Distractions

With my parents being in town the last few days, they’ve managed to distract me enough to forget all my anxiety about this move to HK. But now that they’re on their flight to their next destination, the planning has resumed, and the stress of it all has also returned ๐Ÿ˜”

We are working on a leaving date of 18 November. Removalists are coming 15 November, and we have a few days to clean the house before we hand over the keys. We’re staying at the Fullerton Hotel for the last few days. I thought that’d be a nice way to end our stint in SG, staying in an iconic hotel at Raffles Place right by the Singapore River.

I tracked my parents’ flight to Dublin, and then I started packing for my own trip to Manila this weekend. We’re going to a wedding on Saturday! ๐Ÿ˜Š At least that also distracted me from all the moving stuff, and being in Manila for the next few days will hopefully continue to distract me.

I watched a Chinese movie on the plane called How Long Will I Love U. In Chinese, it is called ่ถ…ๆ—ถ็ฉบๅŒๅฑ…, which I would translate as something like “Living Together Across Time and Space” – which is more closely linked to what the movie is about! Why do they give such random English names that is totally unrelated to the Chinese one?? My loose translation probably isn’t very marketable (and may not even be accurate ๐Ÿ˜‚), but surely the guys at the movie company could?! I don’t understand ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ It wasn’t a bad movie, nonetheless ๐Ÿ˜Š

We’re hoping to practise a bit tomorrow, we brought our shoes and everything ๐Ÿ˜† Let’s see if we can find somewhere in the hotel to practise…!

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Two decades and forever

Sooo… We got married today ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m not going to say much on this, except that HK (and Asia in general) doesn’t recognise de facto relationships. Never mind the two DECADES that we’ve been together. Anyhooo… moving on… ๐Ÿ™„

After having brunch with a few friends in celebration, we then had our calligraphy lesson in the afternoon. We wrote:

ไนŽ – hลซ

ๆ‰‹ – shว’u

ไน‹ – zhฤซ

ๆ–‡ – wรฉn

ๅ…ฅ – rรน

Look how simple these characters look, yet they are so damn hard to write! But they have all the basic strokes that you need to learn, so that’s where the beginners start. As with anything, you start with basics. And you keep working on your basics forever. That’s how you get good. Like rumba walks: if you want your Latin to look good, you do rumba walks forever ๐Ÿ˜† I’m really enjoying this class. I’d like to continue with calligraphy after we move to HK, even if it’s just self-directed learning. While I continue working on my Mandarin ๐Ÿ˜†

Speaking of Rumba walks, we went and joined the last half hour of Latin practice tonight. I didn’t even get through that, as I started feeling really dizzy after about 20 minutes. I had just done a few spins, but I don’t think that was the sole contributor, as I spin all the time. I did have a few glasses of alcohol during brunch, and I probably didn’t have enough water, especially considering the alcohol and the heat today. So I felt off for the rest of the evening. I drank a fair bit of (non-alcoholic ๐Ÿ˜‚) liquids after practice, and had a quick dinner near the dance studio to give me time to recover a bit before heading home.

And then we did some more decluttering while watching The Intern on TV. We’re slowly getting through our stuff…! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Go forth and be grateful

I flew back to SG today. The flight itself was one of the smoothest flights I’ve had in a long time. I think the pilot has had to switch on the seatbelt sign at least once on almost every flight I’ve taken this year. But the sign wasn’t switched on at all today, so for once, I actually felt ok when I stepped off the plane!

I watched Book Club on the flight, which turned out to be better than I had expected. I wanted a light-hearted comedy and that’s exactly what I got ๐Ÿ‘ There are has some big names in the movie, in comedic roles that I don’t normally associate them with, so that made it all the more fun to watch ๐Ÿ˜Š

