An eventful and productive Saturday

I woke up to this “click click click click” sound, a bit of a pause, and then “click click click click” again, and it kept going. I thought it was a cleaner downstairs, pushing a rather loud trolley. But the sound never faded, so then I thought it might be coming from inside the house, perhaps the washing machine or dryer. So I went to check: it was the dryer. N had apparently timed it to start drying something at 6:45am! So then of course I quickly reason that this “click click click click” isn’t going to stop anytime soon, so then I started wondering how I’m going to get back to sleep…

I tried anyway, but of course Kitty is now up too, and then she starts her usual scratching, hoping this will get her some attention that will eventually lead to food. Argh! What a lovely way to start the morning!

So I did eventually drift back off to sleep, but then got up late, and didn’t have time to have breakfast before Chinese class. So I went to one of my cafes to pick up a takeaway coffee to bring to class. As I was waiting for my coffee, one of the staff members was inputting into their laptop the feedback on all their received feedback forms. In my half catatonic state, I became all outgoing all of a sudden and struck up a conversation with her about the feedback forms, asking what sort of feedback they receive and what actions they take with the feedback etc etc Now for an introvert, this is ultra weird for me! I was actually proud of myself for striking up this conversation! 😊 I blame it on my lack of sleep. Maybe I need to sleep less once in a while to bring out the extravert behaviours πŸ˜‚

We had our first Chinese class in what feels like aaages, perhaps close to a month. I always wonder just how much I remember after not having studied for that long. I do a little bit, but it’s more day to day stuff and nowhere near as challenging as what we do in class. I really need to build some serious study in to my daily routine. I just need to create some rule to take out the decision making process, much like how I’ve somehow managed to create my relatively new habit of going to the gym on non-dancing days during the week. I still fight with myself about the gym on an almost daily basis, but somehow I still manage to go. I need to set up my studying in the same way. I have to think about how to do this…

I went and got my hair cut after lunch, and on my way home, I came across this rather aggressive tissue seller. He was pretty much shoving his tissues into my bag! 😲 He kept saying β€œni mai, ni mai”, and all that my brain would process is 二枚 – two sheets (of paper) in Japanese. So I kept asking myself, why is this guy saying two sheets?? Maybe he means two packets of tissues?

I relayed the story to N and asked him what he reckons the guy was saying.

N: β€œni mai”? As in δ½ δΉ°, you buy?

Omgggg my weirdo brain processes it in Japanese, never mind that we’re not in Japan AND that I replied back to him IN CHINESE saying that I didn’t want it wthhh πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

And tonight we went to practise Latin for a little while, and then watched an episode of Masterchef Australia when we got home.

So despite my crappy night’s sleep, I still managed to have a good day 😊

All finally back home

A bit of a lazy day today, I didn’t do much at all. I was lacking a bit of energy all day, and so of course was tempted to skip the gym, but even more so than usual today. But I went anyway. Maintaining the habit of going was more important than achieving something at the gym today. Normally I try and beat something from my last session, whether it be a shorter time between sets, more reps or heavier weights on a particular exercise. Today I didn’t care so much, and just focussed on doing something. I probably did less than I normally would, but I didn’t mind. I was fatigued, and my muscles were still sore from yesterday’s session, so I didn’t want to push myself too much today.

I did spend more time on the treadmill doing rumba basics and waltz and foxtrot basics. I’ve recently started adding Ballroom to my treadmill repertoire! πŸ‘ I did over 800m of basics, quite impressive. That’s twice around the track and field oval 😊 So basically I was doing rumba walks for one round of the oval, and then waltz and foxtrot basics for the second round. Obviously not as elegant as these guys, and definitely not with sneakers on πŸ˜‚ but you can get a feel for how odd I must look when I’m on the treadmill in the gym doing moves like these!

And N finally got back to SG tonight, after being away for so long. I tracked his flight while I was at the gym, despite taking over an hour from the scheduled departure time to finally take off, and then saw the landing when I was back in the apartment and while I was in the middle of writing this post 😊 We’re all finally back home again.

