My first T8!

The typhoon T3 warning from last night was kept in place this morning, and then the HK Observatory issued a notice saying that they’ll be upgrading this warning to T8 at or before 2pm today. T8 is when things start to shut down: schools and shops close; buses and taxis stop running; and offices send their workers home. So they try and warn the public as early as possible before they actually issue T8, to give people plenty of time to start making their way home. They also ramp up the frequency of the trains to get people home more quickly. These guys are totally all over this typhoon business! 👍

I, on the other hand, am completely not prepared for this! I was freaking out all morning, and once T8 was finally issued, the stress was just cemented! 😩 N, on the other hand, was perfectly calm and relaxed. The only good thing about a T8 is that he gets to go home! 😆

As the afternoon wore on, the rain and wind kept pushing on as well, and the HK Observatory kept issuing alert after alert, including flash flooding and landslides in certain areas.

And now, well into the evening, the rain is still going strong, and T8 is still in force, but they may downgrade that to T3 at around midnight. And the buses have just announced that they will resume overnight services. So hopefully once we wake up tomorrow, things will be back to normal once again 🤞

This is my first T8 while living in HK, and so far, it was largely uneventful, fortunately. I hope over time, I will start to view these T8 alerts as a nice break, and instead of stressing out like I did today, I will be prepared for them with a nice bottle of wine 🍷 and perhaps some cheese 🧀 enjoying myself at home while we wait for nature to do its thing outside 😆

My polyglot dream

They say that you should read as much as you can in your target language, and I realised today that I wasn’t reading enough Chinese material. So I went to the library and decided to borrow a Chinese book in the children’s section again. It’s a simpler version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess (eg it only has ten chapters vs the original book which has 19), but I still think it’s going to be a hard slog. It’s still not quite a relaxing read for me, I’m still effectively studying it. But I want to push myself and try reading something that’s aimed more at older kids, rather than the books I usually read, which are written for five year olds 😂

For a Chinese language learner, the library is a treasure trove full of good reading material, as these books are written for native speakers of the language, even if they are five or seven or ten years old 😜 They haven’t been dumbed down for adult learners, like most of my learning materials. This is Chinese written for native speakers, so they’re not going to limit their choice of words to suit the language learner. Which of course makes it that much harder, as you’re constantly looking up words that you don’t know. But hopefully in the long run, all the hard work will pay off 🤞

And then in the evening, we went out for dinner with a few of N’s workmates – another farewell dinner for the same workmate who we had the farewell brunch for last Sunday 😆 She’s had a bajillion farewell dinners! She probably started her farewell drinks and dinners three weeks ago 😂 But she loves her food, so she’s going to as many places as she can before she heads back to Sydney in a few days 👍

They had a colleague from their Tokyo office join us, and when I found out she was Japanese, I immediately asked her “Are you Japanese?” in Japanese. She was quite surprised that I could say that, and was really impressed with my Japanese accent! OMG how cool is that?!? It totally made me even more keen to continue with my Japanese. I also realised today as I was speaking to her that my Chinese has indeed well and truly surpassed my Japanese level. I can express myself better in Chinese now, and the Chinese words come to mind much faster now too 😲 Although I have been much more focussed on my Chinese lately, so I guess this is to be expected. If I spent more time with Japanese, I could probably get it back up to pretty much the same level 😆

And given that these two languages are apparently two of the hardest languages to learn for a native English speaker (along with Korean and Arabic), I think I underestimate just how much I actually know of these two languages, and the fact that I can have simple conversations in both. It may take a ton of effort to do so, and I will have a bajillion mistakes, but I’m communicating, and that’s effectively the point of language, right?! So with more practice, I think I could actually achieve my goal of conversational fluency in both languages 😊 Today has given me more fuel to continue pushing on with this polyglot dream of mine 🤓

Noise and music

It was very noisy in the apartment today: the guys downstairs are renovating, so I could hear drilling and hammering for most of the day; the guys next door moved out yesterday, but it seemed like they came back today to clean up whatever crap they still had in their apartment; and then fire alarm testing for the entire building was happening pretty much all day today as well 😒 But surprisingly, I still had a very productive day! I must have an aversion to silence 😆

And we headed down to the gym again tonight, for the third day in a row. I’m proud of that effort 👏 I brought my earphones with me today, after suffering without them yesterday. I didn’t do any dance practice yesterday as a result, since I like to dance to – surprise surprise – music! 🎶 So I allocated a bit more time to dancing today to make up for the lack of music yesterday.

