Thursday, October 28, 2010

Starting Out Happy

It's been a long time.

I stopped blogging in February in order to focus on another venture: writing my first book. I am pleased to share that I was successful in this endeavor. At least in the sense that I wrote the book. We'll leave it to editors and publishers to see if it ever hits a shelf. But in addition to wanting to write a book about South Africa, The Jupiter Drawing Room, Graham Warsop, and about myself, I just wanted to write a book. Anything. I would have done a fan fiction sequel to The Dragons of Blue Land as long as it meant I finished something. 100,000 words later, that task is done.

So here I am, blogging again. I really want to share some stories about my new homeland: Hong Kong. Simon and I moved here four weeks ago today and are already having the time of our lives.

I will write further entries about Hong Kong itself. Adventures have already included fish balls, being chased by bulls, losing our way on mountains, lots of culture shock, tons of noodles, and plenty of “universal” hand gestures. But today's entry is about a subject that is near and dear to all of our hearts: being happy.

Some of you, especially first time readers of Mike, might be running for the hills or struggling to chug down this treacly subject matter. All I only have one thing to say to that:

Screw you, bucko.

We all spend so much of our time trying to be happy. And then, on the occasion when someone does manage to taste even just a piece of the happy pie, there is a very specific (and I think rare) type of person that decides to pick and criticize and snark until they've sucked all of the happy out of the proceedings.

If one of those people doesn't want to read what I have to say, that is fine. I don't want you reading it. In fact, I will write further entries titled - Searching for Care Bears, What Disney Princesses Can Teach Us About Life, Inspiring Sports Stories Especially Those Featuring Serena Williams, and I Am So in Love and I Want to Sing it From a Rainbow Perched on a Love Cloud Above a Waterfall on Valentine's Day in Magical Love Love Love Land - just to keep your kind away.

Now, tangent over. I don't want to write a story about why I'm happy and how you can be exactly like me and how that will make you happy too. Rather, I want to write on a subject that I've often wondered about: starting off happy.

For those of us who live our lives as if we are the main character in an epic adventure/romance/swashbuckling/etc film, the idea of beginning a story with the main character happy at the beginning is a fairly rare occurrence. Even Belle from Beauty and the Beast started her tale as a very single woman wanting "so much more than her provincial life!" Do all of the best stories start with sadness?

Last year, I began my journey through South Africa with a big chip on my shoulder. I had had a rough job with my job the year before, I'd fallen out of love with the city I'd travelled from (London), I was incredibly homesick, and I was as single and lonely as a nun on Halloween.

Coming into my new story, I've arrived in Hong Kong having had the best professional year of my life, having come from the most beautiful country I'd ever travelled through, having just spent over a month with my parents around, and head-over-heels-marry-me-now-oh-baby-oh-baby in love. What am I supposed to struggle against in order to get my grand and inspiring conclusion?

I've thought a lot about this and one answer keeps coming into my head as soon as I begin to ponder.

You're not done yet.

Fairy tales tell us that once you've fallen in love and proven the bad guys wrong then you’re done. While I love fairy tales, real life tells me that, though happy, having support and having overcome challenges gives me the opportunity to pursue even loftier dreams. Things I never thought I’d get to do. (Hello, Oscar!)

Hong Kong is the perfect place to realize that one's path does not need to follow a typical story line. So much of the world that is unknown to me is a relative hop, skip, or jump from here. Simon has not seen much of Asia either, so we get to explore these new things together. Hopefully some of my best friends, who I miss so much every day, will come over to visit and explore it, too.

So, prepare for a year of messages about Hong Kong adventures. And prepare for them to be happy. And if they're not, I'll be the first to put my foot in my mouth. But I think we all owe it to ourselves to celebrate when we are happy ourselves and when those close to us are happy. A dear friend, Kim, said to me right before Simon and I left South Africa, "We're allowed to be happy. Which takes some getting used to." (Read her inspiring stuff at and And she's right - we are allowed.

I am so excited to be here in Hong Kong and to have the opportunity to share some things about it. I am also just excited about everything right now. I'm excited about Hong Kong, about Asian adventures, of course about Simon, about going to Meadville for Christmas and seeing my family and friends, and about so much more.

I think happy and excited is the perfect way to begin this new adventure.


PS: Simon has already started documenting some of the adventures we'd had in Hong Kong (among other things), so make sure to check them out at


  1. I love it, love the humor and the sarcasm. I also love the fact that there is another person in the world who knows "The Dragons of Blueland"...sometimes in my 'first grade teacher world' I am surprised when adults mention things like that! It sounds as if things are fabulous - and you are correct, we are allowed to be happy, but it takes some adjustment to think that way. I love the quote, "the worst things in life are never the last things", it reminds me that when things do somewhat crumble around me, it just means that something wonderful is coming, and nothing bad ever last that long! I don't know about you, (I'll be interested in reading your piece on the Disney Ladies), but being in the theater world and loving film has not done me favors across the years - I always lived my life in 'Act I, II, & III', and it caused so many problems. So glad to know you have realized it doesn't have to be that way either! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures ;)

  2. So good to hear from you! And that someone else knows about The Dragons of Blue Land! :)

  3. aah. Mike, I'm glad to have come across your blog and i look forward to reading more about yours and Simon's Hong Kong adventures!

  4. how did i not know you even had a blog - and mentioned me in it!
    Yay to have found it and i will be eagerly anticipating more posts

    be happy - its infectious