Our fur babies

A friend of mine got a call from their vet saying that their cat wasn’t well: they found fluid in his chest cavity, and has since deteriorated and has also thrown up. They have recommended end of life procedures 😒 I am so sad for her. We love our cats. They are our fur babies. But they are also both getting on, though, so this is inevitable. Nonetheless, it’s still a tough pill to swallow, no matter how prepared you think you are 😞

Kitty’s now-defunct kidney was discovered almost two years ago now, and back then, the vet too had prepared me for her passing. But once Little Miss saw me to come and collect her, she somehow perked up, and even the vet was surprised that she somehow pulled through. And two years later, she’s still here – and she even survived the trip to HK πŸ™ I’m hoping her cat will do the same and that he too will get through this🀞

Kitty didn’t have a good day today, either, throwing up three times. And she also seemed to be losing her balance. She has also lost her appetite and just spent the day sleeping. I hope it was just all the vomiting earlier in the day that has left her lethargic πŸ˜” I’ll continue to monitor her over the next day or two to make sure she’s ok, otherwise it may mean another trip to the vet πŸ˜”

It wasn’t a good day for our furry little ones 😞

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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 πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ˜† She’s had a bajillion farewell dinners! She probably started her farewell drinks and dinners three weeks ago πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ‘

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 πŸ˜†

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 πŸ€“

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 πŸ˜† 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 πŸ˜” 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 πŸ˜” It’s all quite a sad state of affairs, and I’m still wondering how it will all end…

Food and continued protests

We went and had a Japanese buffet brunch today with a few of N’s workmates. There’s unlimited champagne available, but I opted out of that, as the one lone glass that I would’ve had wouldn’t have been quite enough to justify paying for free flow πŸ˜‚ So I just took one sip of N’s champagne, which was enough for me πŸ˜† But food-wise, I reckon I actually got my money’s worth, for once. I’m pretty sure I ate my fair share of oysters, sushi and sashimi πŸ˜‹

I then went home and watched some more Masterchef Australia. I was going to head to the gym, but I was still so full from brunch that I had to give myself a few more hours to digest first before heading down πŸ˜† So I just watched a few more episodes. And that meant that I managed to catch up with Australia today – YEAH!! I’m one episode behind – ie the one that aired tonight, as I have to wait for people to upload it onto the interweb so I can watch it. But for all intents and purposes, I have caught up – woohoo!! πŸ‘

N went to karate tonight, and as they started making their way home, they noticed the protesters making their way down Connaught Road at Central. Greeeat. We already saw the barricades earlier today as we were walking to brunch, which was also coincidentally at Central, so we had a feeling that protesters would be out later today. We were both a bit worried about him getting home, but luckily it was all ok. The protesters are largely quite peaceful, it’s just the small minority who are a bit more radical that worry me. But even then, they’re not really targetting regular people, so I’m usually not that concerned. But you never know if/when things will escalate, and you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire, figuratively or literally speaking πŸ˜”

Draining and drained

I found out this morning that my online Chinese lesson for tomorrow got cancelled because the teacher that I had booked is no longer taking on any new students. So I booked someone else, only to have that lesson cancelled as well because that teacher is currently on holidays. I was getting a bit fed up with their poor scheduling system, so I went looking for another site. I eventually found what is effectively an online Chinese language school, so I’ve booked for an online lesson with them tomorrow. So let’s see how I find these guys… They only offer packages, not individual lessons, so I have to commit for at least ten lessons if I want to continue on with them 😱 Not sure if I can handle that level of commitment πŸ˜‚ But it’s probably what I need if I want to improve my Chinese language skills anyway, so let’s have more of a think about it after I have my lesson tomorrow 😊

And then I went to join a work dinner with some of N’s colleagues tonight. They’re all in sales / relationship management roles, so they’re quite loud, outgoing people – ie the complete opposite to me! But it’s also good being surrounded by such outgoing people: they just keep themselves entertained and they leave me alone! πŸ˜† It was still a fun evening, but definitely not one that I can repeat on a regular basis… I’d be too drained otherwise! 😳

We ended up getting home around midnight, so not sure just how productive I’m going to be tomorrow… πŸ˜” I may be lucky just to get through the online Chinese lesson!

