Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quiet, lazy holi-days

Went hiking on one of the Lantau trail sections yesterday. Saw only a group of teenage students going camping for 4 days down at the beach, and get this: they were literally carrying several dozen large boxes of supplies, food, tents, sleeping bags, water, firewood, and who knows what else.

They were still trying to make their way down these steep steps, working on the chain-system format where one would carry a box three steps, put it down and then pick up the next one. Not the most efficient way to do it.

Incredible, i wonder if they made it to the campsite before dark.

Anyways, the hike we did was relatively flat, perfect hiking weather too. We passed several big cows who are apaprently so used to hikers they don't budge even if you walk two feet away from them.

We're thinking of going camping there on New Year's Eve with YK and Tomoe (who's never slept in a tent before) and making a huge bonfire - should be great fun!

It's nice to know that we can get up in the morning, decide to go hiking on the spot and get to the beginning of the trail within the hour. All without much advance planning!

On boxing day, my grandfather and Auntie Jennifer and cousin David came over for a buffet lunch at the clubhouse. At first we were going to have a BBQ at our place but then we thought perhaps grandpa would want some Chinese dishes, so we opted for the buffet.

Good thing, my grandfather ate at least twice the amount Matt did, and that's saying a LOT! He may be old but he's still got his youthful appetite!

During the afternoon, we met one of the families on our floor.

We had dropped off Xmas cards at each door inviting people for a housewarming-holiday gathering party. Since only 3 out of 4 of the flats are occupied and one of the families was away for holiday it left only one family besides us: Laura and Marcos and their two adorable children, Anita (3 and a half) and Thomas (16 months). They are from Italy but have been in DB for the past 3 years.

It was nice to meet our neighbours finally, and on a side note, we can ask them to water our plants when we're away and just keep an eye out on our place.

That evening, my Uncle Shak Hai and Auntie Teresa and cousin Stephen visited us for a BBQ-turkey dinner. Despite Stephen locking himself outside on the rooftop patio and then me accidentally knocking my wine glass onto his lap, it was a fun night.

Today was the first day where it drizzle-rained here in Hong Kong since we arrived! What a nice refreshing change. I walked to the plaza to get some groceries and it felt and smelled like springtime in Canada.

So these few days have been busy entertaining guests but also quite relaxed with lots of time for reading, cooking, watching movies, going on walks. Who could ask for more?

Here are some pictures of us since arriving in Hong Kong (moving in, friend's dinners, Xmas, Boxing Day). More to come!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Memories of Toronto Banquet, Jersey Ceremony and Xinjiang Wedding!

Matt's Dad's Retirement Party!

It's July 16th, I'm meeting my father-in-law for the first time, and i'm dressed as a PLA officer with braided pigtails and all.

The theme was 60's night and it was Matt's Dad's surprise retirement party with the entire school staff, friends and family members (old, new, and yet-to-be).

Matt and I were the 'big surprise' and surprise it was! However, i knew from the moment we were welcomed at the airport by Matt's aunts and mum and then how happy his dad was to meet me, this family was the kind I've always dreamed of joining.

The rest of the weekend, we went sailing twice, had a gorgeous bbq outside, went cycling around the island, swam in the sea, and just basically enjoyed each other's company.

Ottawa Party
Then we flew to Ottawa for a few days where we had an intimate gathering at Mom and Dad's place on July 20th with many of my old friends from Ottawa and Cornwall.

Thanks for all who came out - it was lovely to see you again!

Toronto Chinese Banquet
A quickee stop in Toronto where we tried to see as many friends and relatives as we could.

July 23rd was a busy day for us; we started off by performing the traditional Tea Pouring Ceremony for my grandparents. But since they don't drink tea, it ended up being a Hot Water Pouring Ceremony!

After an afternoon social of mah-jong, the evening banquet included lots of good traditional Chinese food (minus the shark's fin soup!), silly games which involved flour, raw eggs, and chicken's feet, entertainment from various sorts (including Dad with his infamous "My Way" rendition), and of course, sappy sentimental speeches.

