Sunday, April 25, 2010

Space Museum

Today we interviewed a helper - more like she interviewed us. She ended up deciding to work for our family! Hurray! She will start working for us on Friday.

After we spoke with her, we headed to the Museum of Science, which didn't last long (and honestly I would not recommend even though they do have a very cool anti-gravity chamber). Mads was really tired and everyone was getting hungry.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our New House

Today we went out to our new house and took measurements - still have to buy beds (for all) as well as a fridge and washer/dryer before we move in.

Good news: 1) We got the cars, 2) we sold our car in Denver, 3) we found a helper.

Bad news: We had to reduce the price on our house in Denver AGAIN. We are hoping to get under contract by the end of the month, before the tax credit deadline. People are so darn picky though - they really like living in the basement in Denver, and ours isn't really livable, or we don't have a place for the parents, or the third bedroom upstairs is too small, or they don't "get" the home office, or it isn't modern enough (c'mon people, the house was built in 1913, if you want modern, why are you looking at an old house?) - very frustrating!

Everyday Lessons

Today Chase learned not to stand under a building in Hong Kong with your mouth open trying to catch the "rain."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hong Kong Botanic Gardens & Zoo

Today we went to the Hong Kong Botanic Gardens. It was really hot and humid. The gardens, like most of the outdoor attractions in Hong Kong, are located on a steep hill, so if you aren't sweating after you step out of the taxi, you will be sweating 5 minutes later. Loads of stairs and uphill paths. I guess one should be able to steer around this problem if one was clever enough to know the name of the entrance at the top of the hill. Only problem is, the main entrance is at the bottom of the hill. So we climbed up and up, Mads walked most of the way and fell asleep in the cab on the way home.

The Botanic Gardens have quite a bit of green and a good collection of animals, but they are all in cages with thick, black metal bars, which makes it sort of hard to actual animals.

Both girls really enjoyed themselves. Chase drank half a bottle of water. And by the end we were all on the look-out for the nearest taxi (with AC). And funny enough, we heard Uncle Courtney's song in the car on the way home, and Chase was overjoyed, "it's Uncle Courtney, Uncle Courtney!"

And in other news, it appears Icky has returned. He is with us most days. He was with us on the subway, in the Gardens and in the taxi home.

At the gardens...

The entrance...

One of the many paths up... up... up...

Some flora and fauna...

Lots of stairs... Mads walked up every one of them (as did Chase).



The skyline...

They had a lot of Lemurs. At least 5 kinds.

Mads looking at monkeys...

No spitting (just in case you were tempted)...

Lovely flowers...

Chase's Classes

So the good news is that the Mandarin tutor told me Chase's Mandarin accent is better than most local Hong Kong children. Bad news - she's lost most of it. Also, she has been in an art class, which, from what I've seen is more a "paint this," kind of class. I came in early and the art teacher was actually painting part of her project for her (hmmmm). Good thing this art class is only a week long, and it gives me an idea of what not to look for -- but at least it gives Chase an opportunity to work on a project and get a little dirty while we dwell in this tiny apartment. You only have to sneeze and it's mess-town everywhere!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Today we went to look at local preschools.
And yes, the MTR is very clean (you are not allowed to eat or drink in paid areas).
Chase has memorized this message and repeats it at every opportunity.
She is probably rather fixated on a place where they prohibit snacks.

We then caught a mini bus, which is like a shared taxi. Less expensive, but just as crazy. The driver has to show you the speed at which he travels (upper left corner).

Here is Chase, taking it all in...

When we arrived, we decided to walk along the waterfront. There are several boats you can pay to take out. Chase was very interested in the "show" advertised below.

Lots of cute little restaurants...

And we took a look at what the local restaurants had on offer...

These fish gave the girls some strange looks...

This was where one school was located. High up and a bit of a walk through the jungle. Quite cool, except there were SO MANY mosquitoes.

And here is Chase, waiting for the mini bus - we were in the middle of nowhere. She refused to use the bathroom at Leapfrog (she really didn't like the school).

And then it was off to a play date - needless to say, by the end of the day, both girls could hardly keep their eyes open. To that end, Chase has really impressed me by her ability to go, and go, and go. And she's not in a car. She's walking. Almost the entire day. It's amazing.

Met some ladies who live in our new town. They seem pretty cool.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Not Afraid Of Crowds

Today we went to Dim Sum (best ever; it tasted fresh and didn't have any extra "parts"), then to City Super (best grocery in HK - we even bought a baby loaf of Tillamook cheddar) and then to Ikea to do some shopping for the house. Unfortunately I forgot the camera, so Hubs caught Chase and the street performer on his camera. By the end, she had attracted quite a crowd!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Car And One House Too Many

So we bought two cars today; they should be ready for pick-up next week, just in time to drive us (and our stuff) out to our new home. Hurray!

Now all we need to do is sell the Volvo and house in Denver. I am not a happy camper when I feel over-extended, which is how I'm feeling right now (something about owning four cars at the same time that makes me feel a little jumpy). I'm okay with moving and traveling, but I have very low tolerance for risk when it comes to money. Maybe because I'm not making any of my own at the moment. Now to figure out how to change that...

