Hong Kong History & Science Museums

A Welcome Sight For Weary Feet

Today is the weekly free-day for Hong Kong’s main six museums, so as a semi-employed teacher (part-time to start, so I don’t have a full load of classes yet) with the day off it seemed like a good idea to get out of our hallway-cum-apartment and see some of them.  Ended up choosing the History & Science Museums since they are next to each other, located on the Kowloon-side near the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stop.  That translates to a new part of the city, and also lots of walking.  Several MTR stations are connected via underground concourses, and this one (TST to E. TST) is just like the others – massive and sprawling, rather like an airport concourse in appearance but without any windows.

Giant Guardians

It took a full thirty minutes to get there, but thankfully the History Museum in particular was rather interesting.  The Science Museum is more aimed towards children and school groups, and there were plenty of them present taking advantage of the free admission.  The History Museum features an extensive 8-part history of Hong Kong as its main exhibition, which sprawled throughout three floors and included everything from ancient artifacts to replica boats to war-time propaganda posters.  Not much love was shown for the invading Japanese, though the equally invasive British were given a much kinder view.  Ample attention was given to both the historical Chinese dynasties of the Han & the Qing, as well as the modern folk groups who eked out a traditional living farming and fishing up until rather recently (and still do in some places, living in traditional walled-village style housing).  Recreated scenes fleshed things out, including recreations of ceremonies, traditional housing, and even the evolution of tea houses, although all too many of the most interesting artifacts were merely replicas.

Museum burnout definitely started to set in, although to be honest the current special exhibit on the Centennial of the 1911 Chinese Revolution was far from riveting anyway, heavy on the Chinese wall-hangings but surprisingly light on propaganda posters and the like – perhaps most of those got destroyed during China’s later Cultural Revolution?  The food was delicious and affordable, honestly better than what we’ve had in a few restaurants so far, with soup and a cold drink costing only $32 (under US$5):

Lemon Grass Chicken Wing Rice Noodle Soup & Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea

In other news finally started using Google Calendar – seems great so far but already kind of annoying when it fails to load certain things!

Have a good one,

Peace – Anderson (& Liz)

PS – Moment of zen from the Science Museum – a giant ball machine in the style of Rube Goldberg:

This Is Actually Only Half Of It...

 

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hong Kong Week Two; The Hong Kong Flower Show

The Many-Layered City

Things are definitely starting to come together here in Hong Kong, our initial worries about such small matters as permanent housing and Anderson’s unemployment have been solved!  It’s been a great week all around, as Liz is hitting her stride at Tutor Time – while her work week may be a tad long, the days fly by, her kids are great, and she’s adjusting to the daily expectations.  The commute is still a definite downside, over 45 minutes home at night on a bus and then the MTR (subway), however that will all change on April 1st…

…. because we’ve signed on an apartment!  Here’s where it is on Google Maps.  We looked in two main neighborhoods, but decided on Sai Wan Ho for a couple of reasons.  The main motivation was that Liz can take a bus directly from there to work, which cuts out the time-consuming transfer process between subway and bus.  But by being on the MTR line Anderson can still easily get to work, plus getting around Hong Kong in general is made much, much easier.  Also, we found a great real estate agent, who spoke excellent English and worked hard and efficiently on our behalf – the whole process took barely over 24 hours (nice places in Hong Kong go fast, several we’d read about online were long gone before we could see them)!  He negotiated the price down a bit for us, coordinated and translated the meeting with our elderly Chinese landlords, and has done a lot of work behind-the-scenes as well.  As a bonus, the closest restaurant to our new home serves delicious Indian food!

Anderson will start his new job tomorrow, technically part-time for the first month, to make sure that both he and the employer are satisfied.  Seems a safe choice, and the job seems fantastic with nice facilities, a variety of classes and students, and a convenient location in our current neighborhood of Causeway Bay.  Once we move it will be about a twenty-minute commute, which will be the same as Liz’s.  It is with a private language academy, ME English Learning Centre, so he’ll be teaching adult conversation classes (10 students maximum), do one-on-one tutoring for all ages, and also teach school-children in small groups (6 students maximum).  Yep, that’s right, we’re in the land of British English, no ‘centers’ around here!