An unforgettable day with 120 of our closest family and friends from across Canada.

Some more photos from Uncle Shak Hai, sister Anice, friend Michael Russell and cousin Fiona Wu.

Jersey Ceremony

Back to Jersey again! Swarmed with family and friends and chauffered in the decorated Moggy by Claire, we officially got married on sunny July 29th at the beautiful Jersey registrar's office.

Followed by a gorgeous champagne and strawberries gathering at a local hotel, we continued the festivities later that evening at l'Etable where we had decorated the house and marquee with Xinjiang cloth earlier.

Delicious food, a beautifully home-made wedding cake decorated with a marsipan camel and yurt!, more toasts and speeches, the evening wasn't complete until Dad sung "My Way"... or at least what he could remember of it!

Here are some more photos from Mom and Dad Wong and Mum and Dad Thornington.

London Party
On our last night of our whirlwind tour, July 30th, we had a lovely dinner aboard a lightship restaurant in London, meeting old friends of Matt's and my host sister when i was in Beijing for the first time, Xumeng, who is currently studying at Oxford now.

Fast forward to September...

Alas, the wedding we had been planning for months in Xinjiang!

With 31 overseas gusts and about a 100 local friends, we had the most amazing week playing an assortment of roles: tour guide, chauffeur, host, translator, laundromat service, internet cafe, and finally... bride and groom!

Here are some pictures from Anice and Andy Alexander starting from the wedding day following their Silk Road travels to Xi'an by plane, train and automobile.

Anice also took some black and white pictures of the day trip to Tuyugou in Turpan. Thanks lil' sis, you've done a great job capturing the daily life and local people through your lens.

As for Andy-Pandy, an old highschool friend, put his Master's project on hold to visit us. He really got into the sights and 'weirdness' of China, playing bumper cars at Hong Shan Park, wearing this ridiculous cowboy hat at Tian Chi, dressing up as a cute Uyghur lad...

Samantha's Pictures of Xinjiang Wedding

Sam is Anice's friend from Uni who is currently living and teaching in Japan. She came out to join in the entourage of our overseas guests - it was great to have her here and to have finally met!

Jenny Ma's Pictures of Xinjiang Wedding
Jenny, my cousin, made the trip from Toronto to Xinjiang with her cousin Peony (from HK) to attend our wedding. If the number of pictures she took say anything about her week here, it looks like she had a marvellous time!

Allison Grimsey's Pictures of Xinjiang Wedding
Allison, one of my best and oldest friends, from Cornwall/Ottawa sacrificed time away from her Master's program to be my bridesmaid. I can't begin to say how happy i was to have her here and to know she enjoyed herself immensely.

Basia and Thomas' Pictures of Xinjiang Wedding
Joining us from Beijing, these are the pictures Basia and Thomas took on our special day.

Aunt Judy's Pictures of Xinjiang Wedding
My dear Aunt Judy, despite getting gravely ill on the wedding day, was determined to come along to the campsite, even if it meant lying down the whole time in the yurt and listening to all the dancing and music going on outside.

What a trooper, and i'm totally grateful for her coming all the way out here!

Uncle Hong's Pictures of Wedding and his Xinjiang off-roading adventures.

My Uncle Hong had planned for months before coming to Xinjiang, his first time in China and what an eye-opening experience it was for him! Equipped with the latest cameras, a stomach of steel, and an adventurous mind, he writes:

"Good Bye Xinjiang and Hello Canada! After a 6600 km journey of Silk Road in southern Xinjiang, for a duration of almost four weeks, I have returned HOME - in one piece.

Now that I have fully recovered and caught up with my work, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bonnie and Matt for their hospitality in Xinjiang. On behalf of Ivy and Calvin, we are wishing this couple love, luck and happiness to last them today ....... tomorrow and ever after!!!

Xinjiang is a beautiful place and has given me an unforgettable memory, including the good, the bad and the ugly. However, to sum it up, there is nothing better in this world than returning HOME, standing by the sides of Ivy and Calvin, and shooting breeze with relatives and friends, again, here in Canada.

