This post is a part of EmpowerU Life Writing’s Final Exhibition: check out the intro for more information!
A Company of Friends
written and performed by Mary
It was December 28, 2014 when I arrived in Hong Kong for the first time. I came to Hong Kong to work and support my three kids and my parents back home. I saw it as a stepping stone towards my profession. I worked before as a sales secretary in a motor sales corporation and then as a medical representative, but this was a way I could develop more knowledge into myself and my skills as a professional. I was quite anxious but courageous enough and determined to face everything in my life journey here in Hong Kong. I had to support my family, so hoping and praying for the best to come.
Before I was deployed and flew into Hong Kong, I met three friends at the training center. One we called “Mother.” She always wore fashionable colourful necklaces. She was chubby and loved to pose in front of the camera. She wouldn’t give up on us, being the leader of our group. Even though we were disobedient, she was still there for us, still strong, and she did all her best for the group. She cooked for us every holiday. We spent $30 hkd to pay her for 3 meals we had before, and it was worth it. Another one we called “Sunshine” and she always wore a backpack with sunglasses all the time when it was a sunny day. The third, “the Attorney”, was as serious and innocent as a nun and always wore purple.
I met them every holiday when we planned to visit different parks here in Hong Kong. We took group photos and individual pictures. One of my friends introduced her friends to me and to others. We were from the same province in the Philippines. Within two months, we increased to 15 members.
It was October 1st, 2015. I woke up around 5:30am to prepare everything for a trip to Macau with my friends and left the home around 6:00am. We rode on a bus excitedly and kept messaging the group for updates on each one of us. When I arrived at Shun Tak Centre Ferry Terminal, I went up by escalator and waited at the ticket area, which was our meeting place.
I first met a friend who was always active in the group. We called her “Miss Joker”. When she was coming from far away, I could see her with her long hair and the backpack, jeans, and smile she always wore. She walked like a model and it looked so funny. At 9:30 am, finally we were all there and we discussed buying a round trip ticket and being back at 7:00 in the evening.
We felt very excited, happy and delighted. We had started planning two months ago. I just only brought a passport, HKID, selfie stick, water bottle, handbag and wallet while some others brought lots of things. “It seems you may stay long there.” I made jokes about it. While on the ferry in our seats, we took photos, ate food, chatted, joked and talked about where we would go first when we arrived in Macau, or what we should do when we arrived there.
When we arrived at Macau, we first went to the Venetian Hotel and took a free shuttle bus. We almost filled up the whole bus because we were 10 in total. We were very noisy on the bus. We kept talking and laughing until we reached the hotel. The Venetian was a nice hotel. Some parts were not yet finished and fully open. Many of us didn’t know which way we were going as we were all there for the first time. It had big long stairs in the center of the hotel that could be used to go up. We took photos on the stairs, each one of us. Some were sitting down on the stairs, some were lying down, some were standing with one arm pointing up. I saw a Filipino also working there. The area was a wide space and it was attractive inside. The Venetian had nice chandelier lights. It was big and beautiful. There were nice wall pictures and pleasant coloured flowers at each side corner.
Next we walked from Venetian to the Galaxy Hotel, which was just on the opposite side of it. Outside of the hotel, there were two brilliant colors that highlighted the view of the hotel, white and gold like an Egyptian image. The Galaxy Hotel is really excellent. It has a lovely area and nice view, clean surroundings, and the outside part was really admirable. When you get inside you can see all the superheroes like Captain America,Thor, Iron Man etc. They have a “Wall of Fame” that makes people get attracted easily to that wall and most of us were deciding who would stand first and take a picture. We admired the superheroes, waiting and welcoming us to be with them and have pictures with them. We went for lunch at KFC, strolled around, and took photos.
Inside the hotel we walked around and saw that it was the end part of the hotel. Then we found the lift to go to the very top portion of the hotel where there was a nice view. Mother said, “We can use this lift to go up.”
