Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Daybook

Outside My Window
This winter in Hong Kong (like many places around the world) is crazy.

  • Coldest day recorded in 60 years.
  • Wettest January in 132 years!
  • First ever 'amber rain' to occur in January. (v. heavy rain)

We've had so much rain, cold weather and winter monsoon warnings - which is difficult without central heating. The government even issued a school closure for a COLD DAY. People went in droves to 'hunt frost'. Seriously. Throngs of HongKongers went to the highest peaks to see frost for the first time in their entire lives. frost. They even had to helicopter a bunch of people out who couldn't get down due to the icy conditions. (!)

I'm Thinking About
how old I am. I think it's finally hit me. I'm OLD! When did that happen!?

I Don't Want To Forget 
ABear: The way she says 'pacific' for 'specific'.
Bunny: "Bee-me-awone!" (demanding 'piwacy' in the bathroom these days)

like mother - like daughter (lists!)
I'm Learning
Techniques for conferring in the classroom. Better unit planning and using student work to guide those decisions. Thanks to gurus Maggie Moon, Dan Feigelson and Matt Glover these past weeks at school. And lifting the level of talk in the classroom - thank you, Kristina Kyle!
Look who's on safety patrol!

I'm Hearing
Furby. Need I say more?

I'm Reading
The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
*recently finished The Lake House by Kate Morton - divine!

Reading AND listening.... got to see Diana Krall in concert! And we had a moment!* She played the song I yelled out. :) 

Around The House
Baking whenever we can - partly just to keep warm! :)

a 'people' study -- those are ponytails on top, btw
At Work
So much literacy learning ... Oh - and mealworms. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Eating Out (confession - I'm never in the kitchen anymore)

A new favorite:
       22 Ships

Named for its address, this place is a tapas fusion artistic masterpiece! Quail egg truffle sandwiches. Seriously. So. GOOD!

Have to wait for a table? Follow the monopoly guy painted in the alley to an unmarked bar for some inventive cocktails.
So Very Hong Kong

One Of My Favorite Things

Children's theater - done well.

Going On A Bear Hunt

pre-show snacks

show was inside this bizarre purple cow

A Less-Than Favorite Thing
getting stuck on the MTR for 3 hours (!)

I'm Thankful
for my children

I'm Planning

Picture Thoughts
hiking - on Dragon's Back!

view of our apartment towers

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Koh Samui - Thailand :: 8 nights, 5 kids, 2 mishaps

Get ready for a deluge of photos. And a little bit of paradise.

Thailand - 
Coconuts. Sun. Fresh air. The food! Reverential palm-together-greetings. Thai massage! Iced Tea. Friendly. Spiritual.

Travel Time! With these pumpkins...
Thailand is a short hop, skip and a jump away from Hong Kong. 

Well, hello.

Coconut trees everywhere - koh samui is the source of coconuts the world over.
And I'm here to tell you that they taste DIVINE.

Mommy found a water sport she loves!!
Traveling with friends  -
GROUP VACATION! We got to spend the whole week with these guys. Such fun! Jasper's best friend, Ted, lives a few hours north of HK in Shanghai. They are both pretty stoked to be living in the same hemisphere.  Friends of theirs, and now dear friends of ours, joined us as well.

game night

Don't miss Greg - on the left!
 Boys being boys - Greg, Ted & Jasper

 - and a little girl to imitate them -

the ladies - 

Around the villa  - 

Thank you, Michelle! Way to plan the villa-life! Our in-villa chef, Nuch, arrived by 7:00 every morning (with her 2-man staff) to prepare breakfast. We selected an array of Thai dishes each day from her menu for lunch and dinner. Spectacular food! Better, even, than the local restaurants we tried!

soft-shell crab, grilled lobster, black-pepper squid, morning glory, pad thai, fresh whole fish, sweet/sour, fried rice, corn fritters, shrimp cakes....

not a bad view

The pool - 


Kid's Club - 

Elephants -
Admittedly, not the most animal-friendly choice. These poor elephants. Jane Goodall would be appalled that we supported this tour-driven place with our money. But.... well.... a certain little girl had her heart set on seeing elephants while in Thailand and we took the opportunity that presented itself. 

Meet Sandy, the elephant. Sandy loves to eat bananas!

Now, a vacation wouldn't really be a vacation without some misfortune. The low-lights of this trip:
  1. death of a cell phone
  2. head lice
Need I say more? 

Jasper's phone bit it when he jumped in after ABear who had slipped in the current of a waterfall during a hike. He's a quick grab - those life-guard skills still come in handy! Lesson: don't try to slide down wild waterfalls, no matter how small they look.


Bear & Greg got the windy seats on the ride home!

and.... LICE:

Day Trip - in a LONGBOAT -
From Koh Samui, it's easy to hop a boat to any number of nearby islands. This might be my favorite memory from the trip.

Look closely - there are people living here!!


Good-bye, longboat adventure and secluded beach! Back to the Villa (behind BunnyCakes)

Farewell, Villa on the far side of the island. Now - for a night in a smaller hotel near the airport...


our map reader / treasure hunter

Dinner on the beach at an al-fresco restaurant. 
 ....and sent off a magic lantern prayer (just like in Tangled!)!