april showers

I can't sleep. At all. I almost fell over because I was so sleepy at play rehearsal today, and now that it is night time, I can't sleep at all. I've been watching HGTV and Real Housewives to pass the time, but ugh ... still bored and OH SO awake. Let's recap Hong Kong, shall we? And if this long blog doesn't help put me to sleep, it definitely will put you to sleep. So Rx warning: Don't read this blog and try to operate heavy machinery or read while driving - other side effects include: nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea! (I just added those last ones because the little song for that commercial popped in my head and I did the dance in my computer chair while typing) (Also, too - I apologize in advance for grammtical mistakes and typos, I'm not editing this at all)

Days 1&2 - travel. The flight was long. I've already blogged about this. Mostly just artic circle junk, so nothing spectacular to look at. When we go there we saw all of our HK friends and took tons of pictures. I got to my hotel, took a shower, and crashed.

Day 3 - Friday. I woke up very early and walked all over my little area (Tsim Sha Tsui) including the Cultural Centre and got back in time for a lunch meeting with the director of IAIE(HK) and the other consultants (minus Lan Chin who didn't arrive in HK til Saturday). We at a nice restaurant and then Peter took us to some Chinese shops around that he knew we would like. Said bye to them and walked back to the hotel and got ready for an opera. The Cantonese Opera was intense. Not like any opera I have attended before. It was the story of the Seven Sisters, which is a pretty recognized fairy tale over there, and it was the longest theatre experience of my life maybe. Luckily a woman named Lucy sat next to me who spoke pretty good english. She was a singer that had performed there before and her husband was a playwrite. She also introduced me to a woman that was to perform there this week. Lucy translated the scenes for me. I liked the dancing the best. Lucy thought I was French when she first started talking to me. I consider this a compliment since I didn't seem the obnoxious American to her. (Later in the week, another person that I was French, too. hmm) Jack (my boss) is very much the AMERICAN. He is loud, laughs too loudly at his own jokes, slightly rude at times (though unintentionally), thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, makes "obvious statements" and doesn't care about even trying to remember names or say them properly. Anyway - Lucy also randomly told me that her son was a Christian - and I *think* because she probably assumed all Americans were Christian? Random.

Day 4 - Saturday. Woke up and Jack insisted on taking me to the markets around Mong Kok. I highly enjoyed the flower market because there were so many beautiful things everywhere. I refused to go to the bird market - bird flu, plus - littleknownfact - birds scare me a little and sometimes a lot. The gold fish market made me sad to see all of the fish crammed in, and made me miss my Franny and Zooey a lot (may Franny RIP, idk if Z is still alive because I gave her/him to a little girl to keep). Then we went towards the jade market - which was just starting to open so Jack thinks it's a good idea to travel down the opposite street through the open air market while we wait for it to open. The open air market almost made me pass out. I saw too many animals being slaughtered and cut up and other gross stuff in the most uncleanly conditions. What has two thumbs and is going back to being a full-fledged vegetarian after only half-assing it for the past year and a half? THIS GIRL. The rest of Saturday I was in workshops for IE and then went out to a dinner at a fancy restaurant with all the IE people and some principals and the IE consultants. Traditional Peking Duck was served along with a huge assortment of other Chinese dishes that I couldn't tell ya what was in them. A table near us ordered this one dish of "drunk shrimp" or something, but they put these live shrimp in a glass bowl and fill it with wine, wait until they are full of the wine and serve it. It was funny to see them hopping around in the bowl. Um, done with Saturday.

Day 5 - Lantau. I got to go see "Big Buddha." Big Buddha is on Lantau Island (one of the different parts of HK). I took the MTR (metro) to Lantau and then we got on a cable car skyrail thing to go up these mountains to Ngong Ping. The cable car was a little scary and it took us a half hour to get up the mountain. Once we got up there the village was so cute. There was the "commercial" village with all the fun restaurants and shops and touristy things, and then there was the "real" village that you could see around and it was crazy to think people lived up there. There is a buddhist monastery there and - of course- the largest outdoor Buddha. You had to walk up tooooooooooooons of steps to get up to Buddha but it was totally worth it. He's huge (that's what she said) and the views were amazing. The monastery was cool. I lit some incense and presented it before Buddha at this shrine area - very fun, and callmeahippie, but I love the deep, earthly smell of incense (I know most people don't). It was also really neat to see actual Buddhists making a pilgrimege there. There were signs all around that said "Aboslutely no aloohol or meat" - this amused me, I don't know if the misspelling of alcohol was a typo or not. After spending a right good amount of time there, travelled back to Tsim Sha Tsui and had dinner at the top of the Sheraton hotel to watch the Symphony of Lights which is the largest, continually running laser light show. It was pretty - I enjoyed it.

Day 6 - Primary schools. First full days of work. Jack and I were a consultant team and we had two primary schools on our agenda for that day. The primary schools were my absolute favorite because the little asian kids are the CUTEST ever. EVER EVER EVER! (Saying something three times in a row makes it true - just ask Beetle Juice) I wanted to take them all home with me. I'm not going to get too much into explaining the whole work aspect of visiting the schools because you'd probably be bored, unless you're a nerd like me that loves discussing educational theory and practices, then email me and we can discuss, lol :) But it was a long, but rewarding day. They fed us too much. Much too much. (And now I'm terribly tired with "Chinese" food)

Day 7 - Creative Secondary & International Day. In the morning we had to go to a three year old secondary school - Creative Secondary. This school was awesome. This time our team consisted of me, Jack, and Lan Chin (she's a ball of energy & a principal from Singapore). I kinda fell in love with that school - it's like a dream school to teach in, I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved it. After working there until 1pm or so, we went over to our friend Stephen's school (the school all the Scott County kids were attending with their exchange thing) for an International Day celebration. Their school invited several schools to perform a variety show. The Scott County kids performed a version of "Little Red Riding Hood" and I was cracking up the whole time because I was the only one that really got it, the Chinese didn't understand why it was funny how they changed some things and cheesed it up. The most adorable little girls from a primary school performed a traditional Chinese dance, there was another traditional Lion Dance performed by two secondary boys - amazing! - and other performances by schools that I don't feel like retelling. I took tons of pictures with the little Chinese girls that performed because they were the cutest thing I had seen in my life. I can't wait to get those photos emailed to me.

Day 8 - Special Schools. We went to two special schools. Our school in the morning was for the severly mentally and physically handicapped. The children that attend that school are SO fortunate. That school was amzing. They had everything you could think of and more to help those children. I met a teacher who I totally connected with there, Fiona, and had lunch with her. We talked about the school and how she got into special ed. and we also talked about girl stuff - she's getting married in November, where the best places to shop are, etc. We ate at a Shangai style Chinese restaurant and it was interesting and had really tasty food. I had no clue there were different styles of Chinese food - silly, dumb American. The afternoon we went to another special school that was also a great school, but it was for more moderate degrees of handicapped children, so it was more like a regular school. It takes a really special person to work at those special schools. I don't know if I could do it day in and day out - most of them are there with those children EVERYday for most of the day. I'm glad there are people out there that do that for those kids, they are amazing amazing people. ... Later that night I ventured out around Tsim Sha Tsui on my own to find the mall Fiona told me about - Harbour City. Oh my word, biggest mall I've been to (besides Mall of America) with the most incredible stores that I can only dream about being able to shop in one day. I found some more reasonable stores and bought lots of clothes, though, don't worry - my trip was not in vain.

Day 9 - A morning off? Yes, my first morning off! Well, had a 7am meeting but then I didn't have any school scheduled until 1pm. After the meeting I took my time getting ready and then ventured out on my own. Walked around everywhere, hit up a Starbucks, spent too much (HK$) money on internet time (luckily, it was verrry cheap in USD), walked in some stores. Fun. I love big cities. The afternoon we had a secondary school which was fab and I got hit on by some pubescent Cantonese speakin boys (the girls that were touring me around the school told me they were because I didn't understand, obvs, except for hearing the word "yo" - oh yessss). It seems, no matter how much more respect and self-discipline they have in Asia, teenage boys will be teenage boys. lol. I was on my own again the night after work and got food and strolled around the harbour before going to bed.

Day 10 - Last work day. Another morning off of work, though the 7am meeting lasted almost two hours. Sigh. Didn't really have time to do much else in my morning off besides get ready since the meeting lasted so long. The last school we went to was another secondary school and it was so fabulous. I loved my gifts from this school the most (we got amazing gifts from each school, plus some!) because I got hand-made art items from students and they gave me a DVD of the musical they performed a year ago - Beauty and the Beast - to help them with their English language. I watched the DVD tonight. I loved it and it made me miss all those kids so dearly. Friday night went out for Italian food. It was funny to hear the HKers speak Italian. But afterwards I thought, it's probably no more funny than having an American speak Italian. Oh well. I packed a lot and got ready for a long day(s) of travel.

Day 11 - Bye bye Hong Kong. It was a fabulous visit and I'm already wanting to go back on a trip when I don't have to work so I can enjoy myself more - there was so much to do that I didn't get to. If you read the previous entry, you know I hated the travel home. So I won't elaborate.

... Sigh. 4:16am and still I'm so awake. This didn't help. Hopefully there will be something slightly interesting but mostly boring on television to lull me to sleep for a few hours before I have to go to work tomorrow. Gross. I hate jet lag.

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