Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuen Ng Festival Fun

No school yesterday...Why you ask? It's Tuen Ng Festival, of course! great thing about teaching in HK is the limitless holidays we celebrate. We are well celebrated people...that's for sure! :)

In the morning I made my way down to the river near my house to witness my first dragon boat race. "A dragon boat is like a huge war canoe with a dragon's head carved at the bow and a dragon's tail at the stern. Depending on their size, they are manned by 20 and 80 paddlers accompanied by a drammer at mid-canoe who sets the timing of oar strokes with a huge drum." ( It was pretty fun to watch, and as I did, I became curious of the origin of this festival. Basically to make a long story short, from what I read it's a festival honoring a past minister of state in China, Chu Yuan, who jumped into a river to escape political persecution. The races now symbolize his friends' efforts to save him. There you have are a few pictures:

It was then time to karaoke it up for one of my student's birthday parties. What a fun time that was! :) Karaoke is a popular activity here in Asia. You basically rent a room with 4 microphones and sing your heart's a bit more freeing to sing with people you know rather than in front of a big audience. :)

The whole group at karaoke.

Then it was naptime...which would explain why I'm now wide awake blogging at 3:30 am...whoops! Oh was worth it! After that I joined some friends for some good ol' Indian food and a walk by the harbor. I haven't been down there in awhile and everytime I get down there, I fall in love with HK again...what a beautiful city!

One word-- yum!!! :)

Showing off my Bruce Lee skills

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ocean Park!

Friday we had our end of the year sixth grade field trip to Ocean Park. We had a great time and felt very blessed to have great weather, sandwiched in between all of the rain we've been getting lately. Here are some pictures:
My FaceGroup-- the Enthusiastic Peanuts!

The jellyfish are amazing!

Riding the cable cars to the other side of the park
It was definitely a fun day had by all! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Already?!'s hard to believe that exactly one month from now I'll be at "home" in WI...breathing in that fresh country air and enjoying the flat, open landscape...ahhh...summer at home! Nothing beats it! I'm really looking forward to it. However, it's met with mixed feelings this year, as I know that once I leave Hong Kong, I won't be coming back (permanently, at least). It means saying goodbye to good friends, wonderful students, and a different lifestyle that I've come to appreciate. I will miss many things-- going to the ocean frequently, egg tarts, walking a lot, taking public transportation, visiting fresh fruit and veggie markets and getting good, fresh, cheap produce, being a train ride away from China, the city skyline, the amazing variety of ethnic food, a cheap cell phone bill :)...just to name a few...

However, I know that God has led me to Ghana, and for that, I'm so excited! I've been working on raising support, and have been so blessed by people who share the same vision as I do and desire to partner with me in this work. I trust that God is going to provide willing partners, and it's been a process that's stretched my faith and blessed me already. THANK YOU to those of you who have made that step of faith to support my work of teaching and ministering in Ghana. For those of you who'd still like to do so, you can contact me for details ( or visit the website of my mission, and click on "Ways to Give" and then "Give by check or paypal".

I also have some prayer requests to share:

- I would love to have another Western teacher join me over there, as I'm the only only one right now. While I'm very excited to meet the local staff, it'd be nice to have someone to connect with and understand my culture and where I come from.
- They've asked me whether I'd like to teach math for all the grades (1st--6th) instead of being a classroom teacher. Pray for wisdom and selflessness as I make that decision. I see pluses and minuses of both.

I appreciate your prayers so much!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Perfect Day at "Perfect Pool"

Yesterday was such a great day! I was so excited that I'd have one last opportunity to visit one of my 3 favorite locations in Hong Kong...Perfect Pool! It's a hike up a river canyon, over big rocks and boulders, and (sometimes) through water. Being May, the water level was really low; however, the waterfalls were still flowing! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day! We had a great time! Here are some pictures:

Swimming stop #1!
This is right above the waterfall from the previous picture.

Ashley and I on the way up!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It's hard to believe I only have 5 weeks left in Hong Kong! Time is flying by...the "must-do" list is made (both things I have to do and things I want to do...there is a difference!). I've been busy running all over figuring out everything from taxes to retirement funds to immunizations! While doing all of this, I've had to focus and remind myself to live in the enjoy the last moments with friends, co-workers, and students. I'm so incredibly blessed to be here, and there are many things I'm going to miss, so I must take advantage of them now while I can!

With all these emotions and thoughts and tasks occupying my brain space, I've had many early mornings...lying in bed wide awake at 4 am...wondering what next year will bring, what plans God has for my time in Africa, how my relationships in HK will fare once I'm gone...will I return? Will I keep in contact with my students? So, this has it's obvious disadvantages...namely, feeling like an old lady who's ready for bed at 7 pm! However, it also has it's advantages. There's something beautiful about mornings that I rarely get to experience as I wake up to an annoying beeping noise, spring out of bed, and jolt into my day and quickly work my way into fast forward mode. The morning holds so much potential....a day full of opportunities. I laid in bed this morning praying, listening to the birds outside, and just reflecting on my time here in HK and the way that God has prepared me for what's next. Everything's always more clear in retrospect.

Additionally, I don't know if this could be considered an advantage or not, but I tend to get really giggly when I'm overtired. For better or worse, a moment like this came in Bible class today, where I just started laughing for absolutely NO reason at all! I couldn't stop. I was telling the kids to turn in their projects and giving them instructions on how to do so, and it was broken up by outbursts of the point where I was crying! Of course, the kids got a kick out of this, too, and it was good, because they can handle it and still compose themselves afterwards. It was a fun(ny) moment! :)

Oh, it's great to be alive! Thank you, God, for today...whether tired or awake, stressed or calm, happy or sad, each day holds so many things to be celebrated.