Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Me

Jo-san! (that means good morning in Cantonese but I know I spelled it wrong)

It's Monday night and I just got back from seeing some of the most magnificent views from The Peak, the tallest point on HK island that overlooks the entire city. I chose to do this tonight because I wanted to celebrate my one-month anniversary in style! And it didn't disappoint. It was a pretty night (less visible air pollution than usual) so you could see across Hong Kong Bay to Kowloon pretty clearly. I will try to upload some pictures to share but not sure they will capture the amazingness (is that a word) of this magical place I now call my home. One of the coolest things about living in Asia is that nobody makes fun of me for taking a bazillion pictures and bringing my camera everywhere!!! But I am developing a serious case of "camera envy" so before too long I will invest in a new lens. Any recommendations?

The only bad thing about going to The Peak tonight was that I missed dinner and much to my parent's dismay I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I got home. I don't think PB & jelly has ever tasted so good. There's something comforting about it that makes me soooo happy. The problem is I have to ration out the peanut butter because it's almost $10 a jar and anyone who knows me knows that I can take down a jar of peanut butter in a few days. Speaking of food (again), I went to a local, traditional dim sum restaurant for lunch last week with my work buddies Eunice and Harris and ate goose! What's more disturbing is that I really liked it minus all the bones. What has gotten into me here? I never try new foods at home but the Chinese really know what they are doing so I keep eating...thank goodness I live on the side of a mountain and walk up/down the mountain almost every time I leave my apartment. These glutes are made for walking!

This weekend was interesting. I went to dinner at a French restaurant called Pastis with the "American Girls" Friday night (we have to stick together b/c there aren't many of us over here) followed by a drink at a nearby bar. It was the perfect evening after a long week at work and I was home by 11:15pm.

Saturday morning I woke up, showered, even shaved my legs, got dressed and took a cab down to the central pier #9 to meet a friend of a friend from Charlotte who I still haven't met in person despite her best efforts to include me! and 20 of her closest friends on a junk trip (aka boat ride around the islands) for the day. However, it was raining pretty heavily at 9:30am so when I arrived at the dock I realized there was no way I was going to enjoy being on a boat for 8 hours in the rain, especially when I could possibly be seasick...Cate and Sandy this probably brings back funny memories of us shark diving in Gansbaii Island!!!  So I left the pier and went to eat breakfast at an organic restaurant with my friend Ashley instead. We sat and talked for nearly two hours when we realized the sun was now shining brightly up above (can anyone say Charlie Brown)??? Just my luck that it ended up being a gorgeous day and I missed out on the junk.

It was still a good day b/c Ashley took me to South Bay where we swam in the water and lived to tell about it. Many people (locals AND expats) have issues with the waters around HK island - they say the water is polluted and dirty...my boss won't even let her dog drink it! While it's certainly not Moorea or Bermuda it's not as bad as Long Island Sound in the early 90s with all the syringes. I still can't believe I swam in the water since it wasn't clear (ever since I started watching Shark Week a few years ago I haven't dipped my big toe in water that I couldn't see through). Did you know that something close to 80% of shark attacks happen in 5 ft. of water or less? SCARY.

Saturday night is when things got interesting and I am not sure I should even include it in my blog, but the whole point of writing this is to capture all my experiences (good and bad). A group of girls went to dinner Saturday night at one of my favorite restaurants called Cicada, folllowed by dancing to music from a Phillipino 80s band at a bar called Insomnia. All was good. But we left and went to another place called Sense that was SO NOT MY SCENE. We walked up two narrow flights of stairs to a smoke-invested bar where people were playing (banging) bongos, strumming guitars, dancing and high on something...so I nicknamed it the "opium den" and left after 15 minutes. A work colleague said he's been here almost a year and has never seen drugs. I've been here a month and have seen drugs twice already....what does that say about me?! My parents would be so proud :)

But yesterday made up for Saturday night's debacle. I woke up without an alarm clock at 9AM and went for a 90-minute walk on Bowen Road, followed by meeting up with my friend Verity, her husband and 10 of their friends at a floating restaurant called Jumbo. It was a great time and the free-flowing champagne didn't hurt either :) I left the restaurant around 3:45 and met up with two other friends, Julie and Long. We got foot massages followed by sangria and a light dinner. Jules gets the award for finding the funniest sign so far - HK is filled with funny signs, like "No Hawking" which means no spitting (it's somewhat common here but a lot more common in mainland Chna) - I have a picture of it to upload one of these days -- it simply states "do not scream" which was hilarious since we were in the middle of the quiet massage parlor. You probably had to be there to fully appreciate the humor but we were in a silent treatment room with mostly locals. Nobody was even whispering so the fact they had a sign about screaming was pretty ironic.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy living in Hong Kong? Everyday is something new, bright and shiny - I hope it never stops. I am meeting some of the most interesting people which makes an already wonderful experience even better. I feel like for the first time ever I am living the life I was intended to have - and it is exhilirating! I certainly miss certain things from home like "low-fat" anything, 100-calorie snacks, Banana Republic, Big Daddy's, and my house but I can say with complete conviction that I haven't been homesick...yet. Of course I miss my friends (especially the BFFs), my family and a certain someone else but overall there is so much going on here all the time that my biggest challenges are trying to manage conflicting priorities (meaning trying to avoid double-booking social engagements) and trying not to go broke while enjoying life!

It's now very late for a school night so I am signing off. I have a pretty busy week - team dinner Wednesday night, girls night Thursday and sheesha bar Friday night. This weekend will be spent looking at apartments (wish me luck).

Joyce - when are we going to skype so I can see that belly getting bigger?
Tracy/Tara/Danna/LP - when are you coming to visit?
Jess - get a FB account or else!!!
Lizzie - bring it this Sunday night!

Love and miss,