Well..... I'm in Hong Kong. How bout it?
I don't even know how to describe this place. It's ridiculous in every way. When I say ridiculous, I mean incredible. I feel as if I've adjusted, but I'm probably just still in shock. I'm seriously surrounded by more skyscrapers than I thought existed, all erupting amidst tropical jungle mountains. People don't use cars here. They don't even walk. Everybody just flies. It's not a big deal; it's Hong Kong.
I wish I could eloquently describe the feelings I'm experiencing right now. I arrived a couple days ago, got picked up by my mission president (President Chan -- I don't think a kinder man exists on the face of the earth. He's a native Hong Konger), we went to bed and the next day we followed the AP's around learning all about what we were to expect here. We went to Victoria's Peak, a nearby mountain, and got to look over the city and contact people as we did so. I can barely understand a word that anybody says here, it's so awesome. Nevertheless, I've been talking to people non-stop. There's an opportunity at every corner to talk to someone, and I think I've been rejected more times in the past few days than I have in my entire life. But it doesn't bother me. In fact, if I can somehow capture the "get out of my face" look on some of these Chinese people's faces when I try to talk to them, and then take that face and make a muppet out of it, I don't think I'll ever be worried about finding something else to laugh about for the rest of my life. I want that for my birthday.
Beyond all the rejection however, I'm happy to report that on the underground metro system I managed to get a man's phone number after talking to him about the eternal blessings of family and how the gospel can strenghthen his.
I've taken a bunch of pictures, and I have a couple of funny recordings. Naturally, I wrote a song about going to Hong Kong in chinglish. I'll have to send them next week, I have nothing with me to connect my devices.
This morning we were assigned our new companions! My companion's name is Ng Jeunglouh; he's a native to Hong Kong. If you're at a loss on how to pronounce that name, just make an angry grunt in the back of your throat and you'll probably be close enough. Every single Elder at the church has told me all day that I have the best companion and the best missionary. He smiles a lot, he's kinda quiet, and he is very nice. I'm really excited to serve with him. And what an opportunity I have to excell in my Cantonese right off the bat! A ton of missionaries have told me that my Cantonese is really good already, and are always surprised when I insist on trying to answer in Cantonese. Might as well speak my language if I want to be a master, right?
The food here is incredible. We went to dim sum yesterday morning with President Chan and his wife, and it is so housihk. Brian, you would be in heaven over here. The food is so amazing. I'm obsessed. I'm not going to get fat.
The moment I walked off the plane a couple days ago, it's been nearly impossible to wipe a smile off my face. Missionaries before me know what I mean when I say I can feel that Hong Kong is where the Lord needs me to be. I recognize this place as a place where I have a great work to accomplish. I can see it in the faces of the people, in my surroundings, and in those whom I serve with. I can't get over how good I feel, and how much I love being a missionary. I've never felt so positive and optimistic, and I've never felt so close to God. This is the moment when I realize I'm really experiencing life, because I know that all God really wants to do is give to us. I know that God answers our prayers, and strengthens us even when we are in the bitterest of circumstances. God is my greatest resource in this new and difficult transition, and I am ready to stand taller than every tower in this city. My friends and family, I am called to serve. No fear, no shame, no failure. God knows I am willing to give my all in this amazing place.
For those who wish to write me letters, and I'd love to hear from you,
my address is now:
Elder Garrett Hazen
18 Dorset Crescent
China Hong Kong Mission
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
May God bless and keep you all,
P.S. Bryce, I sent you a letter to Norway at the MTC but I realized it only had one stamp and I put the return address to Hong Kong. Don't be mad if the Postal Service eats it.
P.P.S. Mom, as you may have noticed, my P-day is now thursday. You can expect emails on this day.
P.P.P.S. I'm in Hong Kong.