HONG KONG I AM BACK – Years after my first modeling trip
Monday early morning I am in Beijing on the way to the airport. Today I am going to fly to Hong Kong for the first time years after my first modeling trip that had been in this wonderful city. I feel kind of weird, happy and excited, all at once. But let’s first fly back through time and memories and see how it was seven years ago.
I still remember every single detail, every thought, every feeling. I was just 17 years old girl who didn’t speak English at all but knew only that she wanted to travel the world!
I was in my last year of high school when I applied for Elite model look competition. However, I didn’t win. Well, it didn’t really matter a sit turned out that I would become one of the first girls from the competition who would start to work and travel. Two months later I got my first contract in the best agency in Hong Kong. No one really understood what was happening and everyone was skeptic about all of it. „Is she really going there?“, that was a frequent question which people were asking my parents but I remember clearly when my ex-manager Jana called my mother to explain her the details about the trip and tell her not to worry. I heard when my mother finally said: “Wherever she goes she will find her way!“ I am so thankful to my parents that they didn’t stop me and for always being my best support.
I packed my little luggage, I didn’t really have many things and also didn’t really know what I would need there. Who cares – the only important thing is that I am going! End of that November I said goodbye to my parents, friends, professors in the school and I left. During the whole trip, I wasn’t aware what I was doing and where I was actually going. I remember I had few pages of paper with all instructions and I was just following it step by step. Landing to Istanbul, transfer to another airplane, landing to Hong Kong, crossing the border, take the luggage, exchange the money and call the agency in Hong Kong. I made this call and the director of the agency picked up the phone! The first thing she told me was that the password of the building where I was supposed to move in was changed! I started to sweat hundreds of times… I think this was the moment when I realized where I was and that this was really happening, it was not some game, now I am all by myself, no mom, dad, or anyone to help! She was telling me ten times numbers and I couldn’t remember! However, I just said OK but I didn’t remember the numbers.
MISSION: GET TO THE APARTMENT
I took a metro and then taxi to get to the apartment. On the way to the apartment, I opened my Serbian – English vocabulary to search for words I needed, as I didn’t even know how to ask – How much for the ride? That heavy vocabulary I was carrying everywhere with me for the first month until I started to speak basics of English. The driver stopped on one big corner and showed somewhere down the street and said “Two building“, I just guessed it supposed to mean the second building. Standing with my luggage in this big corner I was just looking around, on the street where there were hundreds or thousands of people and so many colors, mostly red. After few minutes of being in shock, I had to move on! I got to the building and was waiting for someone to open the door as I didn’t remember password, luckily two women came and I came in with them.
I don’t know how but I remember every moment so clearly, I knocked the door and one Russian girl opened, she let me come in and asked “Are you hungry, are you tired?“ and I didn’t understand what she is asking me. Now you got it that I didn’t speak English at all!
After a while, my dear director Serene arrived. She was an angel, someone who helped me a lot when I just started and didn’t know anything, not even how to talk. She prepared my portfolio with pictures and went with me to the supermarket. Being first time in an Asian supermarket I didn’t know what to buy so I took three things: tuna, bread, and water. Coming back to the apartment I called my parents and cried all night long. Actually, I cried for the first three days and three nights. The fourth day I was kind of OK and the fifth day everything was fine. As Saadi said, ”All things are difficult before they become easy.” It is one of my favorite quotes, but let’s go back to my second day in Hong Kong.
After all, the night of crying and few hours of sleep I woke up, got ready and went to the agency. Luckily, my flatmate Julia went with me to show me the way but I needed to remember as I had to go back by myself, so I was carefully looking around to remember things that can help me to orientate. We arrived at the agency and met with the director Serene and I can say for sure that she was and she still is one of the best people I have met in this industry! I can never in my life forget how much she helped me and how much I learned from her.
As in that time there were no smartphones, in the agency I got a map of the city which was a book of 250 pages, and this afternoon it was time to go to the first casting!!! Thanks God for having such a nice flatmate Julia who went with me and showed me how to use metro, other public transportations, and find castings. Imagine little girl coming from a small country with only 7,5 million of people, the size of Hong Kong, and we don’t even have metro system!
MISSION: FIRST JOB AND HOW TO GET THERE
The third day I already had my first job and I needed to go there by myself, so I went four hours earlier in case I get lost. J I found the place easily and was waiting in a hotel for rest of the time. It was a shooting for one magazine and actually, I had a pretty amazing first job. I was so excited and happy!
Now I find it funny how I was searching for the castings night before, writing on the paper instructions, which station, how many stops, walk 10 minutes then turn left and then right, and today all these things are so simple with GPS. For example, this looked like this:
My apartment — to the metro station Causeway Bay
2 stops by metro
—- to the Wan Chain (exit B)
Walk 10 min straight and on the second corner turn right, Casting place – building number 187.
Go back to the metro ——— 2 stops to the Central station (exit C), building on the left side, etc.
Now I am flying back to this city that has the special place in my heart, to the city that I love the most from all paces I have been and maybe all that I will ever be. I still don’t believe that I am going back there many years after. I landed and I felt I landed to my second home. The wife of my cousin Angela waited for me and this was another reason to be so happy by seeing her after a long time. On the way from the airport, we took the bus and I was looking around and trying to recognize places and you know what, I remembered everything!
First, we went to the place called Yick Fat Buildings, huge buildings with hundreds and hundreds of apartments and many tourists taking pictures. This place near Quarry bay became very popular after being in movie Transformer 4.
After that I wanted to visit my dear Serene, well I can’t imagine being in Hong Kong and not going to say Hi to someone who helped me a lot when I was a just little girl with a dream to be a model. We went to the agency, which is now on another location, and Serene was waiting for us. We both couldn’t believe that so many years passed by, but in these years many things have changed as well, we grew up, have traveled and experienced a lot of things. We are same but different, different in a way of everything we went through, different by the things we have experienced, by the people we have met and the places we have seen – that’s a value of traveling.
It was a time to go back to the airport, a train stopped at the station where I was living before – Causeway Bay. I said to Angela lets’s get out here! We jumped out of the train at the last moment before the door closed. I knew that I wanted to have this feeling of being back to my ex-neighborhood. Angela asked me where to go, I turn and said: “Follow me this way“! I can’t describe how I felt when I saw the street and the building I used to live in! I can say I felt like at home, I felt I was there a month ago and almost nothing changed, except there is H&M on the corner.J I laughed all the time, I think I was the happiest person in Hong Kong, people were looking at me and they smiled too. I had so much positive energy and I wanted to share it with everyone around me.
Time to go back to Beijing; let’s rush to the airport not to miss the flight. Well, not that I want to leave but I have to. However I am thankful for this day and all the experience I had, I am thankful for the life I have, it is unique, it is something I always dreamed about and I fight for it! Follow your dreams and don’t forget to fly!
Hong Kong I love you! Being back to this city seven years after my first modeling trip, I can’t describe how I feel! #hongkong #hongkongcity #travel #travels #traveling #aroundtheworld #memories #memoriesforlife #girl #model #mod