Masterchef and gut health

I stumbled across Masterchef Australia on tv last night. They’re already up to episode 7, so I’m six episodes behind boohoo! So today I decided to go online and see if I can find the first six episodes so I can catch up.

Luckily I found it, and I worked my way through the first episode. The first episode sets the scene for the season, and if there’s one episode that I have to see, it’s the first one for the season. Oh, and the finale, of course! πŸ˜† It’s all about the contestants and their back story and less about the cooking. I’ve never been interested in food or cooking; I watch this show for the people and the drama, so this episode is key for me. If I don’t like the contestants or they don’t draw me in, then I don’t watch the season. This is what happened a few years ago, when that particular batch of contestants just didn’t interest me enough to watch it that season. It’s happened a few times, but not too often. I’ve seen most of the previous nine seasons. And I can’t believe they’re already up to season ten this year! 😲 And it’s still going strong!

Plus it just takes me back to Oz. I feel like I am back in our living room watching it on the couch after work. It’s like a common thread that binds Sydney, Melbourne and SG. It’s followed me to each and every city that we’ve lived in.

And then tonight I went to a gut health seminar. They said registration was from 6:30pm and that there would be food available from this time as well, and the seminar would start at 7pm. For some reason I thought they’d serve hors d’oeuvres or cheese and crackers, that sort of thing, but it turned out to be a proper meal! They had those food warmer trays, with fried brown rice, fish fillet, some cabbage and mushroom dish, and some tofu. And then they had dessert! All very healthy food, including dessert, which was awesome – all in line with the topic of the seminar too, of course 😊

The presenter was also very engaging, a doctor who explained the medical stuff in an easy-to-understand way, giving lots of analogies to help us get a better feel for what’s actually happening inside our gut. He snuck in a few jokes that were obviously for a more local audience, as they just went over my head while everyone else around me were chuckling. Oh well, obviously I need to spend more time in the country!

The seminar was all about probiotics and why they are good for you. I was there primarily for N, who is the one with the more sensitive stomach. But I also wanted to know if there would be any benefits for me, since I (touch wood) don’t have any gut related issues. There were surprisingly (well, surprising for me, anyway) a lot more women there than men; we probably outnumbered the guys by about 10 to 1 (!). I don’t know why the numbers were so skewed that way, as we clearly all have a gastrointestinal system…??

We were all given free probiotics, one for just general gut health and one for acute diarrhoea. They had a sample bag on each chair, and I just happened to be sitting in between two vacant chairs. So on my way out, I took the sample bag on my chair as well as the one on the vacant chair to my right, and didn’t touch the other one on the chair to my left as I thought walking away with three sample bags would just be greedy guts πŸ˜‚ So now that I have two packs for the general gut health probiotics, I figured I may as well give it a go. The presenter said that it would take a few weeks for you to notice the difference, so I have to give it some time to kick in. I’ll finish one pack, which should last me for one month, and by the end of it, I should notice the difference. The problem is, I’m not really targeting anything to improve, so what exactly am I measuring to see whether it has improved or not?!? πŸ˜‚

In any case, with the hearty dinner and the two free sample bags that I walked away with, the $7 that I paid for the seminar seems like a total bargain now! πŸ‘

Bread and butter

I got up feeling very tired this morning. Maybe it was because I woke up a few times from Kitty’s scratching multiple times in the early morning; or perhaps it was just because I was extremely tired from the past few days, and I just haven’t quite recovered yet. I’ll say both πŸ˜”

It was a terribly uneventful day, to be honest. I went to go get some groceries to restock the fridge, since it was pretty empty after having been away for a long weekend – well actually, it was probably closer to a week. I went and had brunch (because there was nothing in the fridge! πŸ˜‚); I did some stuff around the house; I messaged a friend in the afternoon who needs some moral support at the moment; I went to the gym, going through the usual struggle that I always seem to have to endure each and every day in order to get myself there; and then read one of my numerous books that I am juggling at the moment: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

And the daily grind hits me with a jolt πŸ˜‚ It’s not a bad thing, that’s just how life is. And this is the bread and butter of my life 😊

A grumpy return to SG

It was my last day in HK – and the sun decided to finally make an appearance today. Seriously, the universe has just been laughing down on me this trip! It has rained pretty much every day since I arrived, and only now has the sun decided to come out. Isn’t that lovely – NOT!

