The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

False Starts …
June 21, 2010, 5:49 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m back in HK after a very lovely – if slightly manic – holiday, encompassing dramatic birthdays, World Cup dramas and some wonderful family time with Mum.

Of course Northerner has written it better than I could ever hope to do … but coming back after a break is a real bitter sweet feeling.

On the one hand, there is the sadness that your period of ‘routine free living’ [or should I say, work routine living] is over and you will soon be back in a situation that will make you question whether you’ve ever been away at all … whilst also there’s the comfort of being back ‘at home’ … where everything is relatively calm and in its right place and your mind can’t casually wander off to remind you the ‘holiday feeling’ is only temporary and those valuable days are passing by far too quickly for your liking.

Sure, weekends can sometimes give you a hint of that ‘it’s all moving to fast’ feeling … but it’s nothing compared to a holiday … a holiday that you have been looking forward to for far longer than just 5 working days.

I’ve written a lot about how the role of vacations have changed. For many, it’s no longer about discovery and exploration … now it’s about recuperation … and whilst we did a lot of interesting and new things in these past couple of weeks, ‘recuperation’ was most definitely the purpose of the break.

You see we’ve come back to a time bomb.

In just 10 days, our life in HK will be over and we will be on our merry way to Shanghai.

I don’t mind admitting there is a sense of apprehension in what we’re about to do …

Don’t get me wrong, I’m/we’re excited about what we’re about to do but as much as China is a fast developing nation – it’s definitely unlike any other place we’ve lived.

Naturally there’s a huge amount of positives and excitement in that … which is pretty much what attracted me to moving there in the first place … but this will be the first time I’ve ever lived in a place where I literally do not speak the language and whilst we’re starting our Mandarin lessons almost the day we arrive, that sense of being ‘blocked off’ is not pleasant.

It’s not so much that I won’t be able to communicate – there’s always rudimentary ways in the short-term – it’s more that I will miss out/not understand elements that gives each culture it’s own identity.

What I especially loved in the UK was listening to other people’s conversation and ‘getting it’. I don’t just mean understanding the topic of their conversation, but the little references that only made sense to someone who grew up in that country and at that specific moment in time.

I overheard someone in a pub talking about how his boss always talked to him like Ted Rodgers in 80’s crappy TV show ‘3-2-1’ … and I immediately knew what he meant. I like that and whilst I know I’m dreaming to think I’ll ever get to that level in China, I look forward to the day where my language skills and China cultural network are at a point where I am not always walking totally in the dark.

On the positive, I’ve been doing this sort of thing for quite a while so I have some ‘tricks’ up my sleeve that will help speed up the process – but China is an unbelievably complicated beast so I’m very grateful that I’ve got some awesome friends and colleagues there who can help fill in the blanks as I throw myself into things.

But back to being back …

So we had a great time … a seriously great time … but now that’s over and we have a shitload to do in the next 10 days.

You’d be amazed just how much has to be done when you’re moving country … it’s a minefield of red tape and pettiness but luckily I’ve done it enough times to realise that at moments like these, you don’t fight the system, you just go along with it even if it makes no sense at all.

When we first moved to Singapore the Government wanted me to get a letter from the British Embassey stating they were not against my relationship with Jill. This despite the fact I’d not lived there for 10 years and at that point, had never been there with her.

It made no sense but all pointing this out did, was create more hassle and complication because Singapore immigration doesn’t “do” common sense, it just does “what the process says”.

So the fact the Chinese Government wanted my original school results despite not being at school since 1986 didn’t matter … I dutifully got them for them … and the demand by the removal company to detail EVERY SINGLE THING WE OWN IN THE HOUSE, DOWN TO THE NUMBER OF FORKS, just caused my blood pressure to rise rather than my voice … and the thing is, it’s quite good for me because my natural tendency is to call a spade a fucking shovel and deal with the issue right there and then whereas this way, I have to show a modicum of calm and that has to be better for my health doesn’t it?

On top of all that, this is my final week at Sunshine.

I don’t know about you – but I always find leaving a company weird.

Of course you tend to leave a job because there’s an element/s that you’re not happy with … but that doesn’t mean you haven’t forged some truly deep connections with the people you’ve spent 12 hours a day with over the last few years.

For me, leaving a company is like splitting up with someone but wanting to maintain a relationship with their family and whilst that is [1] not always practical and [2] the worst analogy in the World … it’s going to be quite difficult because there’s some people there who genuinely mean the World to me and not seeing/working/talking to them everyday is going to make life a little less enjoyable.

So here we go … the week of hell … but you know what, life’s even sweeter when you’ve gone through some trials and tribulations so even though I’d rather be chilled out and watching the footie, the next 10 days are the corridor to excitement and discovery and for that, I [sort-of] happily accept the oncoming assault of shit.

33 Comments so far
Leave a comment

what the fuck is this?

you come back from a holiday and you sound more fucked up than before you went.

tell me you wrote this in a fit of jet lag rather than actually spend some time trying to compile it.

and youre right, it is the worst fucking analogy in the world but not quite as bad as reminding me about that shit remote controlled dusty bin.

good to have you back campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes to the jetlag, analogy and 321 reminder.

