Thursday, September 9, 2010

Night of the Iguana or Year of the Rat?

Really, it should be Night of the Rat. A sturdy fellow, walking down the street about 6:30pm in search of his dinner, just like me. It took me a moment to identify the skittering object - I've been know to freak out over a blowing leaf. And everyone walks so quickly in HK (including rats, apparently) so that I am walking quickly towards the rat who is walking quickly towards me and I'm trying to identify this little creature (wow, what a small cat...right? that's a cat right? i mean, wait, oh holy sh*t, gaaaa....)  A little "eeeek" and side jump and I avoided his head. I did not hear a reaction from people behind me so either they kicked the thing aside without a thought or he made it to the garbage bags without further recognition.

I don't have one specific topic for this entry, just a list of thoughts that have accumulated.

They use bamboo for their scaffolding here.  Picture, as promised:

I joined the American Women's Association of Hong Kong (affectionately called AWA by those in the know). Almost every Thursday they have CHAT (Come Have a Talk - at what point in the development of written language did someone invent this acronym thing? Someone in Marketing, no doubt. "Shakespeare, I have this awesome idea for promoting Romeo and Juliet - LOVE - Love Over Violence Everytime - what do you think?") Anyway, AWA CHAT is held at the Marriott in Pacific Place on Queen's Road, Wan Chai, in case you ever want to drop in. Really, a very friendly bunch - about 15 in all this week. We introduced ourselves (3 people from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati area - and one mom who's son just graduated from OU! It took me 5 days to meet someone who knew Athens.)  Afterward 4 of us newbies stayed and had lunch together. I had this feeling - like - you know when there is a group parachute jump - everyone goes individually, then they come together and make a formation, and then they split off again and continue on individually...that's how this felt. I've been alone all week (don't take that the wrong way) and then suddenly I am with this group of women laughing and talking and sharing and commiserating and then back to my own silent world.

I took the train out to Choi Hung MTR Station yesterday afternoon (after my AWA CHAT) to meet Catherine the Real Estate Lady. This bit is about making decisions, having a sense of purpose.  So, every day when I venture out, I have to plan ahead quite a bit. Where am I going and why? (I should rename this blog Elaine or Stacy) that is, after 20 years of working full time, raising a child, going to school with a purpose, I find it challenging to wake up each day without a purpose. So, when I say, "plan ahead quite a bit," I am thinking, "'What am I about today?" and I also tend to worry about things like - will I understand what people are saying? Are there social rules/cues that I will miss and then look foolish? Venturing out means making decisions - like my previous example of going to the post office. It can be daunting and tiring. You know, research shows that women learn by talking to others.  That is, they process information and make decisions by talking with others. So, I'm doing a lot of processing and learning very quietly, which, as anyone who's ever shared an office with me knows, that's not how I roll. I digress. Yesterday, I went to the MTR and was going to buy a ticket. One single ticket. Then I remembered the Octopus Card. Here in HK you can buy an Octopus card ($150 HK - $50 ($6.41USD) deposit, $100 ($12.82USD) to spend.) You use your Octopus card to make small, quick purchases and of course, you can reload the card up to something like $1,500 (about $190USD).  Without thinking a lot, I walked up to the ticket window, "One Octopus card, please," paid my $150, "mgoy" and was on my way. YAY! I made one simple life decision in HK yesterday without a lot of Mary Worrywart behavior. Today (as its 3:45a.m. Friday) I'm going to use my "O" card when buying my paper, water and D.C.


  1. Marbra
    Brave, Brave, Brave - the whole time I was reading this I felt an overwhelming urge to crawl into bed and put the covers over my head. It would be so easy to hide and stay in the apartment everyday. I hope you celebrate how much work it takes to step across the threshold of your cozy apartment and into the unknown...I am impressed and I can't wait to read more about your daily adventures! Keep it coming!

  2. How perceptive of you, Stace - in fact, I have spent the morning in bed with a big pot of tea, celebrating the fact that I got up every other morning.

  3. You are my new hero! I give you all the credit in the world (at least all the credit in Hong Kong) for doing what you're doing!
    Can't wait for the next installment....same "rat" time, same "rat" channel!

  4. Dzou Sahn MB! I love your post. I am surprised you didn't take the rat home and make it a pet! :) Your adventures take me back to 1st grade, high school, college. Learning, social accpetance. Of course knowing the language at these levels certainly makes it easier.

    Good for you joining the AWA. Maybe you can join them on some adventures together? There is always a feeling of safty in numbers.

    I am so excited for you and the things you are learning. I wish I could do them with you.

    We all love you, Brooke, Colin, Brogan,Cian and now Chloe.

    Have a great day!