Brunch and The Little Prince

I went to Sai Ying Pun today and tried two different cafes: one for brunch and another one for coffee and dessert. Neither of them were that great πŸ˜‚ It’s hard to find good western breakfast/brunch food in Asia. And as you may know, I find it very difficult to stray from western breakfasts. Lunch or dinner I can have any other cuisine, no problem, but when it comes to breakfast/brunch, it’s hard for me not to have a western style meal. The only thing that has been able to pull me away from this restrictive habit is yum cha! πŸ˜‚

I read more of my Chinese version of The Little Prince πŸ‘ Well, it’s probably better described as “studying”, as it is by no means a leisurely read! πŸ˜‚

There are a ton of new words on this page, and there were a few sentences that I found quite difficult to understand, so I had to refer to the English version to get the translation. But I’m really enjoying the process, and the story, so despite the absolute slowness of my progress, I still somehow magically push on. I don’t know when I’ll finish the book! I’m reading about a page a day, as that is all the time I’m willing to spend studying it, since I have other commitments in my life! πŸ˜‚ But maybe there will come a turning point where all the vocab will somehow magically come together, and slowly I won’t have to look up so many words, and I can just figure out from the context the meaning of the remaining few words that I don’t know. Maybe…?? Here’s to hoping! πŸ˜‚

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Karate, yum cha, and my new book

We went to watch a karate comp at Happy Valley today. We got there pretty early (well, early for us πŸ˜†) as one of N’s friends was competing earlier in the day, and he wanted to get there early to watch her event. We ended up staying for pretty much the entire day! But sitting up in the stands is definitely much better than having to wait out the back, waiting for your events to be called and then waiting again for your results 😊

We briefly stepped out for lunch at Causeway Bay, trying yet another yum cha place. Yum cha is everywhere in this city, it’s sooo good! Well I guess it is The Source πŸ˜† The one we went to today, though, was pretty mediocre and very overpriced, so we won’t be going back there again! I’m surprised it wasn’t all that great, because there was a crowd outside when we arrived, waiting to be seated, so I was expecting the food to be good. Nope, that wasn’t the case at all πŸ˜’

Anyway, we’re going back to watch the second day of the comp tomorrow, so maybe we’ll try another yum cha restaurant nearby. Or maybe we’ll just eat something completely different and move on from yum cha, that’s a possibility too 😊 Let’s see how we feel tomorrow…

I also finally decided to buy Antoine de Saint- ExupΓ©ry’s The Little Prince – in Chinese 😱 They had a good version of it at The Commercial Press, this bookstore that caters specifically for children. One of my local friends introduced me to it, and this is the first time I’ve returned to it. It’s a treasure trove of books for Chinese language learners like me! I wanted to buy a paper version so I could write in it to help me learn the language. I’m three pages in and I absolutely love it! I want to quickly finish the English version so I know the story, to help me with the translating part when I read it in Chinese. It’s at a really good difficulty level, it’s not too hard like high school level books, but it’s also not too easy, like books aimed at infants. It’s at primary school level, which I think is perfect for me. I’m not looking up every second word, but enough so that I am learning new words. The sentence structures are at my level as well, so I haven’t come across anything yet where I was like “wth does this mean??” πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Plus I love the author’s writing style – in the English version, of course. I wouldn’t know what any Chinese writing style is at this stage in my learning! πŸ˜‚ Anyhow, long story short, I’m so happy I bought it!

Semblance of a typical Sunday

Little Miss woke me up at around 7am πŸ˜’ Our usual morning routine is after giving her breakfast, we go sit in the study together until she gets bored with me and hops off my chair and sleeps somewhere else in the room. So even though I was half-asleep this morning, I knew she’d want to do the same thing this morning. She couldn’t care less that it was a Sunday πŸ˜† So I sat in the study just surfing the net, trying to stay awake, to keep her company. She’s like a baby sometimes, I tell you! πŸ‘ΆπŸ»

So at around 9am, she finally let me head back to bed to get a bit more sleep.

And the next time I woke up, it was 12 noon! 😲 Wahhh! So I scrambled to get ready, so that we could go have our usual weekend yum cha brunch before they all close on us so they can prepare for their dinner service.

After brunch, we just headed back home and N just picked up his gear and headed to karate. I went down to a nearby laundromat to wash one of our bath mats, as our own washing machine doesn’t like it when we wash it in ours πŸ€ͺ It always gives us an error message whenever we try to wash it at home. And Kitty has thrown up on it, so it definitely needed a wash. The washing machine at the laundromat is industrial size in comparison to ours, so the lone mat looked tiny inside it. I should’ve taken a photo. This one could definitely handle this teeny mat! πŸ˜‚

I then just went home and watched another episode of Love O2O, a Chinese drama that I initially started watching just for listening practice, but now I’m actually getting into it 😊 Not my favourite Chinese drama, and it doesn’t even come close to any of my favourite Korean ones (they reign supreme in this world, I tell you πŸ˜†), but it’s not too bad. The episodes are getting better as the series goes on πŸ‘

It was a fun Sunday, despite the rather disrupted start to the day!

Friends, language learning and generally just having fun

We met up with a friend who’s here in HK for the weekend. We took her to yum cha, of course 😊 She apparently just turned 21! I didn’t realise she was so young. I made a comment saying that we are probably as old as her parents, which she agreed with πŸ˜‚ So not sure why she likes hanging out with us oldies. I guess dancing just brings everyone together, regardless of age 😊

N went to karate, while I practised some more of my Chinese. I’ve been really focusing on my speaking and listening, to get it up to the same level as my reading and writing. I don’t want to get to a point where I can read a Chinese novel, and still not be able to hold a basic conversation! I’m still learning new words, so I’m automatically still working on my reading, but it’s just not where my focus is right now. I just want to speak more and listen more at this stage, and be as exposed to the spoken language as much as I can.