I actually first started watching Inside Out with Japanese dubbing and a Chinese subtitles, just to work on my language skills ๐Ÿ˜ฒ I thought that’d be a good movie to watch in a foreign language, because I’ve seen it so many times and I know the story really well. But that failed miserably ๐Ÿคฃ All I ended up doing was listening very intently to the Japanese, and paid next to no attention to the Chinese subtitles! Maybe I should just stick to learning one language at a time… ๐Ÿ˜† And because watching a movie in a foreign language takes effort, I could only do this for so long before my mental energy was depleted, so that was when I switched over to Book Club where I could just relax and enjoy the movie ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m feeling all pumped and ready to go through all the clutter in our apartment tomorrow ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช Let’s see what I can get through. Even though we have two months to vacate, we’re aiming to have sorted through all our stuff by the end of October, so we don’t feel so rushed in the last few weeks that we have left in the country. Today is T-58… ๐Ÿ˜ณ Not long to go. One way to truly put you in the moment and to appreciate what you have right now is when you know it’s going to be taken away from you very shortly. Appreciate what you have right now, because you never know when it will be taken away from you. That’s my lesson for today, peeps. Now go forth and be grateful ๐Ÿ˜Š

The conversion begins…

I continued to run around like a headless chicken again this morning, making sure I ticked off everything on my imaginary checklist before I flew out this afternoon. I took Kitty to the vet again this morning, and as soon as we got back home, I suddenly remembered that I forgot to ask for a new batch of anti-vomit medicine for her ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Since we were going to be away for one whole week, I couldn’t do without it, since I can’t have her vomiting while we’re away ๐Ÿคฎ So I had no choice but to go back, adding to my stress of making sure I get everything done this morning.

But somehow I managed to do everything I wanted to get done. I don’t know why I stress out about it. It would be so much better for me if I just calmly worked my way through my imaginary checklist ๐Ÿ˜Š

I flew Cathay Pacific today. The switch from everything SG to HK begins… ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Cathay Pacific flies in and out of Terminal 4 at Changi Airport, so it was my first time in the brand new terminal. And because it was new, everything was clean and purteee ๐Ÿ˜Š It was very quiet when I was there, very few planes must’ve been flying at the time, so I got to soak in the surrounds in peace. Although Changi generally is very peaceful and calm anyway, despite the thousands of people transiting through the airport each and every day. Ah Changi. I’m going to miss you as my home base airport ๐Ÿ˜”

Everything in the terminal is electronic, I barely had to talk to any airport personnel. Even boarding was electronic! It was all so high-tech. The conveyor belt in the customs area was pretty funky too. After each tray was scanned, it would stop at a fork in the “conveyor belt” road and the person scanning would determine which road a particular tray will take: the “ok” road, where you can just go and take your luggage and off you go; or the “needs manual intervention” road, where a customs officer will need to go through whatever suspicious things there are in your luggage. It is so cool! Although probably not so cool if your luggage gets stuck in the “manual intervention” queue ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I got a brand new plane โœˆ๏ธ So exciting! Singapore Airlines always uses old planes to fly the SG-HK route – well, I always seem to get the old planes! So being on a brand spanking new plane was awesome ๐Ÿ˜Š The food was really good too, I was very pleasantly surprised.

I watched a Japanese anime on board: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (ๆ™‚ใ‚’ใ‹ใ‘ใ‚‹ๅฐ‘ๅฅณ). I like time travel shows, so as soon as I read the storyline of this movie, I just had to watch it. They had both Chinese and English subtitles, which was PERFECT for me, so I could listen in Japanese, and read in both Chinese and English. The dialogue was very conversational too, so it’s the perfect type of movie to watch for language learning. Problem is, it’s hard to find a movie where the subtitles are in two languages like that. And is it even possible?? It was a good learning opportunity anyhow. I wish I could do that more often.

And then when I finally made it to the serviced apartment, I started looking online for apartments that I wanted to have a look at over the next few days while I’m here. Even if we don’t like any of them, at least we can get in touch with a few property agents and hopefully start getting to see some other places that they may have on their books, which they may not have listed online yet. Fingers crossed we can find something half decent and at an ok price…! ๐Ÿคž I’ve emailed a few agents, so let’s see if any of them come back to me tomorrow…

Lull periods

I got up at ridiculous o’clock this morning, so I could make my way over to Causeway Bay to do a fitting for my new Ballroom dress, before I flew back to SG. It looks exactly like his sketch that he sent through a few weeks ago – and it fits perfectly! He doesn’t have to make any changes whatsoever ๐Ÿ‘ I can’t wait to wear it to our next comp! It will probably be the SG Open, the biggest comp of the year in SG. How exciting! ๐Ÿ˜Š Hopefully I’ll do the dress proud – never mind our teachers ๐Ÿ˜‚

