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Hong Kong -- Month 1

Something to share about my life in Hk
It's been almost a month and friends are asking how have I been settling down so far?
I would say the first week was tough. Didn't help that Hk in summer is way hotter than Sg. And much more humid.
Also everything feels old and inconvenient.
Lots of walking and space is a luxury, even at home.
(Even as I type this on the Mtr, there's a woman whose shoulder is forcing me to stand in an awkward manner).
It felt like a downgrade in lifestyle.
And I couldn't sleep knowing that my loved ones will be leaving me soon and I will be all alone.
And alone I was. And that was when I forced myself to 整顿心情。Then I started work. And the search for a permanent apartment. And in between, what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Three weeks into this new life in Hk, something lifted along the way.
Things are actually quite convenient, if you take the effort to locate it, convenience that is.
It's easy to top up ur phone, and gosh, public transport is really amazing! If you would give it a try. It can be trial and error (most time error) at first, but honestly, things are really not as it looks. And the Mtr travels so fast I rarely have time to read and reply chats every morning! Do beware though on escalators or in train that usually the person who carries the most bulky haversack, is usually the big hulk type. If they as much as swing to one side and you happen to be in hitting distance, flying off your feet is an almost certainty.

I found space. Space within myself. Living in Hk as a foreigner, you have to love living w yourself. And when you are alone, you don't need that much physical space afterall. But there's mental and emotional space for you to explore. Having a date with yourself, or with mr roast duck on a sunny afternoon walk. When you are hungry, you will be determined to find the place and not compromise or settle by stepping into any cha chan teng.

Some observations:
I see everyone using hp here but not many using power bank. They have super power to charge their phones?

There are good cha chan teng and there are horrible ones.

Pouches (forgot the official name for it) is a big thing for me now. Hk style brewed tonic soup in pouches, porridge in pouches.... Just put in boiling water and voila, no mess, fuss free food.

Octopus card. One card that pays for virtually everything.

Reading the map. That in itself is a discovery! After getting lost many times, I realized the map has to be viewed upside down!

Noise. I was asked if Hk is still as noisy as before. I said: noisier! Now w the mainlanders making more noise and drowning the hkngers.
This is accentuated by the table sharing culture here. So there are a few types of people in a typical Hk eatery:
Mainlanders who will ask if they serve beer (eateries with fast table turns don't serve beer in order to have fast table turns)
Loud hongkongers speaking in Cantonese
The more refined ones who basically just order, eat and leave. All done in silence and without looking up from their food.
Non hongkongers and non mainlanders, feeling awkward and amazed at the same time.

Walk. Everywhere seems walkable. And it actually is. I also realized that the harder u try to find a place, especially those in small lanes, the greater the chance of walking in circles, in summer heat. And then, when u don't look for it, u find it effortlessly! And usually while you are looking for another impossible to locate place. Peel street for instance.
And the slope. Wow, big thigh muscles just got bigger along the way. Wonder if it works stomach muscle when going upslope?

Oh and those water droplets dripping on your head sporadically but often enough to irritate you as you wonder whether it's from the Aircon or did someone just spit from above. Well, so far, it hasn't affected skin condition...
Feeling really blessed with all the wishes that were pouring in today! The past one year has been a year of big decisions. Along the way, I have made many new friends and reconnected with some old time friends. A year ago, it was never in my wildest imagination that I would be experiencing all the trials and tribulations, the joy and tears and ultimately, feeling enriched! I feel that my life has changed without me changing my life deliberately...
Perhaps the universe has more in store for me and I can't wait to embrace everything ahead ! This time round, with clarity and purpose. :-)
To all my friends, new and old, my next journey starts on June 20th and it will be in another territory - Hong Kong!

