Positive vibes

If you decided to skip yesterday’s post, I’m glad you did, because I have much more positive vibes to send out to the universe today! 🙏

I rang my parents today to check up on my dad, to see if he needed help with his new phone. I quickly find out that my mum’s friend’s daughter is over helping. THANK GOD FOR THAT! 🙏🤣 Doing that in person is sooo much easier than over the phone, especially since my parents aren’t the most tech-savvy people. So I let them entertain their guest and have dinner in peace 😅

I went to the library today. There was a crowd of people milling around at the entrance when I got there, and I figured they were all trying to either download the government’s new contact tracing app, or they were just writing their details down on paper. You have to do one or the other now. I already knew that you needed to check in at the library, so I had downloaded the app a few days ago and had already scanned the QR code. So I just went straight past the crowd, into the elevator, and off I went to borrow my books. It’s such a good feeling to be back in the library!! 🤓

N had dinner with some workmates tonight, so I was mega productive and did a ton of work for my YouTube channel. I’m starting to entertain the idea of making some money off my channel, so I put a bit of extra work on it today. I don’t know how much I can make off the channel, if it’ll even be possible, but I figured why not try? If you remember my one-word theme for the year, it’s to just DO. Give it a go and see what happens. Because why not?? What’s the worst that can happen? That you DON’T make any money from it? At least you tried, and you’re actually bringing good value to your subscribers. You’re learning a TON of stuff and you’re having fun along the way. There really isn’t a downside to it all, apart from just constantly having to be thinking about and doing stuff for the channel! 😂

A bit of a rant

** Warning: I rant quite a fair bit in today’s post. So if you had a 💩 day too and don’t need more negativity in your life today, then please skip today’s post and I’ll just see you tomorrow. Or just read the last paragraph 😊 **

My dad’s mobile saga continues, sighhh… We finally gave up on finding the phone, and I just told them to go to Telstra, one of the telecoms in Oz, and just sort it out there. I erased all the data off his phone remotely before it lost battery, so hopefully that actually worked 🤞 I’m still annoyed that we couldn’t the phone using the Find My Phone function.

I do wonder sometimes if my parents like to have drama in their lives. I certainly don’t. I like my life to be as drama-free as possible. But I think some people like having drama in their lives, even if it’s at a subconscious level, just to keep their lives interesting, perhaps. They stressed me out and frustrated me to no end today, so much so that I had to take a quick nap in between lessons. It’s my busiest day too, and their stress just added to my stress 😒

And they also don’t seem to understand that I work. I no longer have a corporate job, but I still work. But this doesn’t seem to compute, and I feel like they think I just sit around and do nothing all day, and can happily take their calls whenever they call. My mum also doesn’t seem to realise that I can SEE that she has called, that my phone will tell me that I missed a call from her. Instead, my mum will call non-stop until there are literally SIX missed call notifications from her. WTH, man. So I text her and say, “I am in a meeting, I can’t talk right now.” And what does she do? CALL ME STRAIGHT BACK. WTAF. Seriously 😡

My dad doesn’t call. He just texts. And gets annoyed that I don’t text back straight away. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. It’s like they have forgotten that they used to work too, and that everyone is now retired like they are!

OK, rant over. I don’t like giving out negativity in the world, but it has just been such a stressful day that I needed to get that out today 😔

So on a more positive note, to balance all that negativity out 😆, social distancing rules have finally been relaxed in HK – yayyy 👏 Gyms have reopened, so N is very happy; and dine-in services at restaurants have been extended to 10pm. And groups of 4 people can now gather in public. Oh, and the most exciting thing for me: libraries have opened up again! Woohoo! 🥳 I may just go and borrow some books tomorrow. It’ll make me feel better after all the stress from today! 😊

A double entendre

I borrowed a few children’s books from the library, and one of the books that I borrowed had this:

I couldn’t stop laughing 🤣 This is from a library book that kids are reading! 😱 I am going to mention this to my teacher tomorrow, but I don’t quite know how to explain the double entendre using my limited Chinese! I’ll let you know tomorrow how I go… 😆

Anyway, I’ve borrowed these rather simple books because I want to incorporate some more natural sounding Chinese sentences into my spoken Chinese. These sentences are being read by native speakers, so you can’t get any more natural than that. I am using a lot of English grammar to translate what I want to say into Chinese, and so I’m trying to eliminate the translating by trying to make these simple sentences my go-to sentences from which I can build more complex ones. So I’m trying to repeat them as often as I can to internalise them, swapping out words and inserting new ones. Basically, I’m doing this:

– The kids are playing near the river

– We are playing near the river

– They are eating ice-cream near the river

– They are drinking water near the big tree

– I am reading a book under the big tree

Basically playing modular blocks with the different parts of the sentence 😊 The words and sentences are easy, but they’re not fully internalised. I still have to think about each sentence. So it’s all about repetition. And the books that I borrowed actually do a fair bit of repetition, so it’s definitely good practice for me 👍

Books and interrupted routines

I went into the library app to renew my library books, exactly how I’ve been doing it all year 😂 It feels like the libraries here have only been open for about 2-3 months this year – and one of those months was January, before this whole pandemic started! 😱 So they’ve allowed people to continually renew their loans online basically indefinitely, with no overdue fines being imposed, simply because there was no way you could return your books!