When we found out that it was the wrong way, our young friend, Rose, said, “We can go back where we came from and use another lift on the other side.” But the other lift went up to the same place we had just been and we all laughed and said, “Seems we got lost.” That was so much fun as we didn't know what to do and kept talking and being noisy and blaming each other.
Some said to Mother, “You are the one who guided us first and told us to use that lift going up.”
Then Sunshine, who was middle-aged 38 years old, said, “I remember that we need to use the lift when we go up to the very top of the hotel.”
Mother said, “That’s the effect of too much excitement,” and I responded, “That is the effect of being here for the first time and menopausal, hahaha.”
In the end, we decided not to proceed to the top anymore, and from the Galaxy Hotel, we rode a free shuttle bus to the Ruins of St. Paul where we would buy souvenirs like t-shirts. Mother bought 10 t-shirts with key chains. Rose bought a magnet for the fridge and strolled around while we dropped by each booth to see what it had. If there was food, you could try some. We walked until we reached the stairs going to the ruins of the church where we could have a photo. Sunshine went to the back of the church to see what was there.
Hotel Lisboa was the last part of our hotel visit. There were many escalators inside, many people sitting down outside and many people selling balloons, popcorn and cute dogs. We passed by the gambling area and Mother said, “Oh we may try to join and maybe if we can win, then we will be lucky!”
Sunshine said, “And who among us loses the game, we will leave here, hahaha.”
When dusk came,we got tickets for the shuttle bus to go back to the ferry terminal and while waiting for the ferry to arrive, we sat down at the bench and talked and looked at our pictures that we had taken. On the ferry we were all tired, sleepy and in a hurry to go home to our employers’ place so that we could have our rest.
We had a joyful and splendid trip in Macau. Even though it was one day, we had so much fun, and it was a memorable, treasurable, unforgettable moment in our lives. We experienced new things, we discovered what Macau was. Not all my friends went, but at least we enjoyed ourselves, we smiled and laughed.
Later on, we planned to make or have group t-shirts: 1st year was red and had the name of our group in the front, “Angel without wings”, with a simple background and at the back, we each had our individual name on it. Angels with wings are decent and good, but we called our group “angel without wings” because we are all disobedient, noisy, and not listening to the one who is talking, etc. Then on our 2nd year I suggested to have a new apple or mint green colour t-shirt with a better background and the same caption on the front and our names at the back part but in the right side area.
We only wore our “friends uniform” if everyone in the whole group went out together on the statutory holidays. If we felt too lazy to stroll around, we just stayed at the bridge way where we had an area where we could put a wide mat on the floor. We lay down to relax and rest. We would chat, sing, eat and sleep until dusk came and we packed and prepared for going back home.
If one member had a birthday, we would celebrate. I would buy a cake for the celebrant and some gifts because “sharing is caring” and the birthday present would serve as a remembrance aside from the cake. We also had a Christmas party celebration at Tamar and played games, ate, slept, and lay down on the grass area with music and food.
Friends are precious possessions in every man's life! Each one of us took a journey to a promised place, with a purpose. We met, we bonded and cherished each other, and that's what friends are, for friendship is reaching out and touching someone's heart.
Angels without wings, we were brought together with certain common characteristics by, connected with time and the same goals. With hopes and prayers, we unite, we stand, we will achieve more.
Though we don’t meet all the time, I know each one is trying their best to make our day memorable, inspiring, and an enjoyable one. We believe in ourselves and we won't give up our friendship. Angels without wings, thank you for the cooperation, the talent we share to each other, the laughter and most of all that we show who we are personally in our group when we are together.
When I am together with my group I give my best to please everyone & to be of help in everything to be done.I share my own stories,jokes and so with the advice anyone would be willing to accept.I want my group friends to be a solid group. United we stand divided we fall.
Our kind of friendship seems like a mighty bond. Kapit Bisig (Working together with unity).