I made my way to the airport straight from there. The trip was much quicker than I had expected: Causeway Bay station was very empty, and the Airport Express was also much emptier than usual. It felt like I got the lull period, just after peak hour, but before the mid morning crowd. What perfect timing! I couldn’t have asked for anything more ๐Ÿ‘

So I had ample time at the airport to eat breakfast. And I chose maccas ๐Ÿ˜‚ Every time I’m back in Oz, I always order my Bacon & Egg McMuffin, as it is not on the menu in SG. There is turkey bacon here, which is so not the same ๐Ÿ˜‚ And I don’t know if that is even still on the menu, it’s been so long since I last had breakfast at maccas here. So I was craving it in HK today.

I queue up and as I was looking at the menu while I was in line, I soon discover that HK also doesn’t have my favourite McMuffin. Grrr! They just have the usual Sausage and Egg McMuffin, and also just an Egg McMuffin. But no bacon in sight ๐Ÿ˜ฉ I guess I’ll just have to wait until I’m back in Oz to satisfy this craving ๐Ÿ˜”

I had the entire row of three to myself on the plane – sooo goood! Not that I used either of the two empty seats, it was just nice to know that I could have if I wanted to ๐Ÿ˜† I watched Hitch during the flight, which I’ve seen a few times before, but I just didn’t feel like watching anything new on this flight. I just wanted something light that didn’t require my full concentration, so no foreign language films that required my reading subtitles or anything mega serious. So this seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

When I got to Changi, the place was virtually empty, with next to no one at immigration, and definitely no one at the conveyor belts waiting for their luggage. It was a little eerie! Where were all the passengers on my flight?? And surely there were other flights that have also just recently landed?! And the taxi rank had a mere two people ahead of me. I seem to be getting all the lull periods today. Maybe I should take this flight more often! ๐Ÿ˜Š

And when I got home, I got a huge welcome from Kitty, bounding up to greet me at the door (well, as fast as her pensioner legs go these days) and staying pretty much by my side the entire evening. Why can’t she be sooky more often?? ๐Ÿ˜†

The smallest of things makes me happy

You know how I said that I had a few other things that I didn’t get to do last night? Well I got to them this morning. All of them. I didn’t expect to get through my whole list, but I did. I was so happy ๐Ÿ˜Š Ah how the most trivial of things make me happy ๐Ÿ˜Š

But it did mean that I didn’t get to have breakfast at home, and I had to go without coffee all morning. The lack of food just helped my cause, though, expanding my current 12-hour fasting window target ๐Ÿ˜Š The first time I ate today was on the plane – at 2:45pm. That was a 16-hour fasting window! I was starving! I was so hungry that I actually finished everything on my tray. Highly unusual for me!

I was allocated an exit row seat between two other people travelling on their own. Last time I flew, I was also allocated a seat in between two solo travellers. Does Singapore Airlines want us to all make friends with each other or something?? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Anyway, apart from the never ending leg room (I couldn’t even kick the flight attendant sitting in front of me, even if I wanted to ๐Ÿ˜‚), I don’t see any benefits to this seat:

  • Firstly, you have to keep your monitor stowed away during takeoff and landing, cutting out about half an hour from your flight time to watch movies;
  • Secondly, you don’t have a seat in front of you, meaning you don’t have a seat pocket or space in front of you to store your items. Everything has to be put up in the overhead compartments. There are magazine pockets on the side for two seats, but the third seat gets diddly squat. But they’re not very “stretchy”, so you can’t really store anything but flat items in them. I don’t even know if you can store a laptop in them, since there’s already a whole heap of paraphernalia in them;
  • Also, people who are queueing for the bathroom or who just want to stretch their legs tend to cluster around in the area, simply because it is such a large space, which can be a bit distracting;
  • And lastly, a flight attendant (or two!) is sitting in front of you, and has the unlucky spot to be in clear view of your ugly mug for the half hour of takeoff and landing ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • So the exit row is never my first option, and I certainly won’t pay a premium for the extra leg room that I don’t need anyway! OK, I’ve come up with one extra positive: it’s easy to get in and out of your seat, without having to bother your seat neighbours. Now that’s a pretty good perk. Particularly for longer-haul flights. But when I’m only travelling around Asia, where the average flight is, say, 3 hours, these two positives don’t really carry as much of a punch.
  • I watched a Japanese movie on the plane called 50 First Kisses. It’s based on the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie 50 First Dates. I haven’t seen the American movie in a while, but from what I remember of it, I think it was more comedy than drama. Well it does have Adam Sandler in it?! ๐Ÿ˜† The Japanese version felt like it leaned more on the drama side. But it was still good. The male lead reminded me of a Japanese Scott Baio ๐Ÿ˜‚ Do you agree??

