Slight progress

We went to Mong Kok today to find some foam pipe insulation for the bathroom. Apparently there is some condensation forming on the aircon pipes, which was dripping down onto the ceiling, and therefore onto the bathroom lights. So the electrician suggested that we go to Mong Kok where there are apparently a lot of aircon maintenance-type stores, to pick up some pipe insulation. Despite the crappy wet weather, we decided to go check out the area – but the whole street was basically closed today! 😩 I should’ve remembered our experience the last time we visited the area on a Sunday. Virtually everyone takes the day off πŸ˜” So now we’ll have to return another day, which will hopefully be next Saturday. We did buy some makeshift insulation in the meantime, though, so hopefully that will still help. And at least we know where to go next time around πŸ‘

We then just went back home, and N went to his usual Sunday night karate, and I fell asleep on the couch watching polyglot videos on YouTube πŸ˜‚ After being inspired by them, I then went and studied more of my Chinese version of The Little Prince. It’s still taking forever to finish a page, as I’m still looking up a ton of words. But I think it’s getting slightly better… But only ever so slightly… πŸ˜†

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Causeway Bay

We went to Causeway Bay (CWB) today to play some mini-golf at Strokes! I haven’t played in yeeeears, it was actually a lot of fun 😊 It was entirely indoors, which was new for me, as most mini-golf places I’ve been to have been outdoors, or at least semi-outdoors, as in we were under cover. But as with all things in HK, space is a luxury, so the 18 holes were crammed in this tiny space inside one of the malls. And sometimes when I had to take a particularly awkward shot, I’d have to step into one of the neighbouring courses, as they’re literally all right next to each other πŸ˜† And N had a few wild hits, one of which actually flew almost the entire length of the room 🀣 🀣 Luckily no one was around to get hit! 🎯 It was quite fun, though, with some crazy courses to get through πŸ˜†

I think this was actually just before he hit the ball almost across the entire length of the room πŸ˜‚
The craziness of a few of the courses – and look how close they are to one another!
They had a few of these inspirational quotes scattered all around the room, which I thought was pretty cool 😊

We then just wandered around CWB to do a bit of shopping, one of the shopping Meccas in HK. There is also an IKEA at CWB, and we stopped by to pick up a few boxes to store some of our crap in, rather than having them spilling out everywhere in the house. Hopefully once we’ve put stuff inside them, it’ll make me feel a little better about the house not being so messy! But being back in IKEA after not having visited for a few months now brought back some fond memories of when I was practically living there πŸ˜‚ I walked past the study desks and chairs and I’d reminisce about all the time I spent trying to figure out which study desk and chair to put into our study; and then the same would happen when we walked past their dining tables and chairs, and this would happen in virtually every other room in the store. I still remember the layout of the store all too well πŸ˜†

It was a fun day 😊

Understanding

We’re getting an electrician to come in and check out the lights in our bathroom, as they’re basically stuffed. Anyway, I asked him how we can pay him, and he replied back with β€œfinish the operation (under cash)”. I was like what in the world does that mean πŸ˜‚ But he had the word β€œcash” in there, so I’m going with that.

Anyway, I decided to β€œreverse Google translate” what he said. So I put in β€œfinish the operation (under cash)” in Google translate and see what Chinese it gives me, and then I’ll translate it back into normal English. So in essence, we pay him once he’s done the job, in cash, which is what I figured. It’s funny how something as simple as “cash” could be translated so weirdly. I think I’m going to speak English more in line with Chinese sentence structures, so people can better understand me. I’ve already started doing that quite a fair bit, which of course takes more conscious effort to do so, but it makes it easier to be understood.

And then tonight, I watched a documentary on acid attack survivors. It’s so appalling how there are people in the world who can do that to another human being. It is just such a disgusting act of violence that someone can inflict on another human being. As for why anyone would even think to do this, let alone deliberately carry it out, is beyond comprehension and is utterly unforgivable in my books. These innocent people who now have to suffer physically and emotionally for the rest of their lives, simply because there was a coward who inflicted this form of torture on them. And what angers me the most is that these monsters might not necessarily be punished for their crime. The cruelty and the injustice of it all just makes my blood boil. What f’d up world do we live in 😑😑

Taobao

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a shopper. I don’t like to shop, and I am for sure an under-buyer, a term that Gretchen Rubin coined for people who only tend to buy things when they need it. And even then, sometimes I still won’t buy it, even when I know I need it! It can be very frustrating πŸ˜‚

Anyway, there’s this Chinese version of Amazon called Taobao, which I heard about when we first moved to Singapore. I had friends who swore by it. I’ve checked it out a few times, but each time I’ve gone in, I was overwhelmed by all the Chinese on the site, and so never really bothered checking out the site in any more detail than this initial cursory glance.

Today, though, I stumbled across this blog post called The Foreigner’s Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Taobao, and it’s made me want to revisit the Taobao site and see how much of the site I can now understand, without having to use the translate function. Plus their app only has Chinese, and if I am going to browse the site, I’d be more than likely to be browsing on my phone anyway.

