Friday, January 31, 2014

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

This post has little to do with Chinese New Year but as today is the day, ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ (the Cantonese holiday greeting, roughly meaning 'I wish you good fortune') seemed like an appropriate title.

I’ve written at least one blog post every month since I moved here in July 2011 and I ALMOST blew it this month. Thankfully, today, the 31st, is a public holiday and I have some free time to churn out post number 58.

So let’s see, when I last wrote in here around Christmas, I had just arrived home on Bainbridge Island after traversing the Pacific for the third straight December. I had a relaxing two weeks there and was quite upset when I arrived back in Hong Kong. I think it was a combination of loneliness (about 20 hours of travelling alone just after New Years), missing my friends and family, sleep deprivation and knowing that I shortly would return to work. However, it didn’t take long until I settled back into things and overall, it's been a solid January.

-First off, for various reasons, I’ve enjoyed my job a lot more this month than before the holidays. I think a lot of it has to do with gearing up for my student teaching next month. My coworkers David and Katie have given me a great deal of help and advice and I feel that I’m developing skills that I haven’t been able to develop previously as a teaching assistant. For example, I’ve spent lots of time lesson planning, carefully studying a piece of children’s literature, improving my time management, thinking creatively about the lesson material etc.

-January has also seen me dive back into Cantonese with a vengeance. I’ve learned two new words a day for the past three weeks. And that’s after several months without hardly studying it at all. Tonight, I’ll be going to Chinese New Year family gathering at Sharman’s aunt’s house and will have plenty of chances to make a fool of myself by trying new words.

 -I played two musical gigs this month. One was an open mic performance that I was quite pleased with, another as a restaurant entertainer along with my English friend Chris. We played Beatles, Bob Marley and other old classics for the patrons of a recently opened Western-style restaurant here in my neighborhood of Tai Wai. It was lots of fun to play with Chris and hopefully the first of many shows there. I don’t think I’ve played a show of just covers since high school. And the icing on the cake? We got paid.

-The Seahawks have had a splendid month of January and I’ve been basking in that glory all the way through. Second chance at a Super Bowl title this weekend!

-In my fleeting moments of spare time, I’ve been reading an excellent biography of Jim Henson aptly titled Jim Henson: The Biography. It’s been fascinating and eye opening to me, as someone so interested in creativity, education, humor and art.

-Sharman and I are getting quite excited for our upcoming trips to Bali, Indonesia (February) and Penang, Malaysia (April). We hadn’t gone on a trip together since England/Scotland/Ireland six months ago. For us, the constant travelers, that’s kind of a long time.

-This isn’t exactly a highlight of the month but I’ve decided almost for certain that I’ll be leaving my current job at the end of June. After two years, it’s time for a change of scenery at a new primary school in HK. Of course, I’m not thrilled about all the job application work ahead, but it’s part of being a professional I suppose.

Here are a few photos from the last month or so. From the USA and a trip to Vancouver at the end of December to a couple nice hikes in HK over the past few weekends.