When I first came to visit a friend in Hong Kong this past December, I never imagined that just 6 months later I’d be back on that same 15 hour flight from the US to Asia, only this time with a one way ticket, a work visa and 2 poorly packed suitcases in hand.
The first thing you notice when you step foot in Hong Kong in June is the overwhelming, immediate, immense heat and humidity. For us women with frizzy hair, this is NOT the place to be. But here I was, sweating, frizzing, and struggling as I attempted to flag a taxi then help the driver strap my massive bags onto the back of the cab with yes – a single bungee cord.
I immediately learned what would grow to be a daily mantra as an expat living in Hong Kong: you just have to go with it. And when you do, you’ll be astounded at how capable, self-aware, open and resilient you already are and will continue to become.
When it poured almost my entire first month of living here, as I was constantly trying to digest my surroundings (mentally and physically) while having what’s known as the relentless “Hong Kong cough” (apparently triggered by poor air quality and thick waves of pollution), it was easy to question my decision to adopt this lifestyle. Simply put, it felt like Hong Kong was kicking my ass those first few weeks, much like my first Corefire class kicked my ass (thank you Cait/Ange, as I have NEVER felt such a burn when attempting to sit down as I did in the days that followed that first class).
I had wanted this, and I was the sole force that brought on this change. But the weeks felt grueling. Balancing a new job and a painful apartment search (think: even smaller apartments for higher rent than in NYC) was exhausting. The 12 hour time difference made it difficult to talk to anyone back home. Daily humidity levels persisted at a stifling 100%. No matter how much smoothing product I put in each morning, my hair. Was. Huge. And each day felt like a new challenge that took immense physical and emotional energy to overcome.
Pushing through discomfort and uncertainty is key to overcoming and conquering any new venture. When feeling totally out of my comfort zone, I would remind myself that any new adjustment takes TIME, and that the challenges and growing pains are all part of the ride. And in 10 years when you look back on that period of change or enhancement, you remember it not because it was easy or because you cruised through it – you’re fond of it, you talk about it and you laugh about it precisely because it was hard and bizarre and wild, and thus SO much more memorable.
After those initial tough 4-6 weeks, I began to settle. I began to adjust. I started to feel totally empowered by the journey. And now, 3 months in, the sun is shining. The cough is gone. The digestion issues…are improving. And I have explored and exercised, hiked and swam more this summer alone than in my last 3 summers in NY combined. Really, the adventure has just begun.
Each Corefire class is like a microcosm of this journey: you’ve made a personal choice to be here, you’re testing and enhancing your physical capabilities, and you’re harnessing your own mental toughness, patience and focus to push through. You chose to grow, to stretch and to progress, and each time you emerge on the other side feeling a sense of pure, personal achievement.
When a new life adjustment is set in motion by a conscious decision to better yourself, whether that be through exercise and wellness or via moving to a new city, you stand to gain so much. Stay patient and persistent, open and curious. You’re capable of more than you know. And you’ll nurture your body, mind and soul not in simply reaching your destination, but in putting yourself through the journey itself.
Kristin is a contributing writer, fan of Corefire and close friend of founders. Originally from Boston, Kristin spent the last 6 years in New York before transferring to Hong Kong with her company. Kristin is the author of The Cringe Chronicles: A Memoir.