Quote of the day: "I love Hong Kong and I never want to leave." - Chase

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hong Kong Museum Of History

Today we tried to go to Teddy Bear Kingdom - after a lot of walking and a Ferry ride, and more walking, we found out it no longer exists. Poor Chase was SO sad. Next on our see/do list was the Space Museum - well, it was closed until 1 p.m. (and we were right outside it at 11 a.m.)

So we hopped a cab to the Hong Kong Museum of History. Such an interesting place! The exhibits were massive in size, and they actually recreated an old town to show how the British and wealthy Chinese lived. And then, exhausted, we ate some lunch and headed home via Star Ferry. Now for a rest before Chase's art class.

These girls stopped me to ask some questions for a survey.
So I had them pose with the girls.
Mads was NOT happy about the situation.
I actually get this look from Mads just about every time I put her down.

Inside the Museum of History...
Bun towers and Chinese dragon costumes.

Chinese opera traditional dress...

Giant guardians made to ward off evil spirits...

A very small part of the reconstructed British town...

And of course, a snack for Chase...

And one of the things I love most about Hong Kong - the old Junks!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hong Kong Art Museum

Today we applied for our residence visas (if only you could see the the photo we took of Mads in the photo booth as she screamed her little head off). The kids and I also went to the Hong Kong Art Museum and then met Hubs up for a doctor's appointment, where we all received the Typhoid vaccine (for upcoming trips to Thailand and Vietnam).

In other news, the house contract seems to coming along. Should have something signed tomorrow/Friday and then will hopefully be into the new house end of next week if all goes well.

Okay, so it wasn't cold or wet. I have no idea why Chase decided to make it look so frigid. I think she just liked her hood.

Chase practiced writing her name on the Museum wall.

And anyone who knows Chase knows it is ALWAYS time for a snack.

And of course, Mads is always game for anything.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Amahs All Around

Not much to report today. Chase and Mads both had a visit with the pediatrician. Mads had her 15-month check-up, while Chase had her 4-year-old check-up. The doctor reported Chase is now in the 75th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight. He said Mads, on the other hand, "has superior growth," with off the charts measurements for height (no wonder she can wear Chase's clothes).

While we were waiting to see the doctor, a Western woman came in, with a 1-month-old baby and an Amah. The woman flopped herself down into the couch. The Amah gently sat down, with the 1-month-old and proceeded to feed her with a bottle. The mom said to me, "being a mom so hard." And she wasn't kidding in the least. It was, however, a bit hard not to laugh as she was SO not doing anything, while her Amah was busy taking care of the baby. This lifestyle, I am finding, is everywhere. People on the streets look at me as if to say, "where is your Amah? Why isn't someone helping you?" In fact, as I went to cross the street, a Filipino woman said to me, "do you need help?" I said, "no thanks, just crossing the street."

After the appointment, both girls were ready for a bite to eat, so we popped into the closest Chinese restaurant. We ordered chicken with noodles, spring rolls (which came out beef and Karo root) and shrimp dumplings. Chase wolfed down the shrimp dumplings and Mads practically rolled in the noodles. I had to wipe the girls down by the end of it. But they had big smiles!!

From there, we hopped on the MTR (subway) and headed back to a Mandarin class I arranged for Chase. She loved it. She was SO happy to be "going to school." Poor girl misses school so much. I have also lined-up art class for her all next week (just 1 hour each class), but I know she will LOVE it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hong Kong Out & About

Today (humid 84 degrees) we went to the flower market and the bird market - and then to Hong Kong Park. The girls loved the flower market; Chase wanted every bouquet. The bird market was interesting, but a bit sad, really. Loads of birds stuck in tiny cages. The Hong Kong park is large, with a walk-through aviary and a four-story playground. There were loads of steps to the playground, though, so by the time we got there we were so exhausted we only played for about 15-minutes. The girls were so sweaty they stuck to the slide and their little legs made that screechy sound that flesh makes with plastic.

Chase is learning so much each day - like how to use her Octopus (subway) card, and how to walk through a turn-stile without getting bonked on the back of her head. She is also getting quite good at trying new foods. Today we had Thai food for lunch and she said, "I love spring rolls. I want to have them every day."

As we managed to do the above in half a day, we will likely spend the next half grocery shopping and buying a couple new pillows (something a little strange about how puffy my eyes are after a night's sleep here).

Bird market...

Flower market...

Up, up, up to the playground...

Day Out In Hong Kong

Hubs and I decided to take Chase to the Hong Kong Museum of Science (by way of Star Ferry). It is a fabulous place for children. Chase adored the boat trip over. We only saw one floor (the museum is huge!) - by the end we were exhausted and ready to find some lunch. Highlights included a bed of nails (Hubs tried it), a house of mirrors, a child-powered hamster wheel, a bubble maker (they make bubbles inside a tube with colored soapy water). We will definitely go back.