So I went into the app exactly how I’ve been doing so all year, ready to go through the same process again. Only this time, I find out that I can’t renew my books because I’ve already renewed them a bajillion times, and libraries are now open so I can actually go and physically return them 😆

In a way, this was a bit sad, because I was getting so used to the indefinite renewal process and being able to hang on to the same books for months 🤣

But I returned them today and, of course, managed to find new books to borrow 😆 So that part of being able to borrow new books is nice to have back again!

Oh and what was the fiction book that I decided on? And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I read this yeeears ago when I was still at school 🧒🏻 I don’t remember any of the detail, I just remember that I really liked the book. So let’s see how much I like it this time around as an adult 👩🏻

Weather and a rona update

The weather was terrible today. The rain was really heavy, and there was thunder and lighting as well to accompany it. Luckily I didn’t have any plans to go out today.

It’s N’s week to work from home this week, but he went in from lunchtime to go to a colleague’s farewell lunch, and he decided to stay in the office for the rest of the day. I just kept texting him all afternoon about the weather, even though I’m sure he could see it perfectly fine from his office 😂⛈

But despite the crappy weather, I had a relatively productive day 👍 And for a Monday too! 😆

And there were only six new rona cases today too – woohoo! Things are slowly starting to return to normal here in HK. My beloved libraries have reopened, and restaurants can now open until midnight. And the maximum number of people out in a group has been increased from 2 to 4. Signs are pointing in the right direction! 👍

Things didn’t go my way today

It was one of those days that really tested my patience.

Firstly, I remembered yesterday that my library books were due. But I remembered after midnight, so there was no way I could renew them online and I knew I had no choice but to go and return them today.

But when I got to the library, I found out that they have changed the opening times for some reason. They now only open from 1pm! Not sure what prompted this change. I can only assume it has something to do with the pandemic, as almost everything revolves around that these days 😒

And then when I went to go and edit my next YouTube video, I discover that there is a mismatch between my audio and video files. The audio was actually great, but I don’t know if I didn’t hit the record button or if I deleted the file, but the corresponding video file wasn’t there! O.M.G. So the final video ended up being around four minutes long, when it probably should’ve been closer to double that length. Sighhh… 😒 But I am learning one additional skill from all this video making: the ability to adapt and create the best thing that you can with what you have. Being creatively resourceful 🤣

But now I want that new Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera even more badly now!! 😩 I’m going to do some research online now to see if anyone has any good deals, and then we can go shopping tomorrow 😁

And then N came home early today with suspected food poisoning 😔 He slept for most of the afternoon, and luckily felt better when he finally woke up. At least he got it out of his system really quickly.

So not the best day, unfortunately 😔

My continued struggles of learning a foreign language

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?!? 🤣

Things are slowly returning to normal!

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 😱

Waiting in the queue to enter the library 😱

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 🤞

Mentally exhausted

Libraries have now closed once again here, and they have once again extended loan periods. So the one book that I have on loan for which I have already maxed out the number of times I can borrow it – so I was actually going to return it tomorrow – has once again been extended. I’m loving all these extensions 😆

HK is now closing its borders to non-residents for two weeks starting on Wednesday; and licensed bars and restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol, as a second wave of imported cases sweeps the city 😔 There were a few infected people who were found to have spent time the famous nightlife area, Lan Kwai Fong, so I suspect this is the reason for this new restriction. It’s usually a very packed area where social distancing is just not possible. So let’s see how these new restrictions work out for the city…

All this time I’ve been spending monitoring the virus around the would at the moment took its toll today. I think I reached a bit of a mental exhaustion point and now I need to take a bit of a break. I told N this, and he reminded me that I was the same during the protests here last year, constantly watching and reading the news and getting annoyed and upset with what was going on. So maybe I need a bit of a break from all the news, if not for a whole day, then perhaps I can try for half a day. But it’s one of those crazy things that I just can’t stop watching. It’s like a really bad car crash. I can’t look away!

So if anyone else is feeling like their mental health is being challenged during this crazy time, please take the time out to look after yourself and seek assistance if you need it. Difficult times are still ahead, unfortunately.

Suffering, stupidity and solidarity

I posed this question three weeks ago. Where is the world now? It’s not such a hypothetical question anymore, unfortunately.

We are now up to 287,000 cases. 37,000 cases in one day. I was watching some more news updates on how the rest of the world is managing the outbreak, and now I also feel really sorry for Iran. They think one person is dying every ten minutes, but it’s not showing up in their reported figures because they don’t have enough kits to test the deceased to confirm that they died from COVID-19 and so should be added to their country’s tally. Their medical staff don’t have enough protective gear and some are just wearing plastics bags on their feet to protect themselves 😔 So really, they could actually be suffering even worse than Italy, but their official numbers don’t show it 😢

Meanwhile, in Australia, a few of Sydney’s iconic beaches are being closed because the public are not paying heed to the social distancing 🙄 Seriously, people?!? You are not learning from anything that other countries are going through right now?? 🙄😡 And apparently people have been allowed to disembark the cruise ship that has docked in Sydney, so infected people who don’t know they’re carrying the virus have probably gallivanted all around Sydney infecting even more people. Faaantastic. So now I’m suspecting the numbers in Sydney to jump up over the next few weeks 😔

And here in HK, because of the rush of overseas arrivals in recent days, we are seeing more increases again. The government is closing down all government-run places once again, including libraries and museums, to contain this second wave as much as they canz And schools will remain shut indefinitely. Crazy stuff, but necessary. So my voluntary 14-day quarantine is definitely happening 😔

I heard about Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue being illuminated with all the countries’ flags around the world that have been affected by this damn virus. I thought that was a nice symbol of solidarity during these crazy times.