YouTube has been an absolute goldmine, a seemingly endless resource for all things related to improving these very skills. There is a ton of stuff specifically for my level, and then of course there’s more stuff that’s aimed at native speakers. I’m obviously just looking for Chinese resources, but I’m sure you could find almost any other language on there. It’s pretty crazy.

And then in the evening, we watched an episode of The Exorcist’s Meter, our current Cantonese drama. We’re getting close to the end, so we’ll have to find a new one soon! 😊

HK food and HK drama

We went and had yum cha again today. We can’t get enough of yum cha, I tell you! And there are sooo many places to try, surely we can’t run out of options, even if we went somewhere new every single day for a whole year πŸ˜„

We left the house thinking it was quite warm, so we were both wearing shorts. But then as soon as we left the restaurant, the temperature had dropped and it had also started raining! I was freezing! πŸ₯Ά

So I decided to stop by one of those bajillion tea places that you can find all over the city to order myself a cup of tea, to help me deal with this sudden onslaught of cold weather that I wasn’t dressed for. But the guy who took my order spoke very poor English, and forgot to ask whether I wanted hot or cold tea – and I forgot to specify – and he chose to give us cold! Arghhh! Why would you do that?? But the good thing about cold tea is that it just stays cold, so I took my time drinking it all afternoon… 😌

We then just watched a few episodes of our current Cantonese drama, The Exorcist’s Meter, before N headed off to karate. I then spent the rest of the evening on my Chinese, learning a few new words and reviewing recent ones. I still don’t think I’m doing enough practice on my listening. But listening is so haaard and mentally exhausting! 😩 Native speakers speak so damn fast. But I must persevere and just get to the next level, where I can hear even more words. I still think I’m expecting too much from myself at this stage of my learning. Still, I must push on and expose myself more and more to the language.

So despite the crappy weather that decided to stay all day with us, I think the day didn’t turn out too badly in the end 😊

A few of my big, audacious goals

I went to Admiralty today to try a different yum cha place πŸ˜‹ Like I’ve said before, I can’t get enough of yum cha in this city! πŸ˜‚ We’ve tried all different yum cha places, from traditional fare to more contemporary styles, at all different price points. What we haven’t been adventurous enough to try, though, are places where there is no English on the menu 😱 Well, we did in fact go to one that didn’t, but luckily they had the English on posters up on the walls inside the restaurant, along with the Chinese and a photo of the dish, so we just matched up the Chinese with what was on the menu πŸ˜‚ It was tough going, but we got what we wanted in the end πŸ‘ But I want to get my Chinese proficiency to a point where I can just get by with the Chinese menu alone πŸ’ͺ I know most of the dishes that I like, but now I just have to learn the ones that N likes, and I think we’ll be right – when we’re feeling brave enough to walk in to such a restaurant, that is! πŸ˜‚

Have I mentioned one of my fitness goals lately? Well I decided sometime in March that my goal for the year is to do 5,000 push-ups and 5,000 squats 😲 OMG actually writing it out is freaking me out a little πŸ˜‚ Anyway, it’s my big audacious fitness goal for the year. But the thing is, I did the calcs and from whenever I came up with this goal, I only had to do about 20 of each every day in order to reach my goal by the end of the year. Now that is more doable! I find the push-up goal much harder, as I have next to no upper body strength. Prior to setting this goal, I could barely do ten. And I do the easier push-ups too. So pushing the daily target to 20 is pretty damn ambitious! I’m a little behind, but not overly so. I try and do a little more on days when I’m feeling more pumped, to make up for the days when I don’t reach my daily target. I’m having quite a fair bit of fun, actually. And I’m starting to notice the improvement in my upper body strength at the gym too, I can actually lift heavier weights now! πŸ’ͺ Good stuff πŸ‘

I’m telling you, I love this quote: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in day out.” Even though “consistency” is no longer my theme for the year, the mentality that it brought me last year is also spilling into this year, which is absolutely awesome πŸ‘

Yum cha, shopping and karaoke

We went and had yum cha again today, I can’t get enough of yum cha 😊 If all I do while we’re in HK is to just yum cha my way through this city the entire time, then I will put it down as a successful stint here πŸ˜†

We then went shopping around the Central area, looking for some trans-seasonal pieces, which we don’t really have. SG is obviously summer at its best, and then we have winter gear for holidays in colder weather. But we don’t really have anything for autumn and spring, just those pieces that are light enough for the warmer temps but still provides just enough warmth as well when it cools down. It’s weird being back in a city with four seasons, actually, even though that’s what my hometown has and is what I’ve lived with almost all my life before we moved from there.

We had a bit of a rest back home before we went out at about 9:30pm for some karaoke 😳 I do not like karaoke, and I only went today to keep N company. I haven’t been for about twenty years, and if I can help it, I won’t be back for another twenty πŸ˜‚ It’s just not my thing. The guys who went today were full-on karaoke junkies, I don’t know if that was a good thing or not. They were basically fighting each other for the mike! Good for people like me who don’t like karaoke, at least no one was shoving a mike in my face, as they were all too keen to have one for themselves! πŸ˜‚ There were probably around 15 people in the room tonight, with around 4-5 mikes. At one point, everyone was up screaming at the top of their lungs, belting out the lyrics to a Queen or ABBA song. So like I said, I don’t know if it was a good thing or not that the room was full of serious karaoke fans! πŸ˜† But I did try to enjoy myself. And at least now I remember why I won’t be going again anytime soon πŸ˜†