Been awake since 3:30am … never felt more awake in my life … which is nice, but very handy at 3:30pm when I’m bound to be asleep at my desk.

I’ll call you … you lucky man, ha!

Comment by Rob

be fucking real rob, its not like any fucker will notice you awake, asleep or dead. and why the fuck are you going to call me? what the fuck have i done to deserve you ruining my weekend?

if itll keep you bothering everyone else ill sacrifice my enjoyment for you. whatafuckingguy.

Comment by andy@cynic

just seen i accidently complimented you on my first comment. a mistake. wont ever happen afuckingain.

ps) got the book. hes my new inspiration. or maybe im his. go figure.

come on and call me already. stop making it more painful than it already is and will be.

Comment by andy@cynic

If ever there was a sign this was going to be a shit week, this would be it.

Welcome back Rob. Thanks for nothing.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Are you saying Asia is making you calmer? You are a man of many contradictions Mr Campbell but it’s great to have you back.

Good luck with the move and see you soon.

Comment by Pete

didnt realise “contradiction” meant “sad fuck”.

Comment by andy@cynic

Really like this post. Not for the words but because you just let me take $50 off Baz for a bet I made saying you couldn’t resist writing a post a week. Cheers.

Comment by DH

” 12 hour work day” –

Are the sure the people that you work with at Sunshine feel the same way as you do !! ha

Comment by bhaskar

They get to spend 12 hours with me … surely that’s a great way to spend your day?

[Don’t answer that thank you very much]

Comment by Rob

Recupuration – that’s a good point. One thing that drives me mad about our new, alledged, ‘experience culture’ is the idea that you have to go out and see and do things on holiday. Nothing wrong with that of course, but not every trip needs to take in climbing a mountain or endless sightseeing. Sometimes, you just need to sit on beach with a book. Or I do at least.
Anyhow, I insist you get me some authentic chinese cooking recipes once you’be got through the week and hell and settled. Pretty please, I’ll even do the APSOTW assignment judging on time

Comment by northern

Well given you were supposed to supply me with your judging by today, you’re already late … but as it’s you, I’ll let you off and I promise to give you some authentic Chinese recipes though I’m guessing you’re looking for things that don’t involve chicken feet or pig organs. But then you are from ‘oop North’.

And I’m absolutely with you on the ‘experience culture’ … or as you more accurately put it … the ALLEGED experience culture.

Apart from the fact I question how many people actually do go mountain climbing versus getting pissed in Malaga, I find it especially amusing that they feel the only time it can be done is during their annual holidays when in the other 48 weeks of the year, they spend a good part of it sat on their arse “experiencing” Big Brother.

Keeping on the topic of ‘words, rather than actions’ … I’ve just written a blogpost [yes another one, deal with it] about another brand embodying ‘experience laziness’, except this one has such a contrived ‘worthy message & tone’, that it makes them look even worse than Lyndsey Lohan at 3am.

Comment by Rob

So true – this weekend you went to the footie while I tried rock climbing. Admit it, you’re in awe.

Comment by John

Rock climbing? Are you talking about the wrestler turned actor?

Comment by Rob


Comment by John

47 forks
1 R2D2 projector
20 copies of the Nottingham Evening Post
15 boxes of different business cards
1 incredibly fat Air Miles card
1 remote control Dusty Bin

Comment by Rob Mortimer

If only it was that small a list … but then if it was, I’d be missing out on more robots, guitars and general technology tat wouldn’t I!

Comment by Rob

GuitarS? Do tell…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I have rather a lot of them. Not as many as I do robots, but still way more than I need, let alone use.

Comment by Rob

I meant which guitars…!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

campbell loves running his hand up a thin and short piece of wood.

Comment by andy@cynic

Do you mean what brands?

Manson, Fender, Gibson, PRS & Takemine. Told you I had too many … and there’s multiples of some of those brands. What a sad, sad man I am.

Comment by Rob

Also – I think someone on the APSOTW team should put up a quick brief on Adidas, how they should react and what they should do in light of the huge criticism of the Rudi Guliani ball…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Lovely idea … Mr Northern?

I’d do it but [1] I’m a bit up to my eyes in moving shit and [2] given I’m about to be a disciple of NIKE, it might look a bit weird if I start trying to help Adidas out of their hole. 🙂

Comment by Rob

I’d put something up but I’ve not hosted them before!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

just fucking do it mortimer, its a nice idea and campbell isnt headmaster.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hah! I shall do tonight if Northern doesn’t want to do so!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Your idea, you should do it

Comment by northern

…and Rob, since you’re now a Nike insider, if you can get some vintage Agassi denim shorts I’d be much obliged (not the ones with the cycle shorts)

Comment by northern

Is this like a painter asking an apprentice to get paisley paint?

Comment by Rob

You should make that your first question.

“Hi I’m Rob Campbell. I like Birkenstocks. Can I get some vintage Agassi denim shorts?”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

fucking pervert. you probably want the denim gimp mask to go with it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I didn’t say mens or womens either

Comment by northern

Leave a Reply