Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Anice

May your year be as beautiful and inspiring as the sunrise.


It's our one year anniversary. To commemorate our Canadian Wedding (July 23) and our Jersey Wedding (July 29) we decided to dine in in the comfort of our own home.

Living in HK provides one with the luxury of good food at reasonable prices at all hours of the day, and so we figured going out for dinner wouldn't be as special as preparing one ourselves.

So after spending 2 hours at the grocery store, we went home and managed to create a feast of Sushi a la Thornington. Wrapped in seaweed, we had mackeral, eggs, veggies, pumpkin salad, mangoes and sticky rice as our filling. It was delicious, messy and very 'us.'

Monday, July 24, 2006

working in a bikini

Just taking a mini break here at work. It's been ridiculously hot in HK the past few days. Apparently thundershowers will roll in in the middle of the week to break up the intense heat. Thank goodness. In the meantime, i'm working in an open area with no a/c in 44 degrees Celcius, and being on the computer doesn't help either. But i suppose after 40 degrees it doesn't really matter. This heat can't be good for the machines either, can it?

However, as the old saying goes: Be grateful for the good things in life. And i am. I get a stunning view of Pui O Beach from my computer (see pic) and just a few metres away is the ocean. Katy (Corporate Communicator for Treasure Island) and i have just returned from a quick dip to cool off. We even had mini schools of fish leaping in the air around us as we lounged in the water, which incidentally enough felt like a jacuzzi. Instead of coffee breaks, we take swim breaks. Even as my sweat pours over the keyboard, i have to say it really doesn't get much better.

Ok, time to be productive again before the next break.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Surf's Up

After narrowly missing our connecting flight back to Hong Kong (delay in Dusseldorf airport from all the England fans returning home on a Sunday), I finished my last week of work at Bradbury School. Because the school will be going under intense renovations and repairs during the summer, we had to inventory everything in the classroom and pack it into boxes. Everything was done in good time and by Thursday there was nothing left to do so I bid farewell to the kids and John.

The next day I started work at Treasure Island, an outdoor educationan organization that offers HK residents an opportunity to experience outdoor activities (camping, hiking, abseiling, kayaking, biking, surfing, snorkelling, sailing, gorging, dolphin watching). Our philosophy is to spread awareness of the natural environment where even in a bustling urban city, it is crucial to maintain a harmonious balance between resources and consumption. I had already visited Treasure Island with Bradbury School on a day-trip (see previous blog entry) and just my luck, they needed more female instructors for the summer, so I was taken onboard almost immediately as Outdoor Education Teacher/Co-ordinator.

This past week was the Surf Camp and by Friday I was absolutely drained from being outside all day (not to mention it was the hottest day recorded in HK on Wednesday this year!). Besides keeping 35 kids (5-10 years old) in line, I was riding on ferries 3 hours each day going between HK Island and Treasure Island (which also comes with the joy of projectile vomit from various pale-faced kids). All in all, it was a fun-filled week and by Friday I had long perfected the art of not-yelling-until-absolutely-necessary. They don't teach you that at school i betcha!

Some of my responsibilities are to lead the Arts and Crafts activity, to develop a template of lesson plans for future use and to coordinate and train youth volunteers on leadership and outdoor edu skills. On the weeks where I won't be leading Surf Camps, I will be coordinating schedules and writing curriculum for an outdoored program based on the British National Curriculum. This second component of the job will be great prepartion for my course in Uni, where I will be working in collaboration with other educators on how best to package a 5-day overnight camp to HK highschool students whereby experiential learning through outdoor activities is most effective.
* Picture of cutie Oliver and his missing front tooth on the ferry ride home. As exhausting as they are, it's these sorts of cheeky smiles that make it all worthwhile.

Other unrelated updates:

I've finished my 3 mandatory motorbike lessons and now i just have to practice a bit until my exam at the end of August. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I've enjoyed the whole experience and can hardly wait to be let loose on the streets! (No worries, I will be very careful. In fact Matt is constantly stressing Health & Safety so it is drilled into my head). The instructors have all been extremely patient and encouraging. I was a bit doubtful at how well i would be able to cope during the lectures since it was all in Cantonese. Even though I have an English manual and they try to inject a few English words here and there, I'm thankful I can at least follow along.

The first test is only the off-road part (cornering, emergency braking, shifting gears). After that, i must get a learner's permit, take a few more lessons on-road and then take another test which will entitle me to a full motorbike license. I've already got my own helmet and gloves and Matt's been looking into second hand bikes for me online. Excited? Oh, extremely.

As always, we've got lots to look forward to this summer. The main one is our holiday in Japan where we will rent a car (with a built-in GPS!!!) and visit Hiroshima, Shimane and surrounding area where Matt used to live/work. Anice and Mom will join us in the middle of the week and we'll stay at a rural onsen and attend one of the biggest shrine festivals of the year.

Then Mom and Dad (who will be flying over a week later bearing Coffee Crisps and Quaker Harvest cereal - no that's not a hint, just a hunch) will come to HK for a week where I'm sure we'll be doing lots of visiting relatives, seeing the places where they grew up, etc. I can't wait to see their reaction after so many years! Did someone say full circle?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Quarter Final: ENGLAND vs. PORTUGAL!

The stadium in Gelsenkirchen was brimming with noise, nerves and mainly England fans in red and white.

Appropriately enough, today was also Canada Day and so what a coincidence to be consumed in a sea of red and white people, deliriously happy from sun and drink. It would have been the exact atmosphere happening across the pond.

Unfortunately, Englad couldn't handle the pressue and lost after going all the way to penalty shots. There was drama up until the last moment and the now-famous incident of Rooney doing the crotch-stomp on Carvalho happened to a disgusted crowd of over 50,000.

Well, we definitely got our value for money. Gotta start saving up for the next World Cup in 2010: SOUTH AFRICA!