accompany you on a great adventure.