I had one of those days where I just felt blah. I didn’t feel motivated to do anything, all I wanted was to just sit there and not do anything. Because I felt so blah, I dubbed today a ‘low power mode’ day, which meant I wasn’t going to do anything that required too much energy. My main goal today was to conserve.
But despite this, I still managed to write the script for my next YouTube video; I called my mum; I reviewed some Chinese and I had my Chinese lesson. That’s more than I expected to get through today! 👍
We sometimes usually have some pretty serious discussions during my Chinese lessons. We’ve talked about the HK protests, media bias, coronavirus. It’s pretty impressive that I can talk about these things in Chinese, even if Im communicating at a 7-year old level! 😂 I try not to use any English at all unless I just can’t find any way to express myself in Chinese. For example, if I don’t know the Chinese word for banana, I will describe it as a long, yellow fruit, and then she will tell me the Chinese word for it 😂 This is okay up to a point. When you want to start talking about abstract things: influence, threat, perspective etc, it starts getting harder to express yourself in alternative ways. And this is when I revert to English. And I learn new Chinese words 😊
And once I get through such a conversation, I always feel so motivated to continue to improve, to be able to express myself as an 8-year old, a 10-year old, and then hopefully a teenager 😊 But at the moment, I still feel like I’m in primary school 🤣
We went and had yum cha today for the first time in what feels like aaages. We went to one of our favourite places, but they’ve changed their menu a bit, and it seems like the quality of their dishes has dropped slightly. I’m sure they suffered during the past few months and are trying to cut costs, but you can’t sacrifice the quality of your food. Unless you are happy to take the risk of losing regular customers. I’m not sure if we’ll return again now. We probably will, since they’ve been one of our favourite restaurants since we moved to HK; but if we leave with the exact same opinion for a second time, then they may just have to be bumped off our list 🤷♀️
We then took Kitty to the vet after lunch. Getting her there is always a painful experience because she never likes leaving the house. She’s always been an indoor cat, and so new environments just aren’t her thing. And especially now as an older cat. She gets so angry at everyone, and she hisses and growls at anyone who comes close to touching her.
They still managed to get a blood sample. though, and her test results came out much better than the vet expected. So he commended us for managing her health really well this past year, as there was no major deterioration in her health, and to just keep doing what we’re doing. Yayyy, I was so happy to hear that 👏
And then later on in the evening, we went to this rather interesting hot pot restaurant. We went with a friend from China, and she asked us if we knew the meaning of the name of the restaurant, which is in Chinese. Apparently it’s the name of a famous brothel in ancient times! Interesting choice for a restaurant name! 🤣
The brothel theme continued in the restaurant, with some sex positions listed in their drinks menu and their moist towelettes in little packets that looked like individual condom wrappers 🤣 Quite amusing, and good food too 👍
I had my Chinese lesson today. We talked about general everyday stuff, so I could somewhat maintain the conversation. I told her how I got my hair cut last week, but I didn’t know how to say that in Chinese, so I said, “I went to the hair shop”, and she filled in the blanks and taught my how to say what I actually wanted to say 😂 I minimise the amount of English that I use in our lessons. I see them as immersion time, so I’m forced to say things in Chinese, even if whatever I say comes out wrong and/or awkward. It’s freaking hard, but it’s the best way to improve my speaking and listening skills. We only speak in English for about 5% of the time, which always amazes me when I think about it in that way. Because at the time, I am just sooo focussed on everything that she’s saying. And even then, I still have to ask her to repeat every second sentence! 🤦♀️ I really just need to practise more 😏 But. overall, if I look at it objectively, I really am progressing quite well with the language, given just how little time I actually spend studying! 👍
N had a 💩 day at work today 😞 He’s one of those people, though, that can keep his work stress from seeping into his personal life, which I think is a pretty damn good skill to have. So he hardly ever needs to vent. He did vent a little today, though, that’s how 💩 today must’ve been for him! But he quickly got over it, and he’s now back to his usual cheery self. It took me six hours yesterday to return to normal (remember my rant that I never ended up sharing with you 😜); it took him maybe half an hour today. Sooo good! 👍
I opened the library app and noticed that I had an overdue book sighhhh It was due yesterday, so I had no choice but to head down to the library and return it. And the annoying (and absolutely stupid!) thing was that I knew I had a book due yesterday, but I convinced myself that I remembered the due date incorrectly and that it was actually due today 🤦♀️ WTH.