So it ended up being a more productive Monday than I expected it to be! 👍

Happy and sad times in HK

We had brunch at TST with one of N’s workmates. She was seconded to HK for a few months, and this weekend is her last weekend in HK before she heads back to Sydney. Apparently she’s been making the most of her time here the past few weeks, eating as much as she can 😆 As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I reckon HK is foodie heaven, and she loves her food. So the last few weekends, we’ve been accompanying her to various places that she wants to try before she heads back home. Aren’t we such nice friends 😜

And more protests occurred on HK Island today 😔 They have been going on quite regularly for about eight weeks now, but I’m not sure how much of it is being reported outside of HK and SG (I still follow SG news, and with HK being a fellow financial hub in Asia, I guess SG closely monitors what goes on in this city, perhaps more so than would other countries). And no signs of improvement seem to be on the horizon, sighhh… I’m guessing they will continue while the students are on their summer break, so we still have a few more weeks to go, at least 😔 It’s all quite a sad state of affairs, and I’m still wondering how it will all end…

I was barely even trying

In complete contrast to yesterday, I had the most productive day today! I was focussing on stuff in and for the house, so I got a ton of chores done, including setting up my Bullet Journal for August 👍 And then outside of the house: we brought some big items down to the laundromat; and we also picked up and dropped off some dry cleaning. And then we also went to two different supermarkets, as each supermarket stocks different items. A bit of a hassle, I know, but that’s just the way it is here, I guess because space is such a prized commodity, and each supermarket can only stock a limited number of items on their shelves 🤷‍♀️

We also got to the gym, and afterwards watched The Secret Life of Pets, the original one, as we hadn’t seen it yet. I’ve been wanting to watch it so I can then watch #2 😊

And I also managed to squeeze in a few more episodes of Goblin, my current Korean drama. I’m now up to the final episode! I just want to finish it so I can move on to the next one. I have so many on my list of dramas to watch, I can’t keep up! They make so many! 😆

I can’t believe we managed to squeeze all of the above into one day, I’m quite proud of our effort – and even more so, since I was barely even trying! 😲

An off day

I had the worst sleep last night. Firstly, I went to bed sometime after 1am, and got randomly woken up at around 3:45am. I think it might have been related to my scary-ass dream about two older women I’d seen recently, who I recognised in my dream as grim reapers 💀 Isn’t that just lovely 😒 Luckily, I quickly went back to sleep, only to be woken up at 5:15am when N’s alarm went off. Brother and Sister-in-law wanted to leave the house at 5:30am this morning so that they could give themselves plenty of time at the airport. I don’t know how it all went this morning, though, as I went straight back to sleep as soon as they left!

And then for the next few hours, I was regularly woken up by Kitty scratching whichever door took her fancy 😒 Luckily the grim reapers didn’t return, but they left me rattled enough this morning 😔

I never felt right for the rest of the day, feeling pretty much out of sorts all day. I took a few naps, which got me closer to normality by the evening, so I tidied up the place a bit. But then I had a bit too much wine with dinner, which left me feeling a bit off again 😔

So not the best of days, but at least they landed safely in Sydney!

Not quite what we had planned

We didn’t end up doing much today, as our schedule was pretty much very dependent on Nephew’s schedule. We did go on the HK Observation Wheel, which was pretty cool. It was air conditioned inside the cabins, so that was a welcome relief from the heat. We shared the cabin with two other random people, and once we sat down, the two exclaimed in Chinese how cute Nephew was. That made me feel better that at least they weren’t going to mind having to share a cabin with a toddler for the next 10 odd minutes! 😊

We then caught the Star Ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui. We didn’t even get through one statue in the Toy Story 4 display just outside Harbour City before Nephew just lost it. Being in a totally different time zone in very unfamiliar surrounds, in a very hot and humid city, it’s probably a fair enough reaction. So he eventually fell asleep in his dad’s arms as we were walking through Harbour City, and we just went and had a late yum cha lunch while he slept through most of it.