Our Land Cruiser has done it all in - cruising on highways, bumping along on rocky sideways, treading water of streams and rivers, zig-zagging up and down snowy roads in mountains, dune-buggying in deserts, negotiating with cliff-hangers”, cutting through the meshland, getting stuck in the mud ....... a flat tire ........ and slipping off a little bridge into the stream.

While the Land Cruiser has done it all, I have got totally “done in”. You name it, anti-biotic, ant-diarrhea medication, Advil, Contact-C, Neo-citron, Polysporin, Hung-King-Tien, After-Bite, Visine, bandages for cuts and bruises ........ twisted glasses......., and I have tasted them all in this trip, with the exception of Reactine and Gravol. Lucky me, I have lost only six pounds.

Just like everybody else, I have taken some pictures here and there. Looking at photographs alone is inadequate, and more than often, photos give you a false sense in terms of understanding the reality.

Having said that, I do have some photographs arranged in the album format below for you, to commemorate with if you have been there, and to fantasize in if you have not (and you can view them in full screen on your monitor if you wish).

If you are serious in getting to know about Xinjiang (or any other places for that matter), you have to be there yourself in order to “experience” it. Wishing you all the best."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

those long-awaited and probably long-forgotten pictures

Here are a few links to photos that are now, finally, ready to be shared with y'all. I'm afraid you'll have to log into the Kodak Gallery Photos in order to see them, but hey it's free.

Surprise visit to Canada
For 17 days i went back as a surprise, mainly to attend my Grandma's 80th birthday, to visit friends and family, and to attend my cousin's wedding in Toronto. It was, as i expected, wonderful to see everyone, to experience typical Canadian November weather: heavy rain, sleet and snow, and to catch the tail end of the fall colours. Although it was wonderful to be around familiar surroundings and familiar faces, there was only one person missing the entire time...

Vanuatu Honeymoon
A hidden tropical paradise in the South Pacific where the waters are warm and welcoming, the people friendly as can be, the food always fresh and tasty, and the kava always strong! Without a doubt, one of the best holidays ever, and not just because it was our honeymoon!

We went trekking up the wrong side of an active volcano, bathed in a natural hot spring, dived one of the most famous shipwrecks in the world (and i got my open-water PADI certificate!!), sailed on a tall-ship for ten days as a crew member, climbing the mast, hoisting the sails, flaking the anchor chain.. and on the several islands we stopped at, we played a game of soccer with a local village, attended many village parties with cumtom dancing and string band music, and even met villagers who still practice cannibalism!

The pictures will say more than words ever can... take a seat, there are a lot to see.

Bayanbulik Roadtrip
Just before the wedding, we decided to take our last road trip with the beloved jeep. Bayanbulik, the beautiful grasslands of Xinjiang, was a place that neither of us had been to, but because of its mystery and difficult-to-access areas, we thought we should check it out.

Deciding to forego any permit, we lucked out and only managed to get stopped once by some local village police who didn't question us at all and wished us well on the rest of our journey.

Bleak, barren but in a naturally stunning kind of way, we camped on hard ground with the howling wind outside the first night. The next day we drove 18 hours straight, stopping only to buy lunch and to refuel, we passed the No.1 Glacier around 2am on roads where luck played as much as a part as driving skill; the steep drop into the canyon was unbelievable and the sheets of ice on the mountain sides were truly incredible. A definite must-see in Xinjiang!

Urumqi Friends and Colleagues
These are just some of the many great memories i had over the year in Urumqi with friends and colleagues, locals and foreigners. Lots of fun, laughter friendship and memories. Thank you all.

Matt's Mum and Dad's Visit!
Sandwiched between their visit to Beijing/Xian and Kashgar, Matt's folks came to visit us for a few fabulous days where we went camping in the mountains and shopping in Er Da Qiao. They loved every moment of it, even despite having hummus leak over all our camping food and crashing into the side of a huge truck on a narrow dirt road. Many great stories and laughs were shared, a perfect prelude to our wedding to come.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

and a merry christmas to you!