Anyway, so I quickly scrambled down to the library and returned the damn book. Oh, and I had to get changed because I spilt coffee on myself earlier this morning, and I was in the middle of a lesson so I couldn’t clean myself up straight away, so it left a stain on my dress. And I couldn’t walk out of the house with this massive stain down the front of my dress 😂
I ended up writing about this in my Chinese journal, and so during my lesson today, I got my teacher to read my entry and correct any grammatical errors. I really like writing in this journal, I really should write in it more often 🤪 I think it really helps me improve my Chinese, so I should try writing in it every day, even if it’s just one or two sentences. It reads like the diary of a five year old. Well it sorta is, if you think about the level of my Chinese and that of a native five year old. OK, maybe a seven year old 🤣
We also started talking about the national security law that Beijing has recently introduced, which, as you can imagine, is a very challenging topic to discuss in a foreign langage! 😱 (Remember what I just said, comparing my level of Chinese to a native seven year old!) Luckily we were at the end of the lesson already, so I said I’ll practise a bit in the coming week and we can discuss again next week. Ugh, why did I say that?!? Talking about what I had for lunch is challenging enough. Why make my Chinese language life even more difficult?!? 🤣
I had my Chinese lesson today. I didn’t have a lesson last week because my teacher went to Sanya for a holiday last week. Prices are really good at the moment because of the rona: apparently their flights for the four of them cost around the same amount as the price of just one ticket normally 😲 And their hotel room in a five-star hôtel with a sea view cost something like A$60 per night! 😲 I wish we could travel to Sanya too!
It’s really close too, the flight is probably only around 1-1.5 hours, much like a Sydney to Melbourne flight. I think it’s about 1.5 hours to Taiwan (also on the map below), so I’m guessing that Sanya would be roughly the same. The problem is the rona and quarantine measures 😔 For mainland Chinese, they can travel around freely domestically to cities that are not deemed high-risk. But HK, despite officially being part of China, still runs very separately to the mainland (despite what the protesters and western mainstream media would have you believe) and so we follow the HK government’s regulations on travel. And that still means a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming back from overseas, which I think also includes mainland China.
So I have basically succumbed to the fact that we won’t be travelling anywhere in 2020 😔 And you know what one of my goals was for this year? Explore different parts of China! 😩 I thought that’d be a pretty cool goal, given our current proximity to the mainland at the moment. We may as well take advantage of it!
And then February rolled around, and all those ideas went out the window 😔
The library reopened for I think the first time since this virus broke out. And remember that the virus was here earlier than the rest of the world, so they’ve been closed since early Feb. So it’s been three months 😱 I’ve had to continually renew my loans online this entire time. And they kept extending the maximum loan period during this time because no one could actually return books! But because they reopened today, I had reached the maximum number of times I could borrow one of my books, so I had to actually go in and return it.
When I got there, there was a queue outside the building to enter! I guess a ton of other people also missed the library these past few months! They were limiting the numbers inside the library at any given time, so they were staggering the times that they were allowing people to enter. So I had to wait until the next ‘window’, which meant that I had to wait for almost half an hour 😱
But once I was inside, it was faaantastic 😁 I felt like part of my old life had returned. The library is still not fully operational: they removed all the chairs so you couldn’t sit around and read, and any study areas/rooms were still closed. They’re still preventing large gatherings of people inside. But it’s slowly returning to normal and that’s really promising 👍
Things in general feel like they’re slowly returning to normal. Today was the 17th consecutive day where we’ve had no local cases, and only a handful of cases from overseas during that time – YEAH!! 👍 So the government is slowly relaxing some of the restrictions that have been put in place since around mid-March when we saw a spike in cases largely due to all the people coming back from overseas. So things like upping the number of people who can go out in a group from four to eight, and allowing bars and gyms and other places to reopen. But the strict social distancing remains, and cleaning and disinfecting also needs to stay.
I had my Chinese lesson today, and apparently temperature taking prior to boarding public transport in my teacher’s city of Xi’an is no longer happening. Hopefully we’re not far behind with removing this requirement prior to entering buildings and restaurants too 🤞
I forgot to hit ‘publish’ last night 😂 I was mega-tired, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!