Welcome!

As for the Hong Kong Flower Show, it is a massive annual event put on by the government’s leisure society in Victoria Park, which is right next door to our current place.  It is mostly different floral societies presenting flowers in a variety of displays, as well as bigger float-style constructions, but there are also numerous flower shops and wholesalers selling absolutely tons of flowers.  It took several hours to wander through, and dazzled us repeatedly.  Tops were definitely the several orchid and then the Ikebana (Japanese flower art) displays.  Plenty of cool stuff, as you can see:

There Was A Definite Musical Theme

Some Ikebana

Another Dazzling Piece

OK, You Convinced Us... One More

Piano Art Grows From The Ceiling

There was so much to see that we actually went back for a bit on Sunday just so we could look at some of the displays we missed.  The bonsai displays alone were worth the second admission price (under $2/person) but we foolishly didn’t bring our camera…

That’s that then, time for some dinner (home-made vegetarian soup with shrimp dumplings)  and then an episode or two of the TV show ‘Fringe’ – it’s quite addicting!

Peace

A&E

 

Moment of zen?  Of course, why not some crazy dried gourds!?

Is A Caption Even Necessary?

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hong Kong: Week One

Our first week here in Hong Kong has been a bit topsy-turvy, but we’re slowly getting settled in.  Thankfully Liz likes her job, “teaching” 2,3, & 4-year-olds in a free-play environment.  Not quite perfection, but it’ll do.  Anderson’s job, with the same company, was far from ideal, so much so that after 2.5 days he put in his resignation.  No need to bash Tutor Time here, but let’s just say it was glorified baby-sitting at its “finest.”  So he’s back on the job hunt, which was the original plan anyway, and hopefully something will work itself out soon.  Otherwise, life is fine in the big city, just a bit boring with Liz’s long hours (an eleven-hour day with the commute included) and no friends or money to do anything with in the evening.  On the upside, that means we are eating healthfully, and living inside a closet isn’t so bad once you get used to it!

More real news when there is some, we’re going out with one Liz’s co-workers this evening so hopefully that will be fun, and we’ll be doing something tomorrow with her one full day off, perhaps some hiking in the nearby hills…

Peace

A&E

PS – if you’re worried about the tsunami, please don’t be, Hong Kong isn’t even in the path of the waves, which thankfully seemed to have spared most places other than Japan.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Hong Kong

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have safely arrived in Hong Kong!  Been super busy getting settled in, acclimated at our schools (we work at different locations for Tutor Time), and getting enough sleep to conquer our jetlag.  Liz, as planned, is working at the Red Hill location, on the SE side of Hong Kong Island, while Anderson was offered a last-minute (literally the last email we checked before departing) position on the Kowloon side (mainland) at the Suffolk location.  Both schools are just as beautiful as the photos would suggest, if not more so, and are decked out with indoor/outdoor playgrounds, modern technology, and tons and tons and tons of teaching tools.  We are both teaching ECE (Early Childhood Education): Anderson teaches Mommy + Me classes with toddlers (1-2) and twaddlers (2-3), while Liz is in a pre-school setting (no parents) and she teaches both 2 and 3 year-olds.  We each teach 4.5 hours/day Monday-Friday, and then Anderson has 3 hours of teaching on Saturday as well, while Liz just has to be at her school during those hours but she doesn’t have to teach any classes.  Our classes are very fun-oriented — music plays constantly, art, sensory, and creative activities are included everyday, and the entire curriculum is designed to be positive and to encourage children to grow and learn.  Quite cool stuff, really.

