No routine yet

My friend visiting from Sydney texted me saying that her and another friend were walking up The Peak today, and they were meeting up at 10am. I’ve been wanting to walk up too, but the only problem was, I got up at about 11am today ๐Ÿ˜‚ So I missed out today ๐Ÿ˜” I’ll have to do the walk up another time. Apparently the walk is relatively easy, and takes about half an hour from Conduit Road, the highest point that the mid-level escalators take you. Easy or not, I’d still like to do the walk during the colder season – ie now. I reckon the temperature at the moment is a really nice time to do hikes in this city, so I’d like to do a few over the next few months, especially while we are not quite in a regular daily routine yet, before dancing, karate and Chinese classes eventually become a significant part of our daily lives once again.

Instead, we went and had yum cha with N’s brother at Dim Sum Square in Sheung Wan. This place is really popular: even though we got there at around 3pm, well after what could be considered lunchtime, we still had to queue for about 15min before we got a table. But it was worth the wait, the food was awesome! ๐Ÿ‘ And cheap as: we paid HK$224 (S$40) for the three of us! That’s pretty damn good. It’s cash only, but you’re paying so little that this isn’t too much of an issue. At those prices, I could go for lunch every day! ๐Ÿ˜‚

We then wandered around Central and Sheung Wan before heading back home and watching a few more episodes of Legion. The lead actor in Legion was also in Downton Abbey!! We totally did not recognise him. He looks completely different in the photos on IMDb from the two shows. He’s a good actor. I really enjoyed watching him on Downton, and now he’s playing this complex character on Legion really well too. I’m only four episodes in, but it’s a good series so far, very bizarre and unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time. Looking forward to finishing season one, which only has eight episodes. So I’m halfway through already ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Weird sh*t coming out of my mouth

In complete contrast to yesterday, today I was full of energy. No idea how that happened! I was like the Energizer Bunny today, constantly on the go go go! I wish I was pumped with energy like this every day. Must be how kids feel all the time without needing caffeine ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ah caffeine. I think that’s what gave me all my energy! I remember now: I had a large cup of tea from Heeretea, this bubble tea shop here in HK. I wonder how many non-Chinese speaking people actually walk in there, because the guy who served me today looked nervous as hell having to converse with me in English ๐Ÿ˜‚ Welcome to my world, dude! You’re probably feeling what I’m feeling whenever I have to pull out my limited Mandarin! ๐Ÿคฃ I ordered in English, and he had to look over at the menu to check that he had entered my order correctly. I probably could’ve said my order in Chinese because I could actually read it for once, but instead “this one” in Mandarin came out of my mouth ๐Ÿ˜† It’s so hilarious how the weirdest stuff comes out of my mouth when it comes to Chinese. I don’t have the same problem with Japanese. That language comes much more easily to me in comparison! But I’ve known the basics of that language for a lot longer than Chinese, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

We got our shower curtain shortened at an alteration place, and I picked it up today. The woman gave me a nice plastic bag, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m used to carrying my own shopping bag now, so I didn’t need theirs. Plus I figured they would re-use it much more than I would, so it made more sense for them to keep it. So I returned it to them. But what came out of my mouth as I gave the bag back to her wasn’t quite as eloquent as that, of course: I said “not ours”. That’s it! OMG. I didn’t even construct a full sentence ๐Ÿ˜† Although complete sentences aren’t entirely necessary in Chinese conversation, so what I did say was probably ok. In any case, she did give me this bewildered look, which I didn’t quite understand. Was it because she was surprised I could speak Mandarin, even if it was broken? Or was it because I sounded so weird that she was taken aback, not having heard anyone with that weirdo accent before? Or maybe because native Chinese speakers would never actually say what I said? Was it because I greeted her with “hello” in English and then suddenly reverted to Mandarin? Was it because she herself doesn’t understand Mandarin?? Perhaps a combination of all of these things?? ๐Ÿ˜† Nonetheless, they did a nice job with the shower curtain, and it now fits perfectly in our bathroom ๐Ÿ˜Š

And then I spent the evening looking at Instagram and Pinterest photos for interior design and storage ideas. They’re good sources for ideas and inspiration, since I am pretty hopeless with that sort of stuff. While I was on social media, N half watched Legion (this looks interesting!) and half slept, as he’s still quite sick ๐Ÿค’ Bizarro world, as normally I’m the one who’s sick and he’s the one running around with all the endless energy! But Legion sounds interesting, I may have to catch up on the first few episodes that he saw tonight!