Slightly off the tourist track

We went to the Yamataka Seafood Market in Wan Chai today. I can’t believe we hadn’t heard of this place until quite recently. Food wise, it’s as close you can get to being in Japan without actually going. They have a supermarket for Japanese groceries, and also a few food outlets. And the Market also has an awesome view, looking out across Victoria Harbour. Service was also really good, for HK standards. It was such a good experience. It also wasn’t very busy, I assume because there’s a lot of construction happening in the area, and it’s not so easy to get to. But we’ll definitely be going back! Totally worth the trek! πŸ˜†

The Seafood Market is right above the Wan Chai ferry pier, so we just caught a ferry from there over to Tsim Sha Tsui, on the other side of Victoria Harbour. From there, we caught the train to Sham Shui Po and visited the computer centre there. The computer centre there makes the one in Wan Chai seem really small! And the number of people there is also way more than in Wan Chai. It’s Wan Chai on steroids πŸ˜† So I’d definitely recommend the Sham Shui Po one if anyone needs anything computer related! It’s not quite as tourist friendly (although HK tourism has been advertising Sham Shui Po a bit lately), and a bit farther out from where tourists would normally stay when they’re in HK, but it may be worth a visit even if just to experience the craziness of HK! πŸ˜†

My first HK junk boat experience

We went on a junk boat today. And by junk boat, I don’t mean the traditional junk boats that HK is known for – ie not one of these:

We were basically on a normal yacht. But I think people here just call it junk boat anyway. What do you do on one of these junk boats, you ask? Well I’d never been on one, so I had no idea what to expect. But essentially, you’re on this yacht for like SIX HOURS. It just goes around somewhere in HK, plonks itself near one of the islands, and it just sits there for a few hours, until it’s time to head back to the starting point. Apparently junks come in all shapes and sizes: some are BYO and some are full on first class digs. Ours was somewhere in between: we had food and drinks included, as well as a sound system, so that was pretty cool.

Our β€œjunk boat” for the day

Anyway, so our junk picked us up from Central Pier, and took us all the way around HK Island down to somewhere near Stanley. The whole trip took about an hour, before we finally plonked ourselves near the island. What I didn’t realise was that we couldn’t actually walk ON to the island, as it was still quite a fair way from the boat. Even for a strong swimmer (which I’m totally not), the island was still quite far away, so no one on our boat headed over there and people just swam around near the boat. There were a few noodles and floaties that people brought along with them, so that was also pretty cool.

View of HK Island as we pulled away from Central Pier – one of the few photos I took before the motion sickness kicked in

But basically, I didn’t get a reprieve from the rocking of the boat. For six freaking hours. And I started feeling the motion sickness after just one hour in. Sighhh… So I tried to sleep off the remaining four hours on one of the beanbags on the boat. And I took my travel sickness tablets every hour, just to keep me on the same blah level, and not get any worse than what I already was. You’re supposed to take them every 2 hours as required, but I missed the first 2-hour point, and that was when I started feeling ill. I should’ve taken it 2 hours in, on the dot, before I started feeling ill. That is, when we first got on the boat. Then I might have had a chance to stave off the motion sickness! Sighhh…

Once they stopped our boat and joined the two boats together (our group had enough people for two boats! 😱) they started cooking lunch. And when you have motion sickness, your senses are heightened, and everything just becomes amplified. And as luck would have it, they were cooking lunch on our boat. So the smells from all the food was making me feel worse! And then there was the music blaring, and people walking up and down the boat, having numerous conversations around me. None of it was helping. So in the end, I didn’t get much sleep, and I didn’t even get to eat lunch. It ended up being a very expensive sleep! πŸ˜”

I wasn’t the only one, though. There were actually a handful of us on the boat just trying to sleep it off. And one guy apparently had too much to drink, and he too was trying to sleep it off πŸ˜‚

As soon as we were back at the pier, I was basically one of the first few people off that damn boat 🀣 As I am writing this, I, in fact, still feel like I am rocking, so I am going to head to bed soon to shake off this damn motion sickness once and for all. So this was my first and probably last time I go on a junk boat while we’re in HK! πŸ˜‚