    Takayuki Yamada

    Scott Baio

    I managed to survive the flight without really feeling the turbulence, even though there was actually quite a fair bit throughout. Not wine-on-the-ceiling crazy turbulence, just minimal turbulence, but consistent throughout most of the 4-hour flight. I was pleasantly surprised. Flights normally take their toll on me and I have to recover in the hotel as soon as I land on the other side. This must be how the vast majority of people feel when they travel. Totes jeals! I did feel the turbulence during landing, though. It was/is raining in HK, and that affected the smoothness of the landing.

    Last time I was in HK, I applied for the e-channel service at HK airport, which allows you to use the machines at the arrival and departure halls and bypass the queues at immigration. The HK and Aussie governments must have some agreement, coz the only requirements for Aussies in order to be eligible to apply to use the e-channel service is that:

    1. They have a valid Australian passport with at least six months’ validity left on their passport;
    2. They’re over 16 years of age; and
    3. They don’t have any adverse records in HK.

    Given how frequently we’ve been travelling to HK recently, we thought we should apply for this service. The walk to the immigration office in HK was the worst bit of the whole application process. When I went, I asked a staff member where I can get a ticket to join the queue, as there were a bajillion people already there in the waiting area. I was expecting to be there for a good hour or two, waiting for all these people to be served ahead of me. She asked what I was there for and I told her, and that was when she proceeded to process my request then and there. Five minutes later, voila! I was eligible to use the e-channels ๐Ÿ˜Š No idea what the bajillion other people in the waiting area were there for, but clearly not to apply for the e-channel service!

    So arriving this time in HK, I bypassed the “Visitors” queue and went straight to the “HK Residents” area, and got a machine straight away. No queue! Also, since I am only travelling with carry on, I had no luggage to wait for and so I was out of the airport in less than ten minutes and straight onto the train to HK Island. Woohoooo! Love it ๐Ÿ‘

    We’re staying in a serviced apartment this trip. The apartment is huge! Probably the same size as our 2-bedroom apartment in SG, but it has only one bedroom, so there is more space in each of the rooms. Except the kitchen. They’re both tiny as! ๐Ÿ˜† It’s nice to have more space. It feels just that little bit more comfortable, and more like a home away from home.

    Pay-offs not quite as expected

    I got up at 7am ๐Ÿ˜ฒ to accompany N to the airport, he flew to HK this morning. He was flying out of Terminal 4, the new terminal, which I haven’t yet been to. So I thought this was as good a day as any to go and visit ๐Ÿ˜Š

    It was actually rather disappointing! The public area is much smaller compared to the public areas at the other terminals; it seems they saved the good stuff for those actually flying. So my waking up at 7am didn’t actually pay off in the way that I expected ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I then went to Changi City Point, a discount shopping outlet very close to the airport. Most places open 10am or 11am in SG, and I got there at 9am, so when I was nearing the mall, I got this sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be open yet.

    And it wasn’t ๐Ÿ˜† Only a few places were open, most of which were food places, so I went and grabbed a quick breakfast and then just walked around, waiting for the mall to wake up ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m glad I did because the mall itself is actually quite pretty! There is a lot of greenery both inside and out, and there is also a lot of running water. I suppose they consulted feng shui experts when they designed the building, as typical feng shui features can be seen throughout.

    Once the shops finally opened, I decided to take a walk around and see if I can get any good deals. Surprisingly, I found a new pair of sneakers! My current ones are dying – well they are almost ten years old ๐Ÿ˜‚ (I told you I’m an underbuyer!) – and I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement pair for a few months now. Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š

    And then in the evening, I decided to watch Frozen. I’m not a fan of animated films in general, but I thought I’d give this one a chance. And I’m glad I did: I actually ended up enjoying it more than I expected to! It’s been good catching up on all these movies, I should try and do this more often ๐Ÿ˜Š