Everyone was tired after lunch, so we just went back home afterwards so they could get ready for their flight tomorrow morning. We were hoping to go to the ICC Observation Deck, but apparently it was closed for a private event today. Of all days to be closed, it had to be the one day we wanted to go 😒 And we also wanted to go to the Kowloon Walled City Park, but we just didn’t have the energy to do so. Maybe on their return leg 😊

But at least we got some relatively decent weather during the last two days, even if they have been very hot and everyone was melting! 🥵

They want to leave the house at 5:30am tomorrow to give themselves plenty of time at the airport, but none of us are morning people… hmmm… 🤔 Good luck with that! 😆

Learning from my nephew

My brother, sister-in-law and nephew arrived today. They survived the long-haul flight from Dublin and managed to stay up late HK time, so hopefully they’ll get used to the time difference soon enough.

Nephew seemed to be dealing with the heat better than I expected him to, so that’s also quite promising. He’s also warmed to N and me, which is good, so maybe he’ll be willing to spend some more time with us – and give his parents a bit of a break from his two-year-old shenanigans (read: tantrums) 😆

I did learn something from him, though: he repeats new words over and over and over and over and over again. Apparently “escalator” is a relatively new word for him, and so every time he set foot on an escalator, he kept saying the word. We caught the mid-level escalators for some of the way, and every time we got on a new escalator, he would repeat the word. And while we were on the escalator, he would repeat the word a few times again. So for the five minutes that we were on the mid-level escalators, he probably said it over twenty times. Twenty times! No wonder words stick! So maybe I need to do the same for all the new Chinese words that I learnt today, one of which was the word for “embassy”. “I went to the embassy”; “I’m going to the embassy today; “do you know where the Australian embassy is?” etc. Yes, I think I need to do this exercise more often. If kids are doing this naturally, then surely it must work 😊

First time and last time

I didn’t go pick up my package from the post office yesterday, so I planned to head over today. I decided to stop by the HK Tourism Visitor Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui first to pick up some brochures for my brother and sister-in-law, who are coming to visit HK tomorrow! Visitor centres always have cool suggestions for tourists, and sometimes even for residents like me. I was a regular at the SG equivalent on Orchard Road 😆 It’ll be the first time they’ll be in HK, so I’m very excited for them 😊 I hope they don’t melt in the heat… 🥵

I then stopped by Nespresso at IFC, and then made my way home – completely forgetting the post office! I can’t believe I forgot to stop by! So now I have to go tomorrow. I’m so annoyed with myself! I had planned out my day perfectly, and then to leave out the most crucial thing… Arghhh! 😤

I heard that this season will be the last for the three Masterchef Australia judges 😔 I guess this will probably be the last for me then, too, as it just won’t be the same with three different judges going forward. The end of an era regardless. They showed the grand finale in Oz tonight, but I’ve only watched the first half, so I’m staying away from social media until I finish off the season. Shannon Bennett returned for the final episode, which I was happy about. I missed him this season, he was great to have in the Masterchef kitchen, and his absence was noticeable. So I guess I just have the second half of the grand finale and I’ll be the end of this Masterchef Australia era 😞

A package and an item? 😉

I had a package delivered on Saturday, but they came during the two hours that I wasn’t home. I atill can’t believe the timing 😒 Anyway, I had my evening all planned out today: I was going to head out and go and buy some Nespresso capsules, as I am currently running really low; head to the post office to pick up my package; and then go to the gym. But then I realised that I forgot to take into account the fact that the post office is only open during regular business hours 😔 Grrr! So all I did was go to the gym. At least I ticked off one thing on my to-do list today! 😆 So I’ll organise myself a bit better tomorrow and head over to the post office a little earlier in the day 😊

And I’m now officially caught up with Masterchef Australia. I’ve even watched the episode that was aired tonight 👍 There is just the grand finale tomorrow night left, and then my life can return to normal 😆 I still reckon there is something going on between Larissa and Derek… (I can Google now because I’m all caught up with the show!) They probably just can’t say anything because Larissa is still in the competition. Give it a week or two and the media will be all over it, if they don’t announce it themselves on social media 😆 This is the sort of thing I watch the show for, not the actual cooking! 😂