Another lovely day has gone by, but this one was extra special.

Full of presents, tender turkey, scrumptious stuffing, juicy gravy and cranberry sauce, a nice hike up the mountain for a sunset view of the bay, a quick and chilly dip in the sea, some warm apple crumble and ice cream to go along with a movie, calls to family back home, and now, a warm and cozy bed to share with the best present of all!

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a merry and joyous holiday season!

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Woke up with a massively sore throat, but have put it at ease with some chloroseptic spray and a couple of cold pills.

The sluggish race continues as i spend hours and hours browsing online for work, courses, volunteer options, etc. in Hong Kong.

There are an amazingly high number of english schools and english centres focused on the 'alternative teaching method' using 'fun, creative and hands-on' approaches. Sometimes i feel that i have a lot of these bases covered in terms of experience and sometimes i feel like a small fish in the ever-expanding sea.

As for courses, looking at several options (mainly education and journalism/media), and i get constantly excited when i read the course descriptions. Think i will apply to several and then make the decision if and when i get accepted.

I'm also amazed at the amount of social and youth services in HK, LOCAL ones, that is. I've only just skimmed the surface of researching these organizations but they all have good intentions for serving the community in a non-profit capacity. Very uplifting.

Went to see the British theatre piece "The Argument" at the HK Cultural Arts Centre last night. The show has already toured the UK, the US and Mexico and yesterday was its second showing in HK.

Witty and humorous, with excellent performances by the 4 actors, it's about a dysfunctional family that learns to never speak their true minds in front of each other after the death of the mother, propelling themselves into this false world where they are merely tied by obligation and guilt.

Matt is in Singapore for a few days and so i went alone, which made me see again how appreciating the arts is fun and rewarding whenever and wherever, but perhaps more engaging when you are with a close other. Not only in the sense that it's pleasurable to attend such cultural events with someone, but also in the fact that you both share and experience the same event and can learn and grow from it together.

Going home by ferry last night, the area of Wan Chai was completely blocked off due to the escalating riots of the WTO protestors. Several cars, buses, taxis and pedestrians were trapped and couldn't get out and some poor bystanders got swept up in the fights and were injured themselves.

The whole of HK was swarming with police in their riot gear and while crossing the harbour on the Star Ferry, I could see a few dozen police boats on standby, lights flashing.

Going out now to attend a presentation given by the Epoch Times on "The Future of China". With panelists from various parliaments and organizations, topics to be explored include: communism in China in the past and China's future in the world.

Very much enjoying the amount of these public discussions that are held here, be it social, political or educational issues. It's a great way to meet people and network.. and, fingers crossed, weasel my way into a job! Ah, and it keeps me learning.

After the presentation, i'm meeting up with an old family friend from Cornwall for dinner. Her and her husband moved back to HK ages ago and I haven't seen her in probably ten years, so it'll be nice to catch up and fill each other in, just updating her on my past year will take several hours! :)

Eek, i'm late. Off i go.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

sniffle sniffle

Feeling stuffy these past two days, it's an annual thing to get a cold in winter, so why should this be any different??

Because 'winter' in Hong Kong doesn't mean -40 degree weather with 5 feet of snow and ice. There are palm trees outside and not even a drop of rain in over a month!

Still, my body knows it's wintertime no matter where i am geographically, so bring on the tissues!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a great today

Whoever said everything happens for a reason was spot on.

After a successful morning of sending parcels at the post office (what a queue, xmas rush indeed!) and paying some overdue bills at the bank, i went to buy some second-hand indoor plants, carted them home by a taxi-van which you can call up at anytime for a ride in DB, and then headed downtown on the ferry.

It's always a nice ride, 25 minutes in total, enough to read the paper, stare out into the sea without getting bored or antsy or to scarf down a meal on the go.

I headed straight to the HK Youth Group centre in Wan Chai. I walked into the building and posted on the wall was a notice of a panel discussion being held right at that precise time on the 1st floor, anyone welcome.