I had my Chinese lesson today. I haven’t been studying as much these days, so my skills are deteriorating, unfortunately 😔 I think I should make language study part of my morning routine so that I always make time for it, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day. Daily practice is so important in language learning, and I don’t want to go too far backward and lose a ton of the hard work that I’ve put in the last few years.
We talked about tv shows and my teacher watches Survivor and Amazing Race! 😂 I haven’t seen those shows since moving to Asia. She lives in mainland China. I didn’t even know they showed those shows in China, I certainly haven’t seen them in the past five years we’ve been living in Asia. Although she is learning English, so maybe she deliberately sought them out.
We had four new cases today, all of them imported cases. So no local cases recorded for three days now… 🤞
This whole global lockdown is quite weird, actually. There are a ton of memes on social media, and everyone just keeps talking about it. So it sorta feels a bit weird that we’re not, if that makes any sense. Back in February when the rona was taking hold in this city and everyone was panicking and hoarding toilet paper and masks and hand sanitiser, the rest of the world felt like it was just going about its daily life – probably because it was! 😆 And then the panic died down and things somewhat stabilised here, and that’s when the rest of the world started panicking and hoarding toilet paper. Countries started locking down cities, and then all these memes started to show up on social media. Although what is circulating on social media was 6-8 weeks too late for me. We sorta went through the worst bit with mainland China, so we experienced it much earlier than the rest of the world. So in a way, it feels like I’m watching my future unfold again, if that makes any sense whatsoever! Not that we were ever in lockdown, it was more self-imposed quarantine here in HK, but the effect on the spread of the virus is essentially the same.
Anyway, I don’t know if that last paragraph made any sense, it feels like I just rambled on… So I think that’s a cue for me to sign off now… 😂
My stomach felt like it was eating itself this morning when I woke up 😖 I obviously ate something bad yesterday, but I have no idea what. My stomach was uneasy for most of the day, so I just stuck to bland foods – ie boring foods 🙄 Even my drinks today were pretty bland: I didn’t have my usual coffee and just stuck with black tea; and I didn’t have any wine with dinner. And I drank drank a lot of water. Fun 😒 My stomach no longer feels uneasy, so hopefully I can go back to my regular meals tomorrow 🤞
I also woke up to Trump pulling funding to the WHO. During a pandemic. Sigh. There are no words.
So this lovely start to my day didn’t quite put me in the best of moods to face the rest of the day 😔 But I pushed on anyway, and I actually managed to film my next YouTube video, and I also had my Chinese lesson, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a day 👍
More Groundhog Day today: work, break, work, break, work 🙄 I did speak to my mum, though, and I had my Chinese lesson, so that broke up my usual daily routine a little bit 😆
SG hit 1,000 cases today 😔 I watched this Aussie documentary on how SG has been able to contain the virus. I think some Asian countries were more prepared than most after having been caught totally unprepared for SARS back in the early 2000s. So when this new strain cropped up, a lot of these affected countries kicked into gear. And its people also know the drill, having gone through SARS and learnt some hard lessons from it. They’ve gone straight into defensive mode. They’re all managing the virus in their own way, but they’re all managing to flatten that damn curve 👍
But even here in North Asia, we’re definitely nowhere near the end, unfortunately. We still have a long way to go. And what will the new world look like after we get this under control? Travel, work, our health and welfare systems. Will governments learn from this or just sweep it under the rug and just go on with their usual lives?
I had my Chinese lesson today. She asked me how the coronavirus situation was in HK, and I said, ‘Not bad, we only have one or two new cases a day now’. She, on the other hand, didn’t think this was good at all! 😂 She then gave me the stats: HK has the fourth highest number of ‘live’ cases across all of China, including Macau and Taiwan, at 58. So, yeah, from that perspective, we’re pretty bad! But I’ve been comparing our rate of increase to other countries like Italy and the US, so of course the HK numbers look so much better!
After our lesson, I checked a chinese website that one of my students sent to me, and I actually prefer it to any of the other sites that I have seen so far. It provides more granularity, showing the number of ‘live’ cases (ie people who are still sick), the number of deaths and the number of people who have gotten better. It’s not as depressing as just seeing the cumulative numbers all the time!
Stay safe, and take all the necessary precautions that you need. And don’t touch your face with those grubby fingers of yours!! 😆