Tuesday, July 31, 2012

World's Apart

These are a few photos that our friend Alex captured in Mozambique.  Seeing these photos instantly brought me right back to place that seems a world away. 

 I love that Alex was able to get this shot. This is our late arrival to the remote bush village after traveling in the back of a truck for five hours. The kids came running to greet our caravan.

 I'm trying to smile, but ouch those braids seriously hurt!
 This woman could not get over seeing her picture in our camera! She was also the oldest looking Mozambican that we saw- I can't help but wonder her age in a country where the life expectancy is 33.

 And just when I was feeling like I wanted to hop on the first plane back, I saw this picture reminding me of some of the rougher realities of African life (:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Visit from Vincent

Last night we experienced a first for us in Hong Kong, a direct hit from Typhoon Vincent.  Hong Kong issued around 1 am a T10 warnig signal (the strongest alert) but we didn’t need to check the weather to know we were getting “hit”. This was the equivalent of what Americans would call a category 2 hurricane. The trees outside our  house were shaking violently and we saw branches fly off.  Not to be dramatic, but the gusts reminded me of labor. There would be a lull for about 3 minutes then a huge rush that howled, whistled and shook everything, then it would get calmer again.  Of course nobody in the house could sleep as we all braced ourselves for the next gust.  We were even creating a plan as to what we would do if the windows broke from the wind or a flying object.
      Our power was out the whole night and around 3:30 Jason realized that there was water running down our internal staircase. He tried to dry it with towels but there was way to much. Soon the water was seeping into our house. He woke me up and I began mopping in the candlelight. Eventually we identified that the water was coming from our rooftop that wasn't draining. Not surprising since it had dumped 14 inches in one day. When Josiah got out of bed we were still dealing with situation. He said, "I like that sound of water" as if we had installed a fountain in the hallway. 
 Jason sweeping water off the roof at 5 am in the storm. What a stud!
 We took a walk today and there were trees down everywhere. The construction site right next to our house was a mess as well with the bamboo scaffolding all twisted and even a crane down.
This uprooted tree is in front of our new village
 . . . and this is the sidewalk!

There was definitely a silver lining to Vincent, as I got two "typhoon days" for summer school.  Not bad for a 10 day program. And with just moving in, there is no shortage of things to do around home.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


We're back!  We really hit the ground running upon returning to Hong Kong.  Here are a few bullet points to sum it up.
  • Josiah is very happy to be back and likes to remind us throughout the day how much he loves Hong Kong. He especially loves beeping his own octopus card when he rides the buses and trains. 
  • I am very happy to have a new iPhone- I think I'm in love!  In fact I am writing this blog using the phone's wireless hotspot since we don't' have internet yet. I know, I'm a nerd. 

  • We’re back to the stroller as our mode of transport. We bough a buggy board and are loving getting around this way. My feet are pretty sore getting back into all the walking, so at least the kids are getting a break.  Our goal is for Josiah to walk most of the time, but for those tired, rushed, hot or rainy moments this is a life savor. 

  • We went house hunting all Friday and were disappointed that the housing estate, Oceanaire, we had our hearts set on moving into was just too expensive.  Rental rates have nearly doubled since we moved here six years ago! In the end we found a brand new village house that I think we are going to like (see above)
  • Brief explanation of a “village”: while most of HK is comprised of high rises, there are clusters of 3 story village houses.  Some of the villages have been around over a hundred years.  Basically it is less like living in New York City and more like living in mainland China. We have never lived in one before because they are usually further from the train stations, known for mosquitos, and lacking the facilities (pool, playroom etc). However we are starting to see the upside of a village, a more open floor plan, being closer to nature, and of course cheaper rent (: 
  • I should clarify we are only renting the middle level of the village house. Our village is only 5 minutes from a picturesque beach, 5 minutes to a shopping centers and 7 minutes to the station.  This is the smallest place we’ve ever lived in (700 sq feet) with only 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, but the open floor plan makes it doable for us. Besides, after our family all living in 1 room together for a whole year or car or motorhome- anything is a step up. 
 Outside of our house looks like a third world country. Seriously, we look at that trash pile. Fortunately I feel very at home in third world countries (:  

   Our landlord Mr. Lee is so nice! He was born in this village and has lived here his whole life. 
This is Mr. Lee's papaya grove, just a few steps from our house.
 This is the view out of kitchen window while I'm washing dishes. I love it!
  • Last Tuesday we hired some movers to get our things from 5 different houses where we’ve been stashing them (thank you so much friends!!!) Here are the movers hauling our couch up the balcony.  I’ve been teaching summer school during the day while Jason has been trotting around the city with the kids tracking down washing machines, refrigerators, and other essential furniture. After Thursday we should be all set. Pictures of the inside to come . . .
  •  Today the heat index was 140 F. I’m not kidding, see for yourself.  I was out running errands in the heat and I will admit I got a little cranky.

  • Tonight is our first night sleeping in our new place!!!  We had dinner on the floor, followed by a glorious tropical thunder storm that broke the heat. Glory!!  After dinner we walked down to the beach and took a deep breath to soak in the fact that we are getting settled again. 

  • Jason is an awesome “Mr. Mom” and the kids love having him as their primary care giver for these two weeks.  He may be a teeny weeny bit excited to get back to his old job, as it will feel like a vacation compared to being with the kids 24- 7, 365 days (his words not mine)

  • I am teaching games to 3-4 year old this summer. Although I am acclimated to this age level, I've never taught preschool before.  There have been wet faces, wet pants and I nearly lost my voice- but look how cute they are! One class didn’t get my name straight so they call me “Mrs. Pink”.  I kind of like it so I haven’t corrected them. 
That is enough for me tonight. If you are reading this can you leave me a comment? I’m not sure who is following me anymore. Cheers!