Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In case you're curious

This is what a Chinese keyboard looks like:

Sometimes it's the little things.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Noodle Heaven

If there's one thing I'll miss about HK, it's this:

A piping hot bowl of vermicelli noodles with fat shrimp wontons - all nesting in a hot broth.  Add a splash of chili oil and loads of tangy vinegar... sorry, I think I was just possessed by the spirit of Nigella Lawson.

Have I mentioned that this satisfying meal costs less than $3?!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Urinal Dos and Don'ts

If you're like me, you don't spend a lot of times around urinals.  While I get the efficiency, I find them creepy.

You're in luck if you travel to Thailand because they have very clear instructions on what to do and NOT do at the urinal.  And here I thought the only option was to pee.

And no, I wasn't doing covert blog research in a Thai men's room. At least not for this post - badum-bum!  It was sent to me by my friend David who said, "I guess this means I can't wash my feet in the urinal anymore."  Guess not.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And another thing

...I won't miss - military time. The rest of the world uses military time, something that took a lot of getting used to. I still take half a second upon seeing 16:05 on my clock to decide if it's 4:05pm or 6:05pm.

Up to now this has been a mere annoyance. However today it became full-on issue when I showed up at the airport for my 1pm flight to Tokyo only to find out that I'm 12 hours late. The flight took off last night at 1am!!

The Cathay counter lady pointed out to me that 1:00 was 1am and 13:00 was 1pm. Um yeah, I know, I really do. However a 1am departure seems ridiculous to me for a 3.5 hour flight. And I guess I'm always going to naturally think in American time.

Another reason I'm looking forward to being back in the land of am and pm.


I thought Milky and Chewbacca were funny names. Then I was served at our local Starbucks by a guy whose name tag read:


Just On. His name is On.

He wouldn't let me take a picture of it. I guess I would be emabarrassed if my name was On too.

I wonder if his sister is named Off?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Have I mentioned?

...that we will be leaving beautiful 70-degree weather in Hong Kong for brutal NYC winter weather??  Since there was a nor'easter in October, I'm preparing myself for the worst.  Am having faint memories of being too cold to shower in the morning, stepping into invisible ankle-deep black slush on the street corners and being pale as f*ck.

Have I also mentioned that 60 degrees feels cold to me?

Yeah, I'm screwed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lists, Lists and More Lists

As I start to contemplate life after Hong Kong, I feel compelled to wrap things up in a nice, neat package.  For someone like me (a Type-A Virgo who believes she can control everything including weather on her wedding day) that means a list or, in this case, a few lists.

Here's what I will miss and not miss about this place...

What I will miss about Hong Kong
  • Hot pot
  • Hot pot
  • Did I mention hot pot?

  • T-shirt weather in December
  • 2-hour plane ride to Thailand, 1-hour plane ride to Vietnam, 4 hours to Singapore, 4.5 to Tokyo, etc.
  • Clean streets
  • Cheap taxis
  • Reliable, timely, clean subway system
  • Star Ferry at night 
  • $4 bowl of shrimp wonton soup on Wellington
  • Weekly tai tai lunches with Laura

What I will NOT miss about Hong Kong
  • Rice Kings
  • Playing chicken with the locals who try to walk through me (actually, I might miss that!)
  • Annoying telemarketing calls in Cantonese
  • Sweating through all my clothes
  • Pollution 
  • The sights, sounds, smells and disgusting stuff on the ground at the wet market 

  • America bashing
  • Feeling like a giant around 90% of the population
  • The lack of black people, Hispanic people, good bagels and Mexican food
  • The panicked frenetic beeping sound from the crosswalk lights 
  • Malls - if I ever step foot in one again, shoot me

What I will miss about Discovery Bay
  • Poolside at Siena Club 2pm on a Sunday 
  • XL iced teas at ZAKS
  • Manic Mondays, Jump-n-Pump and other Christa-led classes
  • Walking Victor leash-less around La Costa
  • Coffee at a picnic table in the Plaza at 10:30am on a Monday
  • Wine/beer/alcoholic beverage in the Plaza at 5pm on a Thursday
  • Being surrounded by friends who are exactly in your situation (kind of like college for adults)
  • After-work tennis game with the hubby on a Monday 
  • Being called "sexy" by well-meaning Filipinas
  • The views

Boxing Day 2010
What I will NOT miss about Discovery Bay

  • Sucking in diesel fumes while waiting for the ferry
  • Fusion cashiers not understanding how a conveyor belt works
  • Life in a fishbowl
  • Parents who have NO IDEA where their 3-year old has wandered off to in the Plaza
  • The HKR fun police
  • People farting/burping/clipping their nails/[insert disgusting behavior here] on the ferry 
  • The Forum (ok, maybe a little) 

Hong Kongers and DB-ers - what am I missing?!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Start Spreadin' the News...

I'm leavin' today.
I want to be a part of it...
New York, New York

 Well friends - I knew this day would come eventually...  As an expat it's kind of inevitable.

We are moving back to New York.

Yep, packing up our dehumidifiers, rice maker, chopsticks and milk teas and heading back to the land of bagels, lox and black people.  It's surreal because the whole thing came completely out of the blue.

I'm filled with excitement, sadness, hope and nostalgia.  The minute we got the news, my love of Hong Kong grew exponentially.  Which is funny because I didn't even know it existed in the first place.  Now I have a bucket list as long as Dwight Howard's arm for things to do/see/experience/visit before I leave Asia.  And only 6 weeks to do them in because we will be back in New York before Christmas!

Before you fret about this blog disappearing (because obviously this is an integral part of your daily existence!), keep in mind that I still have six more weeks of Chinglish and swinging ahead of me.  Er, writing about them, that is.  Or maybe I should try some swinging before I leave - after all, this could be my last chance to end up as a salacious topic on The Forum!

I haven't lived in New York for three years, which means I'll technically be an expat when I return.  Even now when I go back stores are gone, others have cropped up (there is a Trader Joe's on the UWS!) and I can't remember which stops the 4/5/6 trains make.  When I left New York in 2008, Obama had just taken office, bin Laden was still alive and Kim Kardashian was dating Reggie Bush.  Feels like a lifetime ago.  ;)

I've been told by expat friends that the transition back home is not a seamless one, so be prepared for lots of moaning about how I miss my life in Hong Kong.  Also be prepared (if you're an American) for me to say things like "air con" instead of "AC" and "quite" instead of "really."  Years ago I had a friend who lived in Australia for a year and then moved back to NYC.  She came back saying "mate" and a little piece of me died every time it came out of her mouth.  Now, I'll be the one people are rolling their eyes at and thinking "well, isn't she high and mighty with her international vocabulary".

In summary (this post deserves some formality!), while I am moving back to New York, I will continue blogging about life as an expat.  I'll just be doing it from a noodle shop in Chinatown.