Thursday, June 30, 2011

A simple farewell....and a hope to return...

We have finalized the journey of the Fulbright scholar experience and begin to unwind, collect memories and cherish the times. As a family we have known blessings beyond measure while completing all the work in Hong Kong and mainland China. The lines spent in this blog are only a brink of the many fine and beautiful details this experience has meant for the Munley family.  I say a family....YES ALL of us are changed forever.

It is in the true spirit of the Fulbright mission to collaborate and have a full exchange between cultures and ideas that this chapter in our lives concludes. The mission fulfills more than scholarship- yes much research, writing and travel, however, more importantly the lives touched.....and this goes both ways. We were blessed, loved cared for by many who truly embraced us as family. My colleagues at the CUHK who reached out in many different ways, from lunches, to times shared at the parks, pools, libraries, so much more. Hannah and Mia enjoying meeting so many wonderful children, enjoying the company of all the wonders of this culture, while polishing on their Mandarin. Mia who can write Chinese characters and build and group characters to write several words. Hannah pronounces and recognizes Chinese characters everywhere we go.

The Norwegian International School became our home away from home, our times spent with families on weekends to enjoying meals, children playing and getting to know more of Hong Kong. Hannah in deep thought one morning, with much confidence tells us that she has four homes: "One in China, this is my first home mom and dad because I was born here, Virginia our second home because we live there as a family, Guatemala because mommy you are from there and Florida because grandma and grandpa are there".  I smile with tears thinking, how six year old understands more than I could ever imagine. This experience has been more than words could sum up for both of our girls.  Mia on another beautiful Hong Kong day at the breakfast table smiles big and says: "Mommy and Daddy thank you for bringing me on this journey to Hong Kong"...I ask and why are you thankful? " because you brought me here and it is pretty".  From the mouth of babes!  as the word of our Lord proclaims...come to me childen....our children Hannah and Mia forever changed. Jack reminds us that they have lived more than many will in a lifetime.

To my colleagues at the CUHK- Chairman Shige Makino, who graciously extended a warm welcome and now a friendship and continued collaboration to come. To my dear colleague Dr. Ping Ping Fu- for always being so committed to the research, the projects and to always make sure that "the girls" had everything they need. You are an amazing woman!  To my friends, Xu Fei and family, John Lai, Daphne, Pamsy, Dora, C.M Lau, Kenny, C.S. Wong, Qin, Fred, students, Fiona, Shirley, Claudia, Ken, Didier, and Almaz.  Thank you to you for making me a better person, for opening your space at the MGT dept, and for giving me an opportunity to learn from you.

To our dear friends at NIS- Sara and Nathan, Noelia and Miguel (Spain), Verina (Germany), Greenies(China), Tanya and Sean (Australia) Lilian and Simon (Hong Kong) Abe and Terry (Hong Kong and Canada) Kendra and Harold (Hong Kong and Brazil) , Sally and Richard (Hong Kong and China)to you we are all indebted for your care, love and for being our family in Hong Kong.

It is not a goodbye Hong Kong, but an "hasta luego" in English this means "until next time- which should be soon".   Hong Kong, we will see you again- -the Munley family has been changed, blessed by the almighty.  Hong Kong we will come again!

(Island of Lantau- Hong Kong)

(view from our apartment, Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong)