Learning, friends and food

YouTube has unexpectedly become a good source for Chinese songs. I am currently working my way through 你還要我怎樣 (What do you want me to do), learning all the new words, trying to translate the lyrics, and trying to read the Chinese fast enough to sing along. It’s actually quite a challenging song, with a lot of new words, and the pace of the song can be quite fast at times. But YouTube is helping, giving the pinyin (the romanisation system of the Chinese sounds) and the English translation. So I can look up the new words much more quickly (although I really should just listen to what’s being sung, since listening is my primary focus this year 😆) and also get the translation if I’m struggling to translate it on my own. Plus I like the song, so I’m also ok with having it on repeat 😂

I started reading The Motivation Myth today. It’s written in a rather entertaining way, and has been really easy to read so far. Excluding my Chinese children’s picture books and my trading textbooks of sorts, this is my first book for the year. My first non-fiction book for the year. It’s perhaps a good one to start off with, to kickstart my motivation for 2019 😊

We caught up with a friend from SG today, who’s in HK for the next few days for work. He brought us some pandan cake! It is so light and fluffy 😋 I could eat the whole cake on my own! 😆 There are some foods that I miss from SG; food was something that I took for granted while we were there. And now I’m missing some of them, like pandan cake. And chilli crab 😔

But now, I’m enjoying YUM CHA!! They didn’t really do yum cha in SG, so having it so prolific in HK is just too good! 😆 Shame our friend is busy with work the entire time he’s here, though. He doesn’t even have one evening to himself to spend time with us, so we can’t even take him out for a meal 😔 Busy busy bee 🐝

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More books and more eating

I went on another adventure today, going to visit another library in the ‘burbs. It’s costing me 3x as much to travel to and from these libraries (over HK$10) than it would to just reserve the book that I want (HK$3.30) and to get it delivered to the library closest to me 😂 But I travel to these libraries for the experience, to see the library for myself and the neighbourhood that it is in. This city is all very new to me, so I use any reason to wander around and explore 😊

The library that I went to today had a really nice children’s section, so I took that opportunity to randomly go through the picture books and look for something that would be a good read for us 😆 I stumbled across this book:

It has Chinese on one side, and then you flip it over and you get the English on the other side! Sooo good! They had quite a few books in this series, so I think I’ll make my way through them 😊 There’s only one sentence per page, and even though I can read most of it, there is still almost a word per page that I don’t know and have to look up in the dictionary. So it’s quite doable to get through one book and not at all overwhelming. Plus the book has a due date, so it motivates me to actually read it and learn some new words and phrases before I have to return it! So borrowing picture books may be a good way to pick up some new vocab. It ain’t helping with my listening, though, which is my short-term focus, but at least my reading will continue to improve, even if it is at kindergarten level! 😆

And then in the evening, I decided to wander around Harbour City, one of the shopping malls at Tsim Sha Tsui, before meeting up with N’s colleagues for dinner. I didn’t get to finish walking through the mall before I had to walk over to the restaurant to meet up with everyone, but I did notice a few restaurants in there that looked promising. (There are sooo many restaurants in HK, you will never run out of places to try!) So I’ll have to come back and wander through the mall again another time.

Kowloon Walled City Park

I met up with our friend and her mum today at Kowloon Walled City Park. I got there about 20 minutes before they did, and in that 20 minutes, I had basically walked through most of the park already. It really wasn’t that big. They then arrived and proceeded to tell me a brief history of the site, which was definitely more interesting than what I saw during my 20min walk. I had apparently missed the “museum” section of the park, where they have the information and the photos / videos of the walled city during its notorious period. That section was quite interesting. I definitely want to go again and check it out in more detail. And I thought this bronze model of the housing in the area during that time gave a pretty good picture of just how cramped the area was.

So you know how I said that it was a pretty small park? Well apparently it’s around 3ha, which is effectively 300m x 100m. No wonder it didn’t take very long to walk through it. And yet in this tiny, tiny space lived 30,000 people at one point 😲 It was virtually lawless, and the triads basically ruled the area. Crazy stuff, very interesting history.

After that, we went back to Tsim Sha Tsui, near their hotel, and had a quick drink before we met up with N for dinner.

It was a long, but fun, and informative day.

Yum cha, Uniqlo and Captain America

We met up with our friend from Oz and her mum again today, we decided to go for yum cha. It’s a more local place where you don’t see tourists, but not “crazy” local where people fight you for food – yes, apparently this happens in certain places! 😲 But we really like the food at this place, and it’s not crazy busy like some other more well-known yum cha restaurants. Plus it’s quite affordable! If we lived in the neighbourhood, we’d probably be there so often that we’d have our own regular table! 😂

Friend’s mum was feeling quite tired after yum cha, so they just went back to their hotel to rest. And N and I went to Causeway Bay afterwards to buy socks from Uniqlo. N also bought a few basic items as well, with a bit of help from his brother, who I was sms’ing the entire time, sending him photos of N in various outfits. So in the end, I got my socks, and, after to-ing and fro-ing with his brother for what felt like aaages, N ended up getting a long-sleeved shirt and a cardigan. He’s on his way to getting his basic items in order 👍

And then in the evening, we watched Captain America: The First Avenger. I decided to watch the Marvel movies, and since I’ve only seen just a few, I thought I should just try and watch them all within a short space of time. But I had no idea on what order I should watch them. So I went to good ol’ Google and found this cnet article with a suggestion on order. I’m sure there are numerous debates on what this order should be, but I’m not a fan and so I’m not really all that fussed. I just need something that made some logical sense, and this article fit the bill, so I’ve decided to go along with it. But the first movie off the rank was boring as! That was a disappointing start to my Marvel series watching! I’ve seen the next movie, though (Iron Man), and I do remember enjoying it the first time around, so hopefully I’ll enjoy it again the second time around too🤞

Banking and tones

We got up at around 11am today 😂😂 That’s what happens when you close the blinds and the daylight doesn’t wake you up!

Once we got out of the house, we went down to DBS to try and open an account with them. I have to say that DBS HK is nowhere near as good as DBS SG. They’re a smaller player here, so they probably just haven’t gotten customer service processes in HK quite right yet. Or maybe it’s just shite and I’m being too nice 😆 So we’re thinking of opening an HSBC account and using that bank as our main bank instead. They’re the largest bank in HK, and they have a presence in both Oz and SG, as well as globally. But their online banking is baaad! I don’t know how it can be so awful in this day and age! It seriously looks like it’s over ten years old and they haven’t made any changes to it since. DBS’s, on the other hand, is pretty awesome. So what to do, what to do… Regardless which bank we choose to do most of our day-to-day banking, we’ll probably open up an account with HSBC anyway, just to make it easier to access money both here and overseas.

And in the evening, we caught up with a friend from Oz and her mum. They have a Taiwanese background, so they speak Mandarin, so I took that opportunity to ask them a few questions that have been bugging me for a while now. One of the questions I asked was the difference between 全部 (quán bù), 所有 (suǒ yǒu) and 一切 (yī qiè), because in my mind, they basically all – ironically – mean “all”. But I couldn’t remember the tones for the latter, so I said yì qiē instead of what it’s supposed to be: yī qiè. And can you believe it, they had NO idea what I was saying. They obviously knew that my question was about “all”, yet they still couldn’t figure out what word I was saying because I got my tones wrong. That’s how important tones are!! But once I looked up the correct tones in the dictionary and I pronounced it correctly, they immediately understood me. Crazy! I can barely hear the difference in the tones, yet to a native speaker, the difference must be so obvious. I still remember our teacher drilling into us the importance of tones at the beginning of our Chinese language journey, and I haven’t forgotten. I have received weird looks from native speakers a few times now when I have just guessed the tone of a word because I couldn’t remember its tone(s) and I obviously guessed incorrectly 😂 Today was yet another instance. So if you’re just starting out on learning a tonal language, I cannot stress the importance of learning them properly!