My learning journey March 11, 2012

Ray played back the video footage took during the hospital stay. One of the scenes was Ethan feeding me breakfast. He meticulously scooped the porridge and brought the spoon to my mouth. One can see that he was inexperienced and in fact I think that was the first time he has fed anyone... And ray commented on my expression, or rather, the lack of it...
If I was touched beyond words by his gesture, no one could see it or sense it. Most important is Ethan must have been disappointed with my 'cool' expression. Truth is, I was very very touched!
I am so sorry my beloved son, I guess I was afraid to show the softer side of me. I will learn to be more open, especially with you...

I love you baby, everyday.
Motherhood really brings things back to basics....
The period dividing pre n post motherhood :
The first pee, the first poo, the first bath... Are all milestones... And I m only referring to mummy's !!

Caylyn stayed awake for most of her first night at home.... She was keeping the confinement lady awake the whole night too!
Lots of activities that she did: fussed, cried, poo-ed twice and also threw up her milk...
While mummy only did the insurmountable task of peeing once hehe...

Princess Caylyn - February 24, 2012

Breaking radio silence... With a wail !!
Pls share our joy in welcoming:
A) princess Caylyn
B) our new "alarm clock"
C) Ethan's lil sister
D) all of the above

She's a hearty 3.495 kg and measures 51 cm.
Baby and mum are well and resting at ward 509 at Thomson Medical center
P/s : daddy survived too !!

An island called Marriage....

I received a text from a close girl friend recently, telling me she felt liberated that her husband finally admitted that he has an affair, and that they are now going through divorce proceedings. I was reminded of one lunch session we had a few years ago when she was heavily pregnant with her second child. There were three of us, three ladies who went through a lot in life and achieved where we are now based on hard work and never say die attitude.
At the same time, we're hopeless when it comes to relationships... giving without asking for returns....
until this very day, i still remember what she said about marriage in general... and about our marriages.
She said, it's like rowing a boat to an island. On that island, is your husband and the island represents your marriage. there are people who leave that boat on that island as an insurance/just in case one wants to bail out....
we were joking that one of us left the husband on the island and rowed away in the boat, another sent the husband away in the boat, while she pushed the boat out to sea, never to see it again and chose to stay on the island at all costs.
That decision has stuck with her even until some time ago when she called me out of the blue to ask me about divorce lawyer and proceedings, and i still sensed the same decision last year when i met her again and she briefly confided in me.....
but i think the last straw and final blow has been dealt and this time, she no longer finds it necessary to hold on to an island that has emptied out all emotions.
she was the one that said "my heart was squeezed when i saw you this morning" when i was an emotional wreck back in 1997/98,
she was the one who shed tears of happiness for me during my wedding....
she was the one who mentored me and encouraged me when i first joined the company...
yet, now, i can't really do much for her...
i sent her my hugs and urged that we meet again soon to catch up and that i am there for her if she needs to talk... and i hope we meet soon....
Can hardly believe it's going to be a new year in less than 30days....
In a few days, we will be bidding goodbye to the place we call home for the last couple of years.
This place is full of warmth, despite its shortcomings.
I can still vividly remember signing on the dotted line in late 2006, then watched the whole apartment being built from scratch, collecting the key in mid-2008 and shifting in in September 2008.
R and I enjoyed the process of planning and seeing the fruition of our ideas and collaboration.
We are now in the midst of planning for the next home...
The feeling is different, but not any less exciting.
A much bigger place, on a much higher floor, and a much better view.
I cant wait.... but i'll have to....cos it will be worth it !

In the meantime, I love you baby, everyday!

Offsite... Onsite....

In hk for the weekend.... Not for leisure but an offsite for sales and trading. A full day of meetings and mingling.... N I got distracted. Haven't written for so long and I have always wished I don't always have to start this way... But it can't be helped... I have travelled half the way around the world and back last week, had 8 to 10 trips in a month in july, practically living out of a suitcase...
Life has been hectic.... Work mostly and emotional partly...
I think what stood out this year was I went from owning one apartment to three apartments!
Some time earlier this year, r n I bought waterbank together.... I think it's a big sign of commitment n he was the one driving it, unlike ecoville so I m more than glad to participate.
Then for some reasons.... Or perhaps I shd blame the property fever that wraps Singapore and close colleagues n friends that I thought it's opportune to look for another apartment. The plan is to get something permanent for my parents retirement and also something bigger for everyone....
Then, what was initially supposed to be a six month slow search materialized within a month....
Saw a unit we like and after what seems to be a torturous negotiation process, we bought flame tree park...

