Thursday, May 14, 2015

May Daybook

Outside My Window
It's heating up. I'm talking tank tops and flip flops, people.

So humid - you could cut the air with scissors.

The other day we had a flash thunderstorm (aka code Amber). Amber Rain is hard. Red Rain means school closes for students and in Black Rain everything closes. We were gaping out the sliding glass door when we noticed these little bugs ("May flies" my kindergartners tell me) landing on the porch. Looking up, we saw hundreds of them! All flying in that thunderous rain. It was surreal.

I'm Thinking About
Mothering. Kids. How they grow up too quickly. How I love them so. How I want to do right by them.
Mother's Day
 Ainsley created a Restaurant in the house for Mother's Day. 
It was really wonderful. Honestly impressed, flattered, and pampered.

I Don't Want To Forget 
That I live in Hong Kong. It's so easy to get caught up in the regular demands of life that exist no matter where you live.

I'm Learning
Cantonese. Still.

I'm Hearing
Whispering at a performance of Peter Pan tonight:
ABear: "Mom, he's [capt'n Hook] being pessimistic."
Me: "You know that word?"
ABear: "It's the opposite of optimistic. It's not so good."

Bunny: "No" - we have hit this loveliest of all toddler stages.

I'm Reading
Middle Kingdom Ride - A motorcyle journey circumnavigating China. A great adventure - and I've met the author (years ago) as he used to be housemates with Jasper's best friend in Shanghai (also featured in the book).

Boys In The Boat - fantastic! Go Dawgs!! Proud to be from PNW. [just finished]

Around The House
Have I told you how SMALL our flat is? I mean, it's tiny. 900ish square feet with 3 adults and 2 kids. Walls and floors without insulation of any sort (noisy). Privacy becomes an issue. Not only does having AppleTV eliminate some layers of privacy (any photo on your phone gets instantaneously linked to the photo scroll on the TV monitor for the kids and everyone to see). Our flat also boasts bathroom doors with open slats along the bottom - why are these there? I have no idea. But it sure does mean the bathroom is no longer a sanctuary of sanity.

At Work
School is wrapping up for the year. Report cards, placement meetings, ordering, assessing, organizing, parties, good-byes, etc. Don't think we aren't having our bit of fun too -

Eating Out (confession - I'm never in the kitchen anymore)
Have you ever - ORDERED THE MENU!? I mean the ENTIRE THING. EVERYTHING. We did last weekend !! One of everything on the menu - two of some things!

This hidden gem...

 Happy Birthday, Holly!
photo by Erika

... is in a random building in a funky part of town. The paint is peeling and you feel like you're in a dingy food court without a shopping mall. ABC Kitchen - boasts wonderful food minus the pretense of most restaurants in HK. The prices are excellent and the ambience chill.
*the nightcap at a nearby corner bar was great too: stout beer, vanilla ice cream and spicy chili.

So Very Hong Kong
acclimate :: to adjust, or adapt to a new climate, place or situation (Webster)

I apologize to everyone I will get to see this summer for my inevitable "Honkyizms". If I blurt "Hallo!" to get your attention or that of the grocer, don't think I'm rude. That's just the way people here say "Excuse me".

If I use two hands to pay with my credit card, I'm not being formal - I've just gone hongkong. Always two hands when handling money. Respect the buck.

Walking with your eyes on the ground lest you step in something sticky and brown.

Going out till midnight and not realizing it's that late (truly a city that doesn't sleep).

One Of My Favorite Things
The sounds of many languages in my ears almost daily. Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, other Philippine dialects, French, and accents in English from New Zealand, Australia, England....

A Less Than Favorite Thing
The lack of good sharp cheddar. It's becoming a problem.
The spell check wanting me to spell like a Brit.

I'm Thankful
For my kindergarten teaching colleagues. For teaching me how to collaborate, how to be a team player, and how to be loving and embracing of each other. How to lead and when to follow.

I'm Planning
To re-arrange things in the house.
A trip to Hoi An, Vietnam. (yipeee!)
hanging out at home




causeway bay

Sunday, May 3, 2015

This and That

Here's what we've been up to these last few weeks. 

Lazy Sunday morning ART in PJ's.

Pool Time! Made the most of it this 3-day weekend!!

The real highlight of the weekend, though, is the beginning of ...
POTTY TRAINING. Wish us luck!

Stanley -
The week doesn't feel quite complete without a trip to Stanley. Groceries, haircuts, errands. Juke-Box take-over at Smuggler's and an after-dinner ice cream next to the pirate-ship-playground.

We welcomed another Capitol Hill DC family to Hong Kong. We are so happy some of our peeps have moved here! Amazingly they lived just 4 blocks from our house there, but we needed to move across the world before connecting. Took them out for Dim Sum at one of our favorite restaurants!
Din Tai Fung restaurant - yummy!
Dance Performance - Watched my amazing teachers perform.
Funny photo-op. Hooray CCDC!

Private Kitchen -
These are all the rage here in HK and most (if not all) are completely off the grid. Chefs rent space in abandoned (or nearly so) old industrial buildings and transform it into a kitchen/dining area for hosting. There is little to no signage - so it feels a bit secretive and fun when you stumble around trying to find these places. Went to a dinner-party with friends at this one last week:
Unmarked door - nearly missed it ... thank goodness for the 1C on the wall above the pencil sketch. 
 Around the House -
Sophia The First cupcakes - just for fun 
Daddy was in charge.
Ask me no questions.


Addie and a few neighborhood friends

Eating Out
Food in HK is everything they say it is and more. A few from recent recon:
-Carbone - Italian (AAAAHMAZING! Bookclub & went back for date night.)
-Limewood - Beach BBQ (whole entire fish on a plate - and it was divine!)
-Ham & Sherry - tapas... lots of meat and lots of wine - funky and tiny

Last weekend- we made it to the famous JUMBO Floating Restaurant. It's the largest floating restaurant in the world. Food was ok. Atmosphere was fun! Getting there on a Sampan was fabulous.

restaurant DRESS UP station! YES!!



Not all Roses & Rainbows
Our apartment building is absolutely under siege by construction. Nearly a full third of the flats in the towers are under renovation. Can you imagine? The jack hammers and drills going through concrete - all - day - long! Vibrating our house so badly that things have fallen off the shelf. Our Helper has to take Addie to a friend's house for naptime every day, it's so bad. The play areas are cordoned off due to falling debris. I will be happy when this is over. They say September. Sigh.
Bamboo scaffolding on our tower. It's above, below, and beside our flat.

Yes, I do work. School has been busy too. Teaching here means that something special is happening every single week. In addition to the rigorous curriculum, preparations for placement, my formal observation, staff meetings and a few parent conferences... in the last 2 weeks we've hosted a read-a-thon for our Heifer International Service Project and celebrated International Week. The kids dress up, there is a huge assembly and parade, lots of related art projects. I took 4 rotating classes "camping in America". Tents, S'mores, the whole bit. Brought the girls back to school at night for an African drum jam.