More HK experiences

Today was supposed to be all about culling and continuing to get the house in order. But we were both so tired this morning that we ended up taking a nap after breakfast ๐Ÿ˜† Probably receiving a lack of nutrients due to our upset stomachs these past few days hasn’t helped ๐Ÿ˜”

N woke up to a message from one of his karate teachers in HK, asking if we wanted to go somewhere with him for a late lunch. He actually lives nearby, so he popped in to our apartment first to check it out, and then we went to a Chinese restaurant in Sheung Wan called Star of Canton (ๅˆฉๅฏถ้–ฃ) for some pretty decent yum cha. It was around 2:30pm when we got there, so the crowds had already died down by that time and we easily got a table. Apparently it’s pretty insane between 12-2pm, so it’s better if you go during off-peak time, like we did. The only downside though is that their signature dishes might already be sold out by then, so you have to be prepared for that possibility if you go later in the day. Or maybe another alternative is going before the lunchtime rush and rock up for brunch instead ๐Ÿ˜Š

My stomach didn’t agree with yum cha, though, and about half an hour later, I needed to go to the bathroom to get it out of my system ๐Ÿ˜” I must’ve caught a bug at some point a few days ago because my stomach is still not quite right… I need to drink more fluids and try to flush out this damn beast from my system ๐Ÿ’ฆ So I just stuck to my bland dinner of potatoes and tea again for a second day running. Boh-ring ๐Ÿ˜

I finally got to play around with our new tv today. There are a ton of tv dramas available, and they are categorised into a number of categories, these were the ones that were of most interest to me:

  • Western
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • Japanese

OMG, there are so many Asian dramas that they have to be categorised by country! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ The only problem for me, though, is that the subtitles are all in Chinese! But dramas are such a good way to learn a foreign language, as they use everyday language, with people just generally talking to each other about life, so it’s not like you need a whole ton of “specialist” words to understand them. So if I just watch a little every day, then hopefully my reading and listening will both improve. And then I could even start working on my Japanese too! But listening to Japanese and reading Chinese subtitles is too hard, so I think I’ll only be able to do this when I get to a good enough reading level with my Chinese. Which is aaages away! So I’ll just have to work on my Chinese first ๐Ÿ˜Š In any case, it’s probably a good thing that there are no English subtitles. Otherwise I may just waste hours upon hours watching these very addictive dramas! ๐Ÿ˜‚

I swapped over my winter and summer clothes today – ie basically my entire SG wardrobe has now gone into storage ๐Ÿ˜” Boohoo… I miss my endless summers! I haven’t needed to swap seasonal clothes like this since living in Sydney! Melbourne was almost always winter gear, and SG was always summer gear ๐Ÿ˜† It seems HK weather is closer to Sydney weather, so I’m going to need to build up my winter wardrobe again. And in particular, shoes! I just don’t have many good shoes for cold weather anymore. So in the meantime, I’ve just been surviving on my cold weather gear for when we go on holidays to somewhere cold, which consists of very little items! So shopping for winter gear may be the next pressing item on my to do list…

Unsettled, and settled

N and I have had pretty unsettled stomachs these past few days, and as per usual, N’s is much worse than mine. It kept him up last night, never letting really get a proper night’s sleep. It was better today, but we tried to eat more bland foods anyway, rather than testing the limits of what our stomachs can handle.

We went grocery shopping and bought potatoes, bread, saltines, tea and apple juice. What a lovely diet for the weekend ๐Ÿ˜†

While we were at the supermarket, I remembered a few more things that I’ve noticed recently about grocery shopping in HK:

  • The supermarkets near us do not have self-service registers, so queues can be out the door at peak times. I would have expected the city to be much more efficient and streamlined;
  • They don’t hand out plastic bags automatically, which is a good initiative. And if you do need a bag, they charge you HK$0.50 (S$0.09) for it. It’s not much, but it’s enough of a deterrent for me (and hopefully others) to remember to bring my own bag;
  • They sell ready-to-eat sushi and sashimi in one of the main supermarkets here! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ These were only available at Meidiya in SG, so to have them readily available here is pretty damn good ๐Ÿ‘
  • There are tons of cute things everywhere, like Gudetama on bandaids!
  • And speaking of kawaii things, there are a lot more Japanese products available here compared to SG, I guess because it is closer to Japan. I wonder if there’s a larger Japanese expat population here too, and hence, more opportunity for me to resume picking up my Japanese…? ๐Ÿ˜Š

We finally got our internet connected at home, woohoo! And internet also means tv! It’s all starting to come together, it’s very exciting ๐Ÿ˜„ Every little piece helps to bring the place together, making it feel more and more like home.