I met up with a friend for lunch, who I first met in my first official full-time job as a grad. We were both grads at the time! Omg, I can’t believe I’ve known her for that long. She’s one of those people that I can see once every few years, and it only feels like I just saw her last week. And since she moved to HK, obviously I don’t see her very often at all. But HK is that much closer to SG, so we’ve caught up a few times since we’ve moved over. It’s been great to rekindle our friendship 😊

After lunch, I went back to the hotel to pack up the last few things in the room, and then headed over to the airport. The airport express is sooo easy here, something HK has done much better than SG (sorry SG! Something to aspire to, I guess?! 😊). I got through check in and immigration really quickly, and then ended up having an hour to kill at the gate 😏 So I wrote most of today’s post at gate 22 at HK Airport πŸ˜‚

I watched The Pretend One on the plane, which was sorta like an Aussie drama version of Drop Dead Fred. It wasn’t too bad, and sorta pretty cool that they did the entire movie with just four main actors, and perhaps just another four on the side. It was really short – about 90 minutes – so it takes no time at all to get through. It was an interesting movie. Different.

By the time I was in the cab on the way home, I was tired and a little grumpy. I was snapping a bit at the taxi driver, and now I feel bad doing so. He was just making chit chat, and unfortunately he got me at a bad time. I think he knew I was tired, he left me in peace the rest of the way home. Sorry Mr Taxi Driver. So as tired as I was, I forced myself to make up for my earlier snappiness by engaging in some more chit chat when I went to pay. Hopefully I made up for some of it…!

And the best part of coming home is getting lots of attention from Kitty. I got so much attention that my grey pants, where she was rubbing her head, are now pretty much white πŸ˜‚

The universe is laughing

I was still really tired when I woke up this morning, but I only really have one full day left in HK, so I pushed myself to get out of the hotel room at a decent time and make the most of the day. I was supposed to meet my friend for lunch today, but she pushed it back to tomorrow, so that meant my day was suddenly freed up – and I had no idea what to do! I’m not good with thinking on my feet πŸ˜‚

I went and had brunch at this cafe on Swatow Street in Wan Chai. This street has quite a few western style cafes, interspersed among an otherwise rather local street. One thing that I cannot (or probably more, refuse to πŸ˜‚) change is my affinity for western style breakfasts. I do have the occasional SG local breakfast, but by and large, if I’m going to eat out for breakfast/brunch, I will tend to choose a western style place over anything else. Even if I’m somewhere in Asia, where such breakfasts are hard to find, are expensive, and won’t necessarily be any good! πŸ˜”

While at brunch, I decided to look for a dance studio for N to train at while he’s in HK for the coming week. I went to visit a few potential places, one of which was in Tin Hau, an area that we walked through yesterday that is near Victoria Park. And since I was in the area again, I decided to walk through Victoria Park for the second time in two days. For a weekday, it was still surprisingly busy!

Somewhere along the way, I realised that I forgot my umbrella at the first studio that I visited! It would’ve been fine if it was my umbrella, but it was the hotel’s, and I didn’t want to be charged for not returning their umbrella! So I had to go all the way back to my starting point πŸ˜” And that’s assuming that no one has nicked it in the few hours that I left it there.

I got out of the subway station nearest the dance studio, and the first thing that I noticed was that it had started to rain! Argh, how ironic to be heading back to pick up my umbrella, only to be caught in the rain while doing so! πŸ˜†

Luckily it was still there, so I picked it up and then headed back to the hotel afterwards. And of course, there was no need for the umbrella at this point, the rain had stopped! 😫 It’s like the universe was just laughing at me today!

