Mindfulness and passports

I started reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s actually not too bad so far. It’s helping me become much more present and aware of what’s going on around me. I don’t think I can ever become fully enlightened, which isn’t really my goal anyway. I just want to lead a more mindful life, not get too anxious about things and just try to really experience each moment. It’s doing exactly that so far, so I’m happy! 👍

I also organised stuff to get our passports renewed. Fat chance we’ll be travelling overseas this year, but our passports are expiring soon, and I want to be ready for when things do start returning to normal. I don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute. So we got our photos taken yesterday; printed out the application forms today; and I’ve also booked our appointment at the consulate on Wednesday 👍 Hopefully the photos will be fine when I go pick them up tomorrow 🤞 For the price I paid for them, they better be!

And because no one is travelling right now, bookings are eeeasy to make at the consulate at the moment! Their website says they’re usually booked out at least one week in advance, so we should take that into consideration if we have travel plans. But because of the rona, no one’s travelling, so I could’ve made a booking for tomorrow if I wanted to! 😱 Crazy days! But I’m not complaining ☺️

Open to suggestions

It’s Monday and also the first of the month. I love fresh starts like this, especially a double whammy like today! 😁 It just feels like the slate has been wiped especially clean or something 😆

Not that I had a very productive day anyway 😔 I did some research for things to do for N’s birthday later this month. I thought we could do a staycation and/or maybe go for a couple’s massage or something. I’m hoping hotels are offering some cool discounts at the moment, given the current pandemic situation. But apparently spas are still closed because of the rona – grr! So there goes that idea 😒

He’s probably not going to want to go hiking in the HK heat, so anything outdoors is out of the question. So unless I can come up with something interesting soon, we may just be going out for lunch or dinner. I was hoping to do something more interesting than that, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know! 🙏

Seven locally transmitted cases have been recorded in the last few days 😔 There goes our nice record of having no local cases for over two weeks. Dannng. When will all this end, sighhh… When (if?) they develop a vaccine, perhaps…

And when will we feel safe to travel overseas again? I always just took it for granted that I could fly whenever and wherever I wanted to 😔 It’s funny how you appreciate things so much more when it’s taken away from you. #gratitude

Travel

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 😔

PMQ – Central, HK

We decided to walk around PMQ this afternoon, after a quick brunch at a nearby cafe. I like PMQ, I just don’t really go there very often because there isn’t really much nearby. I have to make a deliberate effort to go there because it’s not like it’s on the way to anything else. I like the layout of the place, and I like all the eclectic stuff that they have there. It reminds me of Newtown in Sydney, just that the shops are all in one building, instead of scattered at street level. Newtown HK style 😆 So if you’re ever in HK (maybe when international travel returns to normal, whatever that means in this new era that we’re living in 😔) and want to find an interesting gift or souvenir or just something interesting for yourself, I highly recommend a trip to this place.

And then we just watched a few episodes of Community later in the evening to round out quite a relaxing weekend 😌

How was your weekend?

A bit of perspective would be good

Hmmm… I’m just not having a good week. I don’t feel like I even did anything productive today 😔 I know I did, but my brain seems to be ignoring all that and it’s just focussing on the fact that what I set out to do today (write up the script for my next YouTube video) didn’t happen. Why focus on the negative?? 🤨 Because some good things also did get done today!

For example, I finished reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, a children’s book by EL Konigsburg. I’ve read a few children’s books lately, and I actually haven’t been all that impressed with them. But I actually really liked this one! I would definitely recommend this to my 10-12 year old self 😊 Now I’m thinking that my next fiction novel should be one that’s for adults 😆

And I’m also connecting with a few friends on Facebook. I’m trying to be a bit more active on social media these days to try and stay in touch with friends, especially my friends in Oz who I don’t see much these days (and not at all at the moment 😔).

And I did do some research for my next YouTube video today too. Now I just need to get a better idea of what I want included in the actual video. Okay sure, I didn’t write out a script like I had wanted to, but I’m on my way there, so I have done something.

So even though I might not have gotten the script written up, it wasn’t a complete waste of a day. Get a bit of perspective, sheesh! 🙄

Bread, technology and anime!

N baked some more bread again today, which was so nice 😋 After tasting freshly baked bread at home, it’s hard for me to buy bread from the supermarket now! 😆 He only made a small amount this time, and I want to have toast for breakfast tomorrow, so I decided to make some dough myself tonight so that it’s ready to be baked tomorrow. He’s way ahead of me in terms of the number of loaves that he’s baked (he’s probably baked six to my two) so I need to catch up! We’ve been having problems with the bread not rising, so let’s see how this second attempt of mine goes…! 🤞

I also spoke to my parents and my brother and his family. That was nice. We’re literally in different parts of the world now (parents are in Sydney; my brother in Ireland; and me in HK) so we don’t see one another very often. And it seems the rona will make that even harder now 😔 So yay for technology 👍

And then we just watched a few more episodes of One Punch Man. We’ve almost finished the series, I think we only have two or three episodes left and then we’re done. I’m thinking of watching Neon Genesis Evangelion next. It’s a really old anime from 1995, but apparently they’ve been remade into four movies, with the fourth movie due for release sometime later this year. But rather than just watching the movies, I’ve decided to watch the original series first. Although apparently they’ve deviated from the original storyline from the end of movie #3. Just FYI, if you’re interested in the series. So many things to watch! 😆

Past, present and future

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?