Healing and staying in touch

Kitty didn’t seem comfortable last night, after we got back from dinner. It seemed like she was a bit sore, and she didn’t want to be touched. She also didn’t want to jump up onto anything high, nor did she really even want to lie down. So I don’t know if she got much sleep overnight 😔 I was going to go back to the vet today and ask for some painkillers, as she had suggested yesterday, in case Kitty needed them.

But then this morning, Kitty seemed magically ok again. She jumped up onto the couch to lie on her usual blanket, and she was also happy to just curl up on the living room rug. Her appetite was perfectly normal too. She’s definitely a fighter, that one. I saw her shaved belly today, which I didn’t really see yesterday because she didn’t want to lie down. Poor little one 😔 I think she’s still a bit sore today, as she still doesn’t seem to like to be picked up, but she wasn’t as angry about it today compared to yesterday. She went into hissing mode yesterday as soon as you picked her up, so she was obviously not yet ok. But today she seems to be on the mend.

And N’s brother flew back to Sydney today. It was actually a bit sad seeing him go, it was quite fun having him around. Although I’m sure I’ve gained weight while he was here, since we went out to eat so often! But even though he’s now left HK, another friend has just arrived, so we’re catching up with her tomorrow night. And the eating continues…! 🍽🐷 Seems like a lot more people come to HK than SG! In the six odd weeks that we’ve lived here, we have had four people come and visit. So maybe it’ll be a much better place for us to see family and friends 😊

A traumatic, gluttonous and unstylish day

I had to initiate Operation Sydney again this morning, but it didn’t go as well as the last time it was initiated 😂 We had to go to the vet today, and the vet said that she wasn’t allowed to eat in the morning, just water. So you can imagine just how grumpus Kitty was at not being given her breakfast – and then I had to ask her to go into her carrier! “Good luck with that, hooman. It ain’t happenin'”. She absolutely refused to stay in her carrier. So I had to put her into her old carrier – the totally CLEAR one 😱 It’s easier to close that carrier, and I had no choice but to use it today. I then proceeded to put said carrier into a large opaque plastic bag to get her past security downstairs 😂

We got to the vet and once I opened the carrier, she popped her head out, surveyed her surrounds, and soon went back in and retreated. She does not like strange places. I had to leave her there, as she needed to get a few things done today: an ultrasound, a blood test, and also to get her teeth checked and her nails clipped. So she needed to be sedated 😔 I left her at the vet for half the day and picked her up later in the afternoon. Poor Little Miss. And poor me. We both had quite a traumatic morning today!

And then on top of that, once we returned later in the afternoon to pick her up, the vet tells us that she has a mass on one of kidneys. We’re waiting on more test results to confirm whether or not it’s cancer, but signs are pointing to cancer 😔 But the vet keeps saying that she seems to be a fighter, because she’s really feisty, and the feisty cats tend to be the ones that live the longest, because it’s like they really fight for their lives. Even after she woke up from the anaesthesia, she was already fighting the vet, and the vet was actually happy to see that she was back to her grumpus self so soon after she was sedated. If Kitty’s behaviour had changed after waking up, then the vet might have been a little more worried, but since her grumpy personality showed up virtually straight away, then she knew that Kitty was back to her usual strong self. Kitty has been acting ok at home, her behaviour hasn’t really changed, so I hope she is indeed fighting 💪💪

We dropped her off at home, and then made our way to dinner – at a Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant! 😲 And it was HK$260 (S$45) per person! For all you can eat – and drink!! And apparently there are heaps of such restaurants around HK. At this rate, I am going to eat wayyy too much in HK! This is sooo not good. Although we are probably eating out a lot more than what we normally would because N’s brother is visiting, so we should slow down and return to normal next week. So maybe the last two weeks isn’t quite indicative of what our regular routine would be in HK. Hopefully…! 😆

When we got home, the two brothers went through N’s wardrobe, in similar vein to Trinny and Susannah’s What Not To Wear. I felt so unstylish listening to their conversation! I wish I had a sister who could give me similar fashion advice! However, despite Brother not approving of most of the items in N’s wardrobe, not much culling happened tonight. But at least N got some fashion advice, so he knows what he can do to improve his wardrobe now. While here I am still needing help! 😆