I got the chance to go to the gym in the hotel before going out for N’s birthday dinner. Apart from all the walking that I’ve done the past few days, this was the only exercise I have managed to get in during my time in HK. I am hoping to perhaps get one more session in tomorrow before I fly out, but that may not happen, since I still have a few things to do tomorrow. But we’ll see 😊

From Sai Ying Pun to Tai Koo

We spent the day walking around in Hong Kong. We did sooo much walking today. We covered the area from Sai Ying Pun all the way to Tai Koo: Sheung Wan, Mid Levels, Causeway Bay, Tin Hau, and then also through Victoria Park. I used my Runkeeper app to track most, but not all, of our walk.

I should’ve just kept it on for the whole day, rather than turning it on and off each time we stopped. That way, all the walking that we did today would’ve been better captured on the one map, instead of on multiple maps. Oh well. I’ll remember that for next time 😊

Combined with the heat and humidity, and the craziness of this city, I was totally spent by the time we got back to our hotel. I laid down and quickly fell asleep for what must’ve been a bajillion hours, coz it was dark when I finally woke up πŸ˜‚Β We wanted to go wander around some more in the evening, but when I finally woke up, my feet were still throbbing, my leg muscles still sore and I was still feeling really tired. So I quickly ruled out any more walking for the day and we just stayed in for the rest of the evening.

Derailed plans

I stupidly had green tea 🍡 last night, so it took me forever to get to sleep. It was probably around 2am by the time I finally drifted off to sleep, but then I got up at around 7am and couldn’t get back to sleep again! So I read my book for about two hours before I finally felt sleepy enough to get some more shut-eye.

Thankfully I did get a bit more sleep before we had to get up and get ready to meet some friends for lunch, good friends from Oz who have been living in HK for over fifteen years. We were supposed to then just wander around after lunch, but we ended up just hanging out at their place instead. And then all of a sudden, it was evening, and we ended up staying over at their place for dinner as well. So hopefully we didn’t overextend our welcome!

So my plans for the day didn’t quite pan out. But it’s always great to catch up with friends, so it was still time well spent 😊

PMQ and a family reunion

As I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, the skies decided to open up and spew forth a whole heap of rain!! Boohoo!! How am I supposed to enjoy exploring when it’s bucketing down with rain?!?

I decided to brave the weather and wander around anyway. The rain was on and off all day, and when it was on, it was torrential. I would’ve gladly worn my gum boots in that rain! We rarely get that sort of rain in SG. I was walking around the hilly streets, and I was getting concerned that my sneakers would lose their grip as I was walking downhill, it was that wet. And then walking around with an umbrella through some rather narrow laneways takes some polite manoeuvring around people too πŸ˜†

I went to PMQ, one of my favourite shopping places in HK. It’s basically this building where designers can sell their stuff, whether it be clothes, accessories or homewares or anything in between. It’s all unique stuff, so I enjoy wandering around and looking at the sometimes quirky designs. And it’s relatively affordable too, which makes it all the more enjoyable to look around, because it means you can pick up some stuff if anything takes your fancy.

In the building, they have an art exhibition on at the moment on Chinese characters. It’s relatively small, but it’s all contemporary work, which I like, so it was pretty cool spending some time there too. I couldn’t appreciate it as much as I would have liked, simply because of my limited knowledge of Chinese characters, because I think some of the works played around with the meanings of the characters too, and I simply just don’t know enough of the characters to fully appreciate the exhibition. But I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

And then in the evening we caught up with a cousin who’s in HK at the moment too for work! What a coinkidink! So that was a nice little reunion. I haven’t seen her in years, so to suddenly have the opportunity to catch up in a totally different country was just a very pleasant surprise 😊

An emotional flight

I left the house earlier than I had planned, and ended up getting to Changi at around 11:30am. The movie started at 12pm and I still had to find the movie theatre! Rather than waste time looking for it, I headed straight to an information counter and asked them where the entertainment area was. Luckily I did, because I would’ve roamed and roamed and I still wouldn’t have found it, as it was on a completely different level on its own!

