March: Living in the Clouds

by - March 26, 2014

The campus in the clouds
As the rain and cold of February cleared, March brought mild temperatures and fog.  For days on end the campus was totally engulfed in cloud - a cloud that was so intense that it made its way into the corridors and rooms and made everything damp.  While it rarely rained, the whole campus was always wet.  This cloud served as a suitable metaphor for the month in general.  March was always going to be a reasonably tough month, full of deadlines, assignments and the start of mid term exams.  The biggest of these deadlines would be for the first draft of my research project.  The completion of this required one of the most intense periods of studying and working of my academic life - endless late, late nights in the library reading journals, running computer simulations and writing reports.  There was no escaping the campus - and thanks to the cloud it was as if the world outside of the campus didn’t exist anyway.  I was, however, able to survive this busy period feeling reasonably positive (if exhausted) as unlike similar periods back in the UK, I was able to at least say that I had tried my best - I literally couldn’t have squeezed out any more hours and that knowledge brings with it a certain peace of mind.

End of the brown line - Wu Kai Sha
After a monumentally busy day which contained two assignment submissions, a midterm exam and my research deadline, I was able to all of a sudden break free from the library.  Appropriately, both for the sake of my extended metaphor and for my post-library rehabilitation, the cloud broke the following day - allowing me to get out and about into the city again.  This began with a spontaneous afternoon trip to an area that I had seen on the map and was intrigued by, just north of the campus at the end of the Man On Shan MTR line.  I had no idea what was there and that was the point in visiting.  It turned out to be a high-rise residential area on the coast, with a lot of construction work going on.  There were some reasonably pleasant little beaches where locals were sitting out in the afternoon sun having barbecues and, while the area would be a long way from your average tourist’s itinerary, it was interesting to see another part of Hong Kong.  As we were just around the headland from beautiful Sai Kung Town, we caught a cab for a Sri Lankan dinner on the sea front.  Over the next few days I was able to take part in two hikes (that are mentioned on accompanying blogs) and in a flash it was April, with only two full months of the year abroad remaining.

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