Back to Taiwan-Mid Semester Reflection

At a quiet corner of the airport, beside me are huge panes of glass overlooking the busy traffic of the Hong Kong airport. This serves as a mid term reflection of the changes that I experienced in the second semester.

First semester in freshman year was hard, in retrospection, adapting to the new culture and environment, making new friends, figuring out your daily routine, adapting your pace in an incredibly fast paced Hong Kong. Second semester of freshman year for me was integration and a lot of positive change, I’d say, as I became familiar with the environment inside and outside campus, I started exploring with a steady pace, staying calm inside despite the incredible speed of the world spinning around.

I guess the biggest contributor to this change was a change of habits and daily routine. Running in the tracks early in the morning every day was initially fueled by sense of contentment after a nice workout, doing the best of my thinking early in the morning and the stimulation mental and physical strength, pumping the start of your day. After setting my goal of competing in the half marathon during the middle of the term, my lifestyle changed. It was a shift in attitude, working ethics, and time allocation. My habit of running daily at the exactly 6:45am on the tracks became a habit. It required effort and mental strength at first, but after the habit formed, I feel like I wake up every day with a purpose, and seek for the reward of gratification and sense of fulfillment after the invigorating run every morning.

I love my running routine, both physically and mentally in every seemingly similar yet different spiritual transformation. First comes the muscle stings and efforts of the starting of the run, then your thoughts start to flow with the changing scenery. After the initial few laps, my breath starts to go steady and running becomes more effortless, so I start to do the best of my thinking of the day, whether it’s prioritizing a task, planning beforehand, thinking about stingy issues I face, or reflecting on past endeavors. In the final few laps I start to relax, I think about what a beautiful day and healthy self –made breakfast I’m going to have, and end with high spirits. The sensation after a morning run works magic in the rest of the day. I feel grateful, positive, and full of optimism and boundless energy. I feel at peace in spite of the ups and downs throughout the day, I walk around the campus like an observer with thoughts more intact. This is not a change in exercising habits, the rippling effect has changed my lifestyle entirely.

Enhancing your workout plan, elevating your speed, and changing even the slightest part of my workout plan requires courage and stamina, as stepping out of the comfort zone to push myself a little bit harder can be challenging, and scary at times. I do this one step at a time, I can be daunted by unreached foreign frontiers, but every time I try something new, whether taking longer than I expected or not, I feel grateful that I did eventually beat my fear and try it out, one step at a time.

“Passion is caring about the same ultimate goal in an abiding, loyal, and steady way. You are not capricious. Each day, You wake up with a sense of direction and gratification towards your destination. You have your priorities in order.” This is what Angela Duckworth mentioned in her book, “Grit”, and I guess it is the combined passion and perseverance that fuels me on, to do what I love continuously, and thrive on a challenge.

This semester, I also started to explore and observe Hong Kong in a different perspective. Last semester, I felt overwhelmed by the pace the city is operating, hectic, densely populated, suffocating me with tall and ghastly looking residential buildings or glass pane commercial districts. Yet, my perspective changed drastically. I no longer felt sunken underneath the vast flow of information and people of the mysterious city tides, I started to observe and appreciate, feeling at peace and calm as I am much more familiar with the convenient transportation, language, and culture of Hong Kong. The bus, the MTR, or the tram can take you to all places of Hong Kong. Rural villages, scenic mountain views, clear bays, or hectic commercial districts can all be reached within a few minutes ride. I’ve always enjoyed exploring exotic areas without time constraint, as I amble with my own pace, independent and alone, and capture the most insignificant details with all my senses. I started appreciating the place. It no longer felt hostile and unwelcoming with the rushed pace and lacking humanity, as I became a traveler with observant eyes. I was not attracted to the glamor or stimulations of the city, I knew what I needed- a balanced mental and physical journey that made shopping or street food unattractive when I don’t need it. Instead, I open my eyes wide open along the ride of every adventure, capturing the most of the city and enjoying the ride. The outings this semester were quite different than last semester, and I found what I liked. Last semester was going to the shopping malls and seeking pleasure in the food we eat-often coming with exorbitant prices with satisfied friends. This semester I’ve only had such a visit once, the rest are hiking adventures, I visited four different hiking routes till now, and the immersion into nature, breathing in the beauty of nature and escaping the complexities of the city always felt great.

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