I decided to watch The Greatest Showman in Terminal 2, as it has both Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron 😊 The movie theatre wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was expecting the usual cinema, just one a mere fraction in size. But it was just a large dark room with a large tv and about 40-50 single sofa chairs that you could shuffle around as you please. Not that you could move them around much, since there were so many in the small room. And I use “dark” quite loosely too. A lot of people seemed to use the dark room as a place to catch some zzz’s before they take off on their flight. There were four distinct people who I could hear snoring 😴 The alarm of the guy a few seats to my left was going off, but he didn’t seem to hear or feel it, if it was vibrating. I was tempted to wake him, since he probably set his alarm so that he wouldn’t miss his flight, plus his annoying alarm was sorta interrupting my movie πŸ˜‚ But he eventually woke up – ironically at one of the silent moments in the movie, I distinctly remember because it was so ironic! – and immediately rushed off, presumably to catch his plane. Then there were staff and other general people walking through using the room as a thoroughfare; people eating in there when the sign outside specifically said to refrain from doing so, and the volume could’ve been a teeny bit louder, especially when you have to put up with snorers in the room… Lovely ambience! πŸ˜‚ But it’s free, so I can’t really expect much. Nonetheless, I actually enjoyed the movie! I don’t know why, but I didn’t really expect to enjoy it, so maybe the low expectations helped, since they were so easily exceeded? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I also visited the Sunflower Garden right next to the cinema. Quite pretty – and very orderly! πŸŒ»πŸŒ»πŸ‘©πŸ»πŸŒ»πŸŒ»

Sunflower Garden @ T2 Changi Airport

There’s also an arcade area in this little entertainment area in Terminal 2, but I didn’t have any more time to hang out there and play a game or two, as I had to make my way back to Terminal 3 to catch my plane!

One of the games in the entertainment Β area @ T2 Changi Airport

On the plane, I watched a doco on Wendy Whelan, a principal ballerina at the New York City Ballet. It’s so inspiring when I hear about how much work and effort these successful artists / athletes have put into their work. She was at the NYC Ballet for thirty years. WOW. Not to mention how much work she’s put into ballet prior to joining the company. Totally amazing and inspiring.

After the doco, I decided to just listen to some music for the reminder of the flight. Singapore Airlines has the Top Ten official singles charts from 1960-2016, and I decided to go through each year and compile my favourites. Obviously I didn’t have time to listen to each and every song, so I just chose whichever songs I recognised and knew that I liked. I chose 34 and saved them into My Playlist. I wish passengers could have their own login so that wherever I’m going and whichever seat I’m in, I could just log in and My Playlist will just magically be there for me. But that’s not a feature available yet, so I had to manually write the playlist for future reference 😊

My Playlist spanned almost fifty years of music, more than my lifetime. There are songs that immediately take me back to a particular moment in my life, and as I sat there listening to these songs, I was overwhelmed by a strong surge of emotion. It was as if I had this flashback of my life, appreciating everything that I’ve ever lived through. Everything from regret, disappointment, embarrassment, joy, and everything else in between. I just broke down in my seat and cried silently to myself. I can’t even put how I was feeling into words. I don’t know if I was just so happy or so sad, or a mix of both, or something else entirely. It was just a surreal feeling. The saying “the days are long, but the years are short” came to mind during this time, and maybe that’s what broke me: reminiscing about all the different stages of my life in such a short pace of time. How terribly wonderful to look back at it all and relive some moments, and at the same time also remembering that I didn’t appreciate enough of it at the time. I was a mixed bag of emotions on the plane! πŸ˜πŸ˜©πŸ€¨πŸ˜‡πŸ˜³πŸ€―

So then of course I was so in the moment as soon as I got off that plane. I took in Hong Kong like I never have before. I saw it differently: I paid attention to how comfortable my seat was on the train into the city; I noticed its smells; its frenetic energy. It’s like SG on steroids πŸ˜‚ Sydney vs Melbourne, where the latter is just that much more relaxed.

Well that was an emotionally charged flight! 😊 It’s amazing just how powerful music can be.