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Where in the World is Dr. Beal? September Update

Hello from Hong Kong!

Briefly delayed by Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the family has arrived. And they arrived just in time for Mid-Autumn Festival, a family holiday synced to the full moon. It’s an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, gaze at the moon, take in the lanterns that decorate the city, and enjoy a mooncake or two.

One of our son’s favorites from this weekend was the Fire Dragon Dance in the Tai Hang neighborhood. As the story goes, years ago the Tai Hang neighborhood was threatened with plague, and community leaders were instructed to conduct a fire dance to ward off danger. The result today is a dragon body that winds for two blocks or more, topped off with burning incense, all of it carried by dancers through the streets while a drum corps provides a steady, thundering beat. The sidewalk was so thick with people that we could scarcely move, but our son came away from it mesmerized. “Wait till I tell everybody at school that I saw a dragon,” he kept saying afterward.

The study-abroad experience is really something to see when your kids come along. There are several times, of course, when we’re all tired of walking or dehydrated or experiencing some sensory overload. On the other hand, it’s warming to see that both our 7- and our 2-year-old are making friends with Cantonese speakers on playgrounds, and that they’re already in the habit of saying mm-goi (“thank you”) when getting off buses or leaving restaurants—our daughter saying it several more times, and with increasing volume, if she gets positive attention for it.

Here’s a picture Courtney took of me and our kids next to some graffiti we found off of Pottinger Street. More like a sidewalk than a street, Pottinger runs uphill roughly parallel to the Central-Midlevels escalator system. It’s a pedestrian throughway, lined with stalls selling clothes, watches, and whatnots. During October, it’s also a staple destination for Halloween shopping.

Until next time.

Wesley Beal is an associate professor of English at Lyon College. This fall he is serving as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches two courses in American literature and continues a study of the campus novel genre. Please reach out to him at wesley.beal@lyon.edu if you have Hong Kong- or Fulbright-related questions for him to investigate. He’ll do his best to oblige in subsequent blog posts.