Hey! What’s new these past – what, nearly four weeks?! Lots, according to Google News. Lots new with me as well.
The great classroom clean-out in record time
My grandmother passed away on May 28, and after a lot of ups-and-downs (including the whole landlord fiasco of my previous post), I cleaned out both the room I rent and my classroom at the same time and moved my stuff to my parent’s house for the summer. Four carloads later, I was on a plane from SFO to HKG via HND. I managed to do nearly everything myself this time, with a bit of help from Super Colleague to put away my teacher computer after I left. My students left me messages on my whiteboard. Super cute. And it also meant that I don’t have to go to the high school and find them to kick their butts for poor behavior with a sub.
Grandmother’s foreign funerary processes
Is surprisingly long and drawn out in HK. Apparently, one cannot get everything done all at once. You have to go through one hoop before the other can be done. This is the order that I see happening:
Death > 1 week > death registry > 2 weeks > cremation ceremony > 1 week > notify banks/social security of death > 1 week > ready to pick up ashes > set up location for interring ashes (photo tile, plot number, more ceremonial things etc)
After that is supposedly another 1-2 weeks before the ashes can actually be interred. 6-7 weeks after death, a person is finally laid to rest in HK.
All four of us Ngs back together under one roof after 7 years
My brother thinks it’s only 5, but we both agree the last time we were all together was for our childhood friend, E’s, wedding. That can’t be possible by my count:
Spring break 2014 = HK trip, just me
Winter break 2011/12 = HK trip, just me. My brother went back to CA to visit my parents during the same time I left to visit relatives in HK. I remember because he asked me when my flight dates were so that he can book the same dates for his flights so that my parent’s wouldn’t have to go to the airport four times in two weeks.
Summer 2010 = Got hired at my current school.
Summer 2009 = HK trip; met up with my brother there for a cousin’s wedding. This was the summer after I failed my first attempt at my 2nd semester student teaching. This time is very memorable to me, I assured my brother.
Winter 2006/07 = My parent’s bought the flat that I am currently staying in. I spent most of my two month break during the year I taught English in Taiyuan here. My parents were here too, sans brother.
Summer 2006 = Wedding of our childhood friend E’s older sister. I left for a year of teaching English in China on the same day as the wedding. The older sister got married about a year after E. Which means…
Summer 2005 = E’s wedding. The last time all four of us were together under one roof!
Take that Gor. It’s been 10 years. Sure, your memory is probably better than mine. But I’m the one that has notebooks upon notebooks filled with entries that go like, ‘7am – wake up. 7:30 – breakfast’…etc. I also make it a habit to re-read these notebooks every so often. Your brain cannot beat my brain + dozens of OCD journals.
That said, there’s a bunch of family drama/unresolved issues/miscommunication that went on in the spare week or so that we were all together in a teeny HK flat. Especially between my brother and my dad. That’s a topic for another day.
Playing tourist my way
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who likes to travel this way, but I do admit that it is a bit peculiar. Perhaps because it’s HK and I’ve spent a good amount of time here already (Spring semester 2005 = study abroad at HKU!). Perhaps because it’s just my style. I like to explore random places and be amused at random things. If I go to one big touristy thing that the local tourism board advertise everywhere but no locals actually go to, I’ll explore 3 other random side streets and alley ways.
That said, when I’m not accompanying my mom on errands or organizing their flat to fit some of my grandmother’s mementos and kitsch, I go exploring. HK guide 2015 post coming soon!
Swimming and barre-ing my way to fitness
One good thing about being overweight and not in the greatest of shapes is that it drives me towards healthier things. If I were thinner, I probably wouldn’t chase after health as much. That, plus all the stories my relatives on tell me about the horrors of our family history (both sides) with diabetes, heart failure, strokes, and dementia is scaring me into more exercise than I’ve done in a couple years. On top of walking everywhere, I’ve been swimming nearly every day for at least an hour; although the resort-like pool facilities at my parent’s place draws me towards it just as much as the health scares push. I’ve been doing short barre workouts I found on youtube about twice a week. When I’m not eating out, I eat steamed veggies and fish. And I’ve got an apple per day since I’ve been here. The heat and humidity has also driven me to drink more water. I’ve lost 8 pounds in the two weeks I’ve been here. If this keeps up, I’ll be within healthy BMI range by the time i leave. Let’s do this!