It turns out that I can actually somewhat navigate my way around! 😱 I think I know enough characters now that even though I may not necessarily know a word, I can get the gist of its meaning from the characters that it is made up of. And if I want to learn new words, I have plenty to choose from just on this site alone. And getting a bargain or two is enough incentive for me to learn some new words! πŸ˜‚ Plus, now that we’re in Hong Kong, we’re even closer to the mainland, so deliveries should only take a few days. So I’ll let you know when I make my first purchase, as that will surely be a momentous occasion! πŸ˜†

Van Gogh Alive exhibition

We went to see the Van Gogh Alive exhibition today. As per usual, directions to get there were lacking. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, HK is not very tourist friendly, and so you’re pretty much on your own in terms of finding venues around the city, and today was no exception. We took Google Maps’ suggestion, which was not the best route πŸ˜‚ So we had to endure the heat as we walked the lonnng way to the venue – and let’s just say that the weather today could have taken on SG and would’ve put up a good fight πŸ˜‚

And then when we finally found the venue, the exhibition itself wasn’t all that fantastic. There were effectively four rooms:

– The first room was more the typical art gallery room, where they had descriptions of his life and his paintings;

– The second and third rooms were where they had his paintings projected up on all the surfaces in the room, and added a bit of movement to them, making them a bit more “alive”. So, for example, if he had a windmill in his original paining, they’d have that windmill actually turning in their display, which was a nice effect. They also had classical music playing as they moved through his paintings. I don’t know what the difference was between these two rooms, though. They seemed pretty much the same to me…

– And then the fourth room was just a drawing room where you could follow a looping film showing a 5min drawing workshop on how to draw people. It wasn’t Van Gogh specific, but somewhat related to painting, I suppose 😊 Most of the people using the easels were kids who couldn’t care less about the workshop, so perhaps the organisers could have set up a separate area for them, so the adults could actually have a bit of a go. And an adult would look rather mean kicking off a child who wanted to use an easel, right?! πŸ˜‚ There weren’t any spare easels available when we got to the room, and we didn’t stick around and wait for one to free up, so it was a bit of a shame that we never got to have a go.

And then at the end, there was the obligatory gift shop and refreshments. We stopped at Artisan Room‘s pop-up store there for afternoon tea, which was really nice! I’m definitely going to go check out their cafe now near HK University πŸ‘

We bought tickets at the door, which cost HK$250 (~A$45) each, which we thought was a bit pricey. I don’t know if it was worth it… I still think I would have preferred to have seen the actual paintings. We went to a Van Gogh exhibition a few years ago now, somewhere in Oz, and I think I still preferred that to this one. There’s something about seeing the real artwork on display. This Alive exhibition was a work in itself, so I guess I should appreciate it for that. But if I had a choice, I think I’d still go for seeing the real paintings, even if they don’t move 😊

And maybe I was also a bit disappointed because we have seen the real works, and this didn’t stand up enough on its own in terms of being its own work of art, if that makes sense. And then also not having much of a distinction between the second and third rooms, as well as not separating the kids’ and adults’ drawing rooms, overall it just didn’t leave me with the best of impressions.

I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this exhibition! Did anyone actually enjoy it and thought it was good value??

Finding that right balance

I put together our new budget for HK today. Ugh, this city is so expensive 😩 I thought SG was bad, I think it’s worse here πŸ˜” Nonetheless, I’m going to make the most of our time here, and try and enjoy it as much as I can. We may not achieve our financial goals while we’re here, but we’ll do our darndest to get close πŸ’΅

I went to the gym today and apparently worked my arms to buggery, they are now sooo tired and sore! I can barely lift them πŸ˜‚πŸ’ͺ That’s a good sign πŸ‘

I didn’t spend much time on my Chinese today, because I spent so much time on our budget and finance stuff that there wasn’t much time (or energy!) left over for study. I’ll try and do more tomorrow to make up for it 😊

It’s always hard finding that right balance of how much time to spend across my different goals. I’ve been dedicating a whole ton of time on my language journey lately, and today I just rejigged it a little 😊 I think what I tend to do is focus on one particular area and end up spending way too much time on that, at the expense of other areas of my life. I need more balance! βš–οΈ

Chinese Taipei controversy

I looked up “Chinese Taipei“, as they were one of the countries participating in the karate comp on the weekend. So N and I were wondering why they are officially known as Chinese Taipei at these Olympic type events, but they are known as Taiwan to the rest of the world. Well it’s all in the above very interesting Wikipedia link! It’s all very complicated, if you ask me, but I now understand the situation that they find themselves in. It’s all so hard!

I continued studying the Chinese version of The Little Prince tonight. I’m reading about a page a day at the moment. At this rate, it’s going to take me the rest of the year to finish it! 😱😩 I’m still hoping that there will come a point where I will know enough words that I don’t have to constantly refer to the dictionary anymore, and that I can just figure out the words that I don’t know from the context 🀞

Someone mentioned in one of the language exchange apps that I should read an official Chinese version, not the version that I am reading (which happens to be from Taiwan), as it will ruin my learning of the language. Hmmm… I don’t quite agree with that. It’s like saying that reading a British version of it will ruin my understanding of English. So it may have slightly different ways of expressing certain things, but by and large, it’s still Chinese! Anyway, I suspect there is an element of what is mentioned in the Wikipedia article influencing them… and I shall leave it at that 🀐

They also feel strongly about traditional vs simplified Chinese characters, and a lot of people persuade me not to bother learning the former. I am actually learning both styles, as I have friends who can read one or the other, but not necessarily both, and I’d like to be able to message everyone πŸ˜† Plus I like Taiwan, and we now live in HK, and both these places use traditional characters. AND Japanese uses them both in their kanji πŸ˜‚ So basically I don’t want to restrict my learning to just one style. And the simplified characters are usually derived from its traditional equivalent anyway, so it’s not really all that hard to learn them. But yes, there is the occasional character that is like whaaaat, that’s an insane looking mother F! 🀣 🀣 Case in point is this character:

The left hand side is the traditional, the one in brackets is simplified. Good luck with that one! 🀣🀣