I love Hong Kong. Love as in like a lot. A hell of a lot after Tokyo–that place was a different planet. Last night, I was on my way to meet a friend for a drink at the Shangri-la Hotel. Given that the subway takes you right to the mall above which the hotel is located, I couldn’t bring myself to hail a taxi. So I walked my familiar walk to the metro station.

The sounds, sights and smells of Hong Kong surrounding me, I decided to slow my pace to take it all in. It was just after 6:30pm and most people were headed home from work. A kid hanging on to his mom’s hand, an elderly woman looking for cardboard in the trash can, a suit with a cigarette hurrying off to close a deal, a Filipina helper carrying a bag of groceries back to her employer’s residence, this is Hong Kong. Below the impossibly tall skyscrapers and pollution, life winds down while New York is waking up. Believe me, New York is the city that never sleeps when you’re in your 20s, a prostitute, or a junky. For the rest of us, it’s just a place you can booze it up until bedtime without fear of those silly Blue Laws.

As I walked down the steps to the Sheung Wan Metro Station, I wanted to be walking down the stairs to the 14th Street Station in the West Village. I remembered being turned around when I entered the Union Square Station only last month. I used to transfer trains there. I knew that place like the back of my hand. But I was momentarily lost, a tourist in my adopted home town. It made me feel old and nostalgic. I miss New York.

I miss New York because it was only there that I ever felt at home. I miss New York because my friends–my adopted family–are there. I miss those Sunday brunches they do especially for me because I’m in town. I miss the walks in the park, the marches down the sidewalk, my runs down the Hudson River, my alone time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, my “fuck it” shopping days at Saks or Bloomingdale’s. I miss Union Square Cafe, Malatesta, La Palapa and that simple slice of cheese pizza you can pick up after having one too many with your friends.

On my last trip to New York over the New Year holiday, I went out for a drunken pizza run with my sister and one of my best friends. They were hungrier than I was, I was drunker than they were. I slipped in the snow, we laughed, most places were closed given the weather and the time, but we managed to find a pizza place masquerading as a burrito restaurant. Fellow Mexicans ran the place, not the legal kind. I inhaled my slice of cheese while my sister laughed that we were the only people not having a combination plate. Somehow we got back home to my best friend’s apartment where my best friend was in bed with her partner and my man was passed out on the sofabed. It all felt so right. So perfect.

I see the ferries in the harbor, the skyscrapers, the lights across the water in Kowloon. I love this place, but we’ve been living in Asia for over six years now. I want to go back home. I miss New York.

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