And then, the decision to sell ecoville took concrete shape and that was another stressful period that I m glad to say now that I can look back and smile.

So there.... There's definitely a lot more I want to document about the past few months... And I will... But I want to take some quiet moments to think about where exactly I am and where I want to be.... Hopefully something will take shape or sense soon...
In the meantime,
I love u baby, everyday ....

Cooking up a bond

Contrary to what a lot of people may think, I actually like to cook...
I find cooking a meal therapeutic n destressing... And it is rewarding when Ethan showed me he enjoyed it and more often than not, wants me to cook instead of eating out....
I can only do a few familiar dishes though... But have recently managed to learn a few more....
From who?
Someone whom until some months back, I would never have imagined him in our apartment, what more in the kitchen, and for at least three consecutive weeks running now...
Someone who r calls 'dad'...
It all started with an innocent idea, that r's dad has time to kill before kids' swim lessons and was resistant to the idea of taking a rest at Eco..
So, I asked if he could impart some of his culinary skills to me.... And the rest is history...
His HP prawn was a hit with the kids, the soup that has all the ingredients that the kids like, beef beehoon soup n beef cooked in two different ways...
And last weekend, it was special macaroni soup.... Yumzzzz...
Next week it will be roast chicken!!! I can't wait ....

All the cooking sessions were filled with laughter as uncle never failed to crack us up, and we wrap up with having a meal together.... Something that was beyond my furthest imagination ....

I will always cherish these moments...
Last week, it felt as if a bond has formed... After lunch, uncle, Ethan and I were seated at the dining table... Ethan was playing computer, I was doing some admin work on my laptop and uncle was reading the Sunday times.... We chatted casually and it was comfortable...

Sundays may never be the same again, and in a delightful and friendly way... In a way that brings a smile to my face...

Geneva (part 2)

I havent written on this.... couldnt bring myself to do it for a while...
but now i can, because i have calmed down and the emotional stage has passed.

in the two weeks since R and I departed from Geneva, i was shuffling between having a nervous breakdown and full of hope and anticipation...

In the meantime, R tried to help me deal with it... but i could see that he couldnt really relate to how I feel... I see his perspectives and that was : if I have tried my best and still didnt get the offer, then it may be because it is not a good fit and i shouldnt take it personally and there really is nothing i should feel bad about... unless i havent given it my best shot...

I did not hear anything until about two weeks later... and no, i did not get the job...

i was filled with disappointment and at the same time... relieved that i no longer have to endure the torture of uncertainty and wait....

it pains him to see me like this and yet i need to pain.... for a while..
i know that for some episodes in my life, where it involves decisions and possible changes... my emotion will climb to a crescendo before leveling off... i cant go from a flat emotional platform to another flat emotional platform without climbing some ladder or falling into some cracks.....
but i know with certainty that i will eventually settle in the flat emotional platform....

when the headhunter called to break the news, it was a thursday evening and R and I were having Korean BBQ... and i was glad he was with me... We didnt say much after that but being near each other during such times already meant much was being said...

Come Friday, i know i have crossed the peak of my emotional upheaval pertaining this matter and we went for a nice Italian dinner... we shared a lot and I told R that sometimes, i dont need a solution to every problem, i dont need him to crack his brain and formulate a solution or think about my problem as a problem that he is responsible for solving... sometimes, i just need him to be there, holding me and sharing how i feel.......

i think this Geneva episode also makes us understand each other better...

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