Currently we are living in a serviced apartment in the neighborhood Causeway Bay, which is on the north-side of Hong Kong Island.  Here’s a map that shows roughly where our high-rise is roughly located, very close to the massive Victoria Park – we’re on the 7th floor in an L-shaped room not much larger than a hallway :-(.  Good news is it isn’t all that bad – all 230 square feet of it – there’s room to stow our stuff away, and we’ll only be here for a month before we find more permanent (and hopefully larger) accommodation.  How small is SMALL you ask?

Anderson Standing In The Hallway & Kitchen Simultaneously

Here's The Bathroom... Conveniently Located By The Front Door

Liz Lounges On Our Bed

Bed, Closet & TV

Ironically enough the apartment complexes here are all called “Mansions!”  Any additional photos would be redundant, but here are the views from our windows:

Hong Kong Skyline Over Victoria Park

The View Down Kingston Street

So there you go, more news once we’ve established a semblance of a social life – planning on going to a pick-up ultimate frisbee game later and then to a nearby club (3 MTR stops away) for a reggae night.  Sunday is our only day off, so we’ve got to make the most of it!

More news when it happens,

Peace

A&E

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Back In The Good Ol’ USA

Us At Lambeau Field!

Well, alright!  We’re having a fantastic time back ‘home’ with friends and family, both in Colorado and in Wisconsin.  Been quite busy, between visiting people, the various stages of packing and unpacking we seem to constantly find ourselves in, and still trying to relax and have plenty of fun.  Don’t worry, we are succeeding!

Our time in CO seemed to fly by, but we did have plenty of good times with friends and Anderson’s parents, including a weekend trip up to Boulder and Fort Collins.  Our good friend Luke has opened a Falbo’s Pizzeria in Fort Collins – if you are in the neighborhood please check it out – the delicious super-cheesy pizza will melt your face with happiness!

Our journey to Wisconsin, with a stop in Iowa City, went well, and many thanks go to Joe & Hannah for putting us up for the evening, they run a wonderful youth hostel for vagrants :-).  That meant we arrived in WI the day before the Super Bowl – which of course the Green Bay Packers won in climactic style over a much-hyped Pittsburgh Steelers team that ultimately chocked despite having the ball and the opportunity to win in the closing minutes of the game.  It was epic, especially surrounded by die-hard Packers fans, so we’re really glad we trekked up north for the big game – football and family: can’t get much more American, eh?

A Long Lost Truck Amidst The WI Snow

Other than freaking out over a pigskin, we’ve played some Bongo (WI-style bingo), journeyed to Green Bay in a failed attempt to see the Packers victory celebration (beverages at a nearby brewery were still tasty at least), gone hiking in Liz’s parents’ back 40 (acres), and done our part to keep the Schlitz name still in business (they crafted Old Mil).  We’ve also gone ice-fishing three times so far, with quite a bit of success for a city slicker (A) and a northwoods girl who’s fled the woods (L)!

Anderson Poses With A Bluegill

Liz & Her Mom & A Fish

Anderson & Our Nephew Malichi & Our Day's Catch

We also have an exciting job announcement: we’ll be moving to Hong Kong in early March to start teaching pre-school there!!  Liz has a job starting in March, with Tutor Time Int’l Nursery and Kindergarten, replacing a teacher who must leave mid-term.  Consequently Anderson doesn’t have a job until July, when a new session begins, however he’ll be on a dependent visa which means finding a different short-term job should be relatively easy to find.

So that’s where we’re at right now, we’ve sent all of our paperwork to Hong Kong, and we’ll be purchasing plane tickets in the next couple of days.  We’ve got a few more days in Wisconsin and then we’ll be heading back to Colorado to finish packing up.  Big changes coming soon, which we’re very excited for!   We can’t wait to get back into the classroom, put all of our new-found skills from the TEFL course to use, and have a lot of fun teaching children.  Hong Kong’s obviously got a lot to offer (besides a brand new and intimidating language we need to get to a functional level with quickly), never mind great year-round weather, so we’re excited to be heading back to Asia!

More news from the Muths soon,

Peace

A&E

And now for your moment of zen, here’s the word-on-the-street regarding the Packers:

Out With The Old & In With The New

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment