Since I last wrote the days have just flown by. In that time we have been to Lamma Island (a wonderful day trip that is a short ferry ride away from central Hong Kong), on a tram party, and to the emergency room (we are all OK). Theo was awarded the gymnast of the month for his gymastics class, which is quite an achievement considering the large number of little girls who have been doing somersaults for years. There is plenty of more detail about our Hong Kong adventures but now I'm writing from Cambodia for a mini-(in time but perhaps mega in substance)adventure. I'm on my own here this evening and two of my mom friends are joining me tomorrow for a long weekend where we plan to visit the much-acclaimed World Heritage site of Angkor Wat and surrounding temples. Think Lara Croft and two friends as the tombs pictured in Tomb Raider are in our plans.
Cambodia has made a lovely first impression - kind of like arriving in Hawaii without being given a flower necklace; people are friendly and pleasant without the edginess that you get in many developing world locations. The first thing I noticed after leaving the very modern and efficient airport is that I could clearly see the stars! This is a rare treat for a city dweller and a real delight. Orion hangs a lot lower in the sky than in temperate climates as we are much closer to the Equator. I'm staying at a lovely small hotel where french is spoken along with English and you feel as if you have stepped back in time. I can hear the frogs croaking and crickets chirping outside. It is a lovely to hear the sounds of nature. I'm scheduled to be out early - 5 am to see the sunrise at one of the wats (temples) so I must go now to get some rest.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Hi there - I know, back so soon? I had to write as today we had dumplings for lunch. Theo is a huge fan of dumplings, but he is very particular about his preferences. His undisputed favorite is xiao long bao http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/soup-dumplings-xiao-long-bao-recipe.html which are special as they have soup broth inside.
To eat them you gently lift them from the top with your chopsticks and put them in your Chinese soup spoon. Carefully poke a small hole with your chopstick in the side and let some of the broth drain into the spoon. You then eat the broth and dumpling together on the spoon - delicious!
I have long known that Theo is a dumpling gourmet. What surprised me today was Quentin. I ordered a side dish of shredded seaweed and tofu served cold with red chili oil. Quentin tried a taste and simply loved it. Between us we had three - yes three! - plates of red chili tofu and seaweed. By that point my mouth felt a little bit numb but little Quentin, who I would add ate far more than me of the dishes - was still asking for more please!
As we ate Quentin kept asking for 'more please' interspersed with vehement shouts of 'no, Mommy, no' whenever I tried to sneak in a bite (as he didn't want to have to share it with me). I would dole out bites to his wide open mouth and like a baby bird (think raptor rather than songbird) he would close his mouth and then slurp in the rest of the green seaweed and brown tofu reminiscent of a bird slurping in the rest of the worms left dangling from his mouth after the initial bite. Neptune would be proud to see the amount of sea plants consumed by Quentin this lunch time!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Dear friends and family -
There is so much to say - I have been long delayed as I did not know where to start! This has been a transformative year which has gone from knowing nobody here and feeling incredibly unsettled, working hard to make sense of and find our way in this foreign place to finally really loving our lives here. It is a bit like falling down Alice's rabbit hole (with the added challenge of a baby and the asset of having a preschooler who does not hesitate to ask 'why'); there have been times I've felt very large or very small (interestingly, sometimes at the same time like being surrounded by a crowd of mainland Chinese blatantly trying to photograph the children at Repulse Bay beach or walking through the literal wave of people at the Chinese New Year flower market in Kowloon where I towered over most people but had to go with the flow of the wave); and, we have certainly met interesting characters along the way. Now being in Hong Kong is a bit like living life like it is an ongoing party - we are at the Mad Hatters tea party but we understand (most of) the rules so can enjoy the revels rather than feeling flustered by them.
This has truly been a year of tremendous changes, travels and adventures. I'll endeavor to write both about what is going on with us now and also provide reflections on what happened during the time where I did not write - a time in which we lived in 4 different apartments (5 if you count the summer in London), Theo has attended 3 Hong Kong and 1 British school, and Quentin has gone from a baby to a proper toddler who now races around and has started saying compound words (mooncake was his first and his most recent is the carefully spoken pine-apple).