Memories of summer 2012

4 08 2012

And here it is, the list of things I’ve read, accomplished, cooked, seen, experienced, and done this summer:

Books

  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
  • Kiss by Jill Mansell
  • Short story- Extricating Young Gussie by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland
  • Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
  • The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern
  • Today I’m Alice by Alice Jamieson
  • The Help by Katherine Stockett
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Fifty Shades of Grey series by E. L. James
  • The Stolen Children: their stories edited by Carmel Bird
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • Heartsick for Country by Sally Morgan, Tjalaminu Mia, and Blaze Kwaymullina
  • Assumptions That Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman

Movies

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • Bridesmaids (2011)
  • Your Highness (2011)
  • The Other Guys (2010)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Total Recall (2012)
  • Wanderlust (2012)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • Mirror Mirror (2012)
  • Take This Waltz (2011)

TV

  • Fringe
  • Breaking Bad
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Cooking etc.

  • Applesauce muffins
  • Applesauce and apricot bread
  • Apricot and cranberry cake

Travelling

  • Sydney
  • Adelaide
  • The Ghan
  • Alice Springs
  • Katherine
  • Darwin
  • Cairns
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Shenzhen, China

Done/achieved

  • Bought an original painting – “Elemental Stone” by Ben Rivett
  • Hung out with James, Donna, met new people, tried barramundi, Skyrail, Kuranda Scenic Railway
  • Met Greg
  • Had an intentional date with God

Purchases

  • Rack for bed to add to bedside table
  • Bought new CDs by John Mayer, Carla Bruni, James Morrison, David Crowder Band, Jason Mraz
  • 2 dresses and a tank top
  • Gerber Vise multi-tool
  • Tarp-poncho made by Kovea
  • Inova X1 torch
  • Kindle Touch
  • Multiple books!

This picture tells the story of my whole summer:

Happiness: in the middle of a rainforest, just in front of a beautiful, secluded beach, with my new hat, a summer dress, and a leather bag on the picnic table behind me

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A photo call parade

3 08 2012

Whatever a photo call parade is, a picture showed up on my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon:

The caption was “Abercrombie & Fitch the Hottest guys photo call parade” 當一眾火辣男模現身時,過百市民尖叫聲震遍整個中環!

The promotional activity just struck me as being very superficial, and very typical of Hong Kong, where appearance is everything, with the city’s deep-seated mentality of how anything that originates from a huge conglomerate that may or may not be the socially-conscious, societally-responsible corporation it makes itself out to be, must be good, because it’s foreign, and different.

Being more socially- and environmentally aware has meant some lifestyle changes for me, and knowing that it would defeat the purpose of change, I have elected not to throw clothes away that I purchased from a corporation before knowing about their practices. Reading blogs about green lifestyles and other topics about conservation has been a productive and very engaging use of my summer. I feel motivated and more educated about how I can leave the world a better place by doing the work of one person.





Camp

10 09 2011

Camp this year at the school I work at was many things, and ‘boring’ was not one of them. From the ‘night service activity’ that turned out to be a carnival complete with popcorn, cotton candy, Kung Fu Panda 2, to the roasting of marshmallows by bonfire for s’mores, to the water fight and capture the flag game organised by the Student Council, and the requisite camp talks and cabin messes, this was a thoroughly enjoyable, and thoroughly exciting 2.5 days and 2 nights.

The house system of 6 colours was kicked off, and the enthusiasm and friendly competition was a wonderful thing to witness, a far cry from the aggressive chanting and in-fighting that went on when I was in school myself.

During the Talent Show, a group of boys from the senior year danced to a Korean pop song, and I was asked to sit in front to witness it. It was glorious, and one of the many, many reasons why I love this group of students:

The boys also serenaded the girls, a long-time tradition at the school:

After the serenade by the boys, it is customary for the girls to sing a ‘response’ at breakfast the following morning. These senior girls did theirs shortly after the allotted time for breakfast so they could have a lie-in. I can’t find a video of the girls’ response, but will post one when I do.

One of my favourite photos from the whole camp experience was taken on the morning of the first day:

The image of the group of students I am advisor to, except for one who is the Student Council representative of the ‘tribe’, is shown here giving each other massages. True community? I think so.




What I do on a snow day

11 01 2011

Hong Kong doesn’t snow.

 

Over the past couple of weeks, the typical Hongkonger has freed their thermals and fleeces from the back of their wardrobe, and have wrapped themselves up in the ski jackets they bought for the trip all those years ago but when am I going to wear it in Hong Kong’s infernal humidity and heat?

The question being asked for this particular post wants us to write about what we do on a snow day. I’ll say what I don’t do, and that’s hibernate.

Oh, how I wish sometimes that we could just roll over in bed when the alarm goes and just, keep, sleeping… the luxury that would be. There are times when I long to be at the age of retirement, because my life would have been lived already, and the tears cried, the laughter echoing, and all the tumult of life summarised by ‘experience’.

Instead of snow days, we get typhoon days around the lazy, muggy heat of the spring and summer months. Checking the Hong Kong Observatory website for the latest update on the impending destruction is a frantic, eagerly-refreshing-the-page-every-5-seconds, process. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as soon as I hear that a typhoon is inching closer, and feel the wind picking up outside my window (I live surrounded by hills, so the wind gets caught like it’s in a bowl), plans start bursting into life in my mind: lying in bed the whole day, reading a book with a hot mug of tea on the bedside table; watching endless episodes of Friends or some other television show; working on a crafts project from scratch; painting; writing letters by hand to friends made over the years; catching up on email; planning classes; working on assignments that are due too soon; watching a movie on cable with whoever’s in the house; playing with the dogs; chatting with my dad; tidying up; going for a walk; colouring; napping; idly flipping through the pages of the last magazine I got in the mail but never got to read… the possibilities are endless.

Discovering that the typhoon is moving away gradually is like:

And we’re back to snow. I like a bit of symmetry.