The discussion was "Civil Society Dialogue Project Hong Kong Seminar" and so i went out of curiosity. There were 4 panelists who were representing their proper organization from South Africa, HK, the EU and Lithuania. They came as delgates to the WTO ministerial conference and it was very interesting to hear their views and opinions on what was actually happening in the seminar rooms behind closed doors these past two days.

Head of the Global Network, in Hong Kong, Elizabeth Tang spoke passionately about her commitment to a freer and more just society for HK through the channels of education, empowerment and engagement.

One guy, the General Secretary for Solidar, a European network based in Brussels whose goal is to bring about positive change in alliance with trade unions, labour movement organizations and civil society, put being a delegate and advisor at the WTO conference in an interesting light: "It's like riding a tiger all week. You don't get to stop when you're tired, you only stop when the tiger is exhausted."

Many of the panelists expressed concern that these ministerial conferences were nothing but inefficient and extremely costly. They said that it wouldn't be surprising if something drastic in terms of scaling down such conferences were to happen in the near future in order to have everyone heard and to simply get things done.

With one of the main questions being "Does civil society dialogue actually influence the trade agenda?", our group was met with a resounding YES! when during the seminar, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson called the European Comission Representative of DG Trade, who was one of the panelists, to ask and confirm a meeting for tomorrow to meet with civil society groups and organizations and discuss certain issues.

efore, just a few years ago, politicians would cringe at the mere thought of having to have an open forum or dialogue with civil society groups. Now, as evidenced today, they are taking the initiative to ask for meetings to be held themselves! In any case, how refreshing it was to hear from the mouths of the people who are actually attending the meetings.

So many protesters demonstrate, and all for different reasons, but unfortunately the media sensationalizes and homogenizes them so as to make them seem that they are fighting for similar, if not the same, cause. And as we are all linked into this civil society movement whether we like it or know it at all, our inactions speak just as loudly as our actions.

It was humbling and reassuring to have sat amongst these people, to actually see them several inches away. What many people forget and probably don't even stop to think about, is that these so called hot shots who are making waves on the civil society frontlines with other countries' ministers and international organizations, are just as human as you and i.

It's no big revelation but it's extremely humbling to know that whatever hat we wear on the workfront, on our lifestyle choices and in the way we conduct ourselves with other people, we all have similar needs and wants as humans. It brings me back to what a dear friend and (at the time) my team leader, Jon, said to me about living and working overseas with people of different backgrounds: "You are just like the brother across the pond."

Shops were closed after the panel discussion ended, and so the shopping i was intending on doing had to wait for another day. No big loss, i wandered around the neon-lit streets a bit and decided to finally do what i've been meaning to do for a while, and that is to rid my hair of the roots growing back in and to dye the whole head to its natural colour.

It's at that really awkward and ugly stage, and since it doesn't give such a good impression at interviews, i thought i might as well do it seeing as i've got two more on Friday back to back.

Being in HK for about 3 weeks now, i notice my level of Cantonese rapidly improving, both in speaking and listening. All those years of what i thought were wasted Saturdays at Chinese School is paying off big time now, my parents will be happy to hear me say! There is something really satisfying in using a skill that i've been taught since childbirth where i can see the benefits and progress in my day to day activities. If only i could read and write though.... well, I've got Matt to translate! :)

Sigh, back home now and a bit tipsy having just downed some really delicious girly wine. Was getting into the usual rut of being new to an area and needing and having to start over again and wanting to meet interesting people but desperately impatient in the meantime.

Today was just what i needed to stimulate my intellectual side and pamper myself a tad. That said, going to cook some dinner and watch a film i think.

Whoa!! Matt just walked through the door! He was away in Beijing for two days on business and was supposed to come back tomorrow afternoon, but decided to catch the evening flight tonight instead after changed plans!!! Ahh, yay!! Soo happy! Enough here for now.