We applied for a HK library card today. It’s free, which is what I expected, unlike the ~S$50 fee that I paid in SG. But having said that, the ebook collection in HK is atrocious. Well, at least the English collection is, I can’t comment on the chinese collection, obviously. And that’s pretty much all I borrow! ๐Ÿ˜” So despite having paid S$50 in SG, I got to read so many more ebooks and audiobooks there than I think I’ll be able to here, simply because they’re just not available. So I’m feeling rather disappointed with that. I’m hoping that I’m just not searching properly, or accessing the wrong database or something, I’ll have a better look in the next few days… ๐Ÿคž

Running errands in HK

I had this perception that because HK used to be with the British, that everyone speaks immaculate English. This is NOT the case ๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s perfectly fine when you’re wandering around as a tourist, going to tourist hotspots and staying in hotels, but actually living here is a different story. So this morning alone, I’ve had to use my very limited Mandarin probably more than I have used it the entire time we were in SG! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ I’m getting good practice in, though, which is good! But it makes it just that much harder to get things done, when you have the vocab of a five year old and the listening skills of a baby ๐Ÿคฃ Yes, my listening skills are basically non existent! I can convey what I want in the most basic way, but I have no idea what they’re saying back to me. Shockingly poor listening skills ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ Nonetheless, I think my Mandarin will improve while we’re here. Even though Cantonese is the city’s main dialect, I think locals know more Mandarin than I do anyway! ๐Ÿ˜†

I managed to get the keys changed in the apartment. Apparently it’s common for tenants to just change all the keys to the apartment, as who knows how many copies of the old keys people have made. The locksmith was great, though, very professional and knowledgeable. I’d highly recommend him if anyone is looking for a locksmith in HK! He speaks good English – better than my Mandarin, that’s for sure – and he knows his stuff ๐Ÿ‘ He knew that the bedroom doors were of the dodgy variety, and warned me to make sure that the doors don’t slam on windy days, because the slamming action may stuff up the lock. He opened the new locks in front of me as well, to confirm that they were brand new locks. Security downstairs seemed to know him, so he must change locks in the building all the time. Or let people back in to their apartments when they lock themselves out! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The doors in the building are designed in a way that you can lock yourself out really easily, so I’ve suggested to N that he keep a spare set in the office for this very reason.

I also bought a new litter tray for Kitty, for when she arrives tomorrow night. Operation Sydney is still in place…! ๐Ÿ˜† Her litter tray is huge, relative to her size, and the pet supply store that I bought it from didn’t have a bag big enough to carry it, so now I have to find a way to bring it up with me… I’m thinking a massive IKEA bag…

She arrives tomorrow, so fingers crossed there are no issues bringing her up to the apartment…! ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž I still hope I’m just worrying for absolutely no reason whatsoever!

Since you are here already…

I came across this tweet today, which is exactly what my theme is for 2018: consistency. Love it. I think I did a good job with it this year, actually – well, up until the news of our upcoming move to HK, that is! After the move was confirmed, anything regular and consistent fell apart ๐Ÿ˜‚ But that’s ok, that’s part of life, and I just have to roll with the punches ๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› I’m sure we’ll have a new “regular” set up in our new country before we even know it ๐Ÿ˜Š

I think I already know what my theme will be for 2019, but I want to think about it some more over the next few months before I finally settle on it ๐Ÿ˜Š It’ll set my focus for the year, so I want to give myself some time to think it over. I don’t want to decide on it hastily and then regret my decision just one week later. But I will have a theme. I loved it this year, it really kept me focussed and got me working on my goals. So I want the same for next year. Bring on 2019 already! ๐Ÿ˜†

We had lunch with some friends today, before the mum goes to hospital on Monday to have their baby. They have scheduled in a c-section, and I will go and pay them a visit Tuesday morning. Perfect timing, before my first flight to Hong Kong in November. At least I get to say hi to mum and baby before we leave for HK.

And then we had our last calligraphy lesson in the afternoon. We got to write an idiom today, rather than just practising random characters, so that was pretty cool.

ๆ—ขไพ†ไน‹ๅ‰‡ๅฎ‰ไน‹ (jรฌ lรกi zhฤซ zรฉ ฤn zhฤซ)

Hard, as we didn’t get to write the same character a bajillion times like in our previous lessons and improving our technique, but it was fun nonetheless. She asked us to choose what idiom we wanted to write, and this six-character one came up. It was short, and we already knew four of the six characters, so that made it look even more promising. I looked it up in the dictionary, and the meaning it gave was something along the lines of “Since you are here already, you may as well stay and make the most of it.” I thought that was perfect for how I’m feeling right now with this move to HK, so that just clinched the deal ๐Ÿ˜‚

Our Chinese language teacher over the past few years was also teaching while we had our class, so we got to say bye to him too. Ahhh… the end of our SG chapter is nearing… ๐Ÿ˜”

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…!