Groundhog Day

My days are looking very Groundhog Day like: get up; work; take a break; work some more; take another break; then do some more work. And intersperse that with some Kitty hugs and watching a bit of tv, and you pretty much have my day! 😂

It’s quite sad that we haven’t really had the chance to explore this not-so-new city that we live in. We’d barely been here for six months when the protests started; and then soon after that died down, the coronavirus outbreak occurred and the whole city went into lockdown mode. There are places that I still want to visit in this city, but it’s just not quite the right time to do so 😔

The other thing that I wanted to do this year was take more trips to China, since we are literally right next door now. But again, the coronavirus completely derailed those plans 😔 And any other travel I wanted to do in North Asia is also out of the question for at least another few months yet.

So in the meantime, I’m just working and saving because that’s all I can pretty much do right now!

The perfect storm, unfortunately

I wrote in my post yesterday how I thought the number of COVID-19 cases would go above 190,000 by the time I woke up this morning. But unfortunately, that number had already been surpassed while I was writing yesterday’s post. Instead, 200,000 was what greeted me this morning 😞 10,000 new cases overnight. That is scary. Is this what I’m going to be greeted with each morning for the next few days? Weeks?? 😱 I really hope not.

The Australian PM addressed the nation this morning, apparently. The travel alert now is no travel for Australians to anywhere in the world, the first time this level of alert has ever been enforced in Australia’s history. Unprecedented times. I really hope the countries worst hit can withstand the onslaught of this relentless virus.

Apparently our February rent wasn’t paid, there mustn’t have been enough money in the account when the direct debit was scheduled. So the landlord chased us up for it. I was in the middle of getting the money together to transfer to him, when my mum rang. I was already stressed about not having paid rent, and HSBC’s prehistoric online banking website was annoying me too (it seriously looks like it’s from the 1980s or 1990s, it is that terrible 😒) and the news from this morning also hadn’t helped my mood. So I ended up snapping at her. I really feel bad about it, and I’ll apologise next time I talk to her. She didn’t deserve that at all. I also didn’t want her to think that I had yet another hour just to chit chat, like she has, and even more so with the self-imposed quarantine in Oz at the moment. I just didn’t convey that very well today, unfortunately 😔

So it wasn’t the best day, unfortunately 😔

The seniors

I went to the vet to pick up some meds for Little Miss, and then stopped by a nearby park before heading back home. The park was full of seniors being really active! There were seniors sitting on park benches scattered throughout the park, but there were also others exercising on the various equipment that they have in the park specifically for them. One woman was using a walking stick and using gymnastics style parallel beams for support with the other hand, and she just kept walking back and forth for exercise. So cool 👍 Another guy was using the stationary bike that was in the park; and another group of seniors were playing hacky sack! It was so cool to see so many older people using the park for exercise. It’s such a nice – and free – facility provided by the government. And it’s nice to see equipment that’s for adults too, not just the playground area for kids 👍

One of the supermarket chains in Australia has allowed senior citizens and the less abled to shop between 7-8am today, to give them a chance to shop in relative peace. Those under the age of 60 apparently had to wait outside until 8am. I’m not sure how they monitored this, whether they had to check people’s IDs to make sure that they were ‘of age’ 😆 Regardless, I thought it was an excellent idea. Older people are more vulnerable and move more slowly, so it’s great that they could shop in peace this morning. But unfortunately, the supermarket wasn’t fully stocked anyway, so some people still left empty-handed 😒 That was poorly handled, I thought, so hopefully they’ll improve on that over the coming days.

The number of cases in HK spiked up today, with quite a few imported cases adding to the tally 😔 We’re now up to 167. Peanuts compared to some of the countries in Europe, but still, that’s not a good sign. It means we still don’t have it under control yet either. HK has now enforced a 14-day quarantine to all overseas arrivals, as seven of the ten new cases today had just arrived from overseas. Borders are closing everywhere 😔 The tourism industry must be in terrible pain.

Globally, we are now shy of 190,000 cases. When I wake up tomorrow, we’ll no doubt have ticked over.* Stay safe, and take all the necessary precautions that you need to. We’re in crazy times 😔

* I checked the global numbers right after I finished writing this post. We have ticked over already 😔