Another side of Hong Kong

Discovery Bay is like a little resort haven, with tennis courts, indoor/outdoor swimming pools, an esthetically-pleasing man-made pond surrounded by palm trees and wide pathways for young families and elderly couples to stroll around (i'm looking at it outside the window right now as i type), a relatively beautiful beach that is more or less always unoccupied, and so on.

There are even aerobic, pilates, yoga, and kickboxing classes. I went to a 'stretch and tone' class yesterday morning and today my body is punishing me for not being more proactive in taking care of myself.

There are some places where i had no idea i even had muscles there. However, having said that, biking around DB is a great way to build up leg muscle. There are these ever so slight inclines and hills around the community. You just don't know it until about 15 minutes after of really rigorous biking, you wonder when the top of the hill is finally going to appear.

Coasting down these hills is great fun, and might i tentatively say well worth the climb up.

Went to Mui Wo, another town on Lantau Island, by ferry yesterday for a quick cycle ride. I fell in love with that place, very authentic and slow-pace of life, every little lane you bike down and turn the corner to, there are more lanes to choose from, it's a little like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Bike-Ride.

There is a beautiful open beach, lots of local vendors, markets and a nice pub/bar right by the harbour. And everyone is so unbelieably FRIENDLY!

Going to head into town today to check out some youth oganizations, buy some running shoes i've been meaning to buy for almost a year now, see what all the ruckus is about at the WTO conference and to come home unscathed and fully intact - apparently there were some violent clashes with the Korean farmers and the police force yesterday which left some severely injured. I'll leave my views for another entry.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

overlooking the bay at sunset

Just returned from a lovely impromptu date at one of HK's tasty organic food restaurants called "Life Cafe".

Just a ferry ride away, there is this great neighbourhood called Soho where there are a multitude of eateries and pubs and bars, where the streets are quite steep and some still cobblestoned, where fresh fruit, veggie and fish markets are everywhere.

Today's gorgeous weather provided the ideal temperature for strolling around these streets.

This morning we played a game of doubles tennis with a couple who also lives in DB. An absolutely stunning morning, sun shining with a slight wind. It was fun all-around, plus i only hit the ball over the fence three times, a definite improvement!

On Tuesday, Dec. 6th, Matt and I celebrated our one year anniversary of meeting! I cannot express how unreal the whole year has been, full of discovery and love. I'm excited to see what will happen in the coming year.

To mark the occasion, we went to see Cirque du Soleil at the Cyberport, the Canadian-based group with an international cast who's claim to fame is to provide pure entertainment under a real circus chapiteau.

Though different from your traditional circus, each show has a theme and story where various acts of acrobatics, breath-taking stunts and silly improv skits with chosen audience members, are put on to a live accompanying band. Truly sensational.

Before the show, we went to eat at a Xinjiang restaurant. A self-proclaimed "Xinjiang FUSION dining experience" we had naan bread, banmian and zuofan, staple dishes in Uyghur cuisine, with of course all the mutton we could get. I realize one should never expect to have a replica of authentic dishes of the area, or you will be sorely disappointed.

All the waiters were Canto-Chinese although they insisted the cook was from Xinjiang. I think the thing with eating a hot steaming bowl of banmian wih sumptuous sauce and freshly-killed mutton seasoned with Xinjiang spices in Urumqi is not just the act of eating the dish, but of doing so amongst a throng of other men and women who are sitting at slightly filthy tables elbow to elbow, feet resting upon a layer of dirty napkins and disposable chopsticks, with sounds of Uyghur men shouting out at passerbys to come and buy their meat and of people wiping their snot with the rough toilet paper roll.

All in all, it made me feel nostalgic for Xinjiang. Especially the mountains!

On the job hunting front, i've put out at least a dozen applications, have done several interviews already and a few more lined up this coming week. I'm giving myself till the end of Dec to fully commit to something in hopes that THE perfect contract will come through, with a good loation, salary, benefits, colleagues, the works.

Tomorrow i another interview at 10:30. Since i'm going into town, i'm also going to try and find a shop where they can repair my erhu (the Chinese traditional 2-stringed instrument). During the move from Urumqi, the two strings unravelled and i'm not confident in how to string it back properly.

Hopefully it will be relatively hassle-free and i won't walk out of the repair shop with something totally unrecognizable, like what happened to my poor violin.

Christmas is coming up but it hardly feels like it. We've bought a few decorations in hopes of making our place a bit more festive.

Our hole in the ceiling was finally fixed yesterday, we've got our Uyghur mats and pillows set up in our living area, we've hung some pictures and paintings on the walls (getting more framed right now, mainly wedding gifts), i've already baked some banana bread and made some hummus - this definitely feels a lot more like home :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

the simple life

Very very tired right now. Had to wake up very early today (it was still dark out) just in order to catch a bus and then the ferry to get to HK Island.

Spent the day at one of the most professional hospitals i've ever been too, Matt had to get a procedure done and so of course i went to support him.

Good thing, as he was quite drowsy and disoriented when he awoke. It's been another few days of buying things like folders and labels and binders to organize our bills and forms and other miscellaneous documents in, but the inevitable task of actually placing them in their proper files awaits, looming over us like this evil eye.

Tomorrow, i declare, will be designated as Official Sort-Out Day. After a visit to the doctor for the analysis, getting our DVD player delivered and having our big hole in the ceiling fixed, along with the leaky tap...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's cold here, for Hong Kong at least, about 10 degrees.

With no heating system it's colder than one may think. i wore a sweater to go out yesterday!

Have been researching for jobs, visiting universities, went to a graduate studies's all very exciting to think of all the possibilities but it's also tiring when it comes down to the nitty gritty.

People do say looking for work is like work itself.

With one more IKEA item left to be built, it's time to tick off stuff on our list that doesn't require any purchasing. Too bad, we were getting good at that, buying stuff that is.

Ok, time to get ready for another interview, keeping fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


OK, it's time for me to update again. The last of our IKEA furniture has just arrived so i better make this short.

Yesterday, I attended a HELP clas way up north in the New Terrirotires (I had to leave at 6:30 for a 9am class, taking bus, ferry and then another bus) with Ada, a CECES employee. She's a funny girl, a bit of the typical "hong kong character" in her but desperately wanting to impress me too, for some reason or other. She told me this hilarious story about herself meeting some guy over the Internet, but i shouldn't tell it here for i wouldn't want it to be broadcasted if it were me.

Anyways, the main reason i was asked to shadow her class was because she was having some trouble with disciplining the students (aged 10-13), and making the lessons engaging and interesting without having them compare her with the program from last year.

From what i could observe, the kids definitely had a lot of energy but isn't that just expected from kids? One thing that i've noticed after seeing two classes already, the kids in HK are a lot more HAPPY than in China. It's hard to explain, but the only way i can describe it is that they glow.

Perhaps i've mentionned this before, but Chinese kids seem to get stuck with the weirdest and funniest English names. Sometimes it's their teacher that gives them their name, sometimes they name themselves.

In Urumqi, the ones that stick close to mind are: Elmo, Nemo, Starfish, Blue and the best, BUS STOP!! Yesterday i met my first Bobo and Pinky. Haha!

Last evening, Matt and i took a ferry from DB to a nearby village on Lantau Island, Mui Wo. More authentic in HK flavour, it had a nice seaside cafe/restaurant that serves a delicious cappuccino cheesecake.

I bought a second hand mountain bike there too, so happy about it and can't wait to ride it around later today. From Mui Wo, one can get lost in the many hiking and biking trails, can't wait to go and explore.

Gotta go and be useful with my screwdriver now.

written by: Bon

OK, finished our second weekend of intensive lessons in how to delve deep into the Swedish psyche and figure out how use six screws to fill seven holes in the infuriating pieces of Ikea furniture we bought.

Add to that the fact that we only got one of the vertical shelf stands and the cross bar at the back was delivered with all the paint peeling off and covered in rust, anyway glad it's all done now.

Also had time for a game of tennis and a quick trip on our bikes to round off the weekend. Settled in to watch Etre et Avoir now then another fun week starting tomorrow!

written by: Matt