Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catching Up

Well, I took a bit of an unexpected break. Now I have so much catching up to do. I will try to catch up on all of your events as quickly as I can. Hopefully you have not completely given up on me. We have had a week off of school and work. Instead of braving the crowds we opted to stay home and relax a bit. Even so Larry has still had emails and phone calls. The kids have enjoyed their time though. Larry's office had a spring festival (what the new year celebration is called) party. When you arrived at the party you are given raffle tickets - they call this lucky draw here. Every time your number was called you would get a red envelope ( they had wal-mart gift cards in them), and be required to drink a shot of rice wine. People would wander between the tables toasting the new year. Happily no one seemed to mind my glass of water instead of wine. In between the lucky draws there was karaoke. Larry, and three others were basically bullied into performing. It was hilarious. Not a singer in the lot. Completely ruined "Uptown Girl" . It was a fun evening though. You can't beat forced inebriation and karaoke.

New Year's Day was quiet. We watched the lion dance, and played monopoly. Later in the day I took a walk and thought I would share with you a photo of two families who have obviously just bought property in the area.

too funny! the Obama and the Palin families are going to be my neighbors. in South America you would always see stars being used to advertise things. my favorite was Sarah Michelle Gellar's big toothy grin on top of a dentists office. I did laugh very hard when I saw this realty sign though.

Monday I am finally moving into my house! I promised myself that this move I would not have a long hotel wait until I was able to be settled. As you can see I lied. I am so excited though. I can't wait to get started, and feel really settled. Now I have to interview maids and do all that stuff. Yahoo!

Monday, January 12, 2009

chinese new year

We are well into the first month of the year. Preparations are under way for the Chinese new year. the year of the ox. Remy is very excited as he was born in the year of the ox. Red lanterns are being hung and red envelopes selling out in the store. We will have a week off of school. The 26th is the official first day of new year. There are three days off but many are given a whole week. Some spring festival pictures and new year explanations follow.

This is a time when families get together to celebrate. It is also a special time to remember members of their family who have died. On new year's eve they eat dumplings and the person with the coin in their dumpling is said to have good fortune for the year. This reminds me of the baby in the king cake ( from my mardi gras days ). food is also prepared for those who have passed on.

The days leading up to the festival are used to decorate, and get their hair cut, and clean their homes top to bottom - to sweep away any bad luck from the old year. It is bad luck though to do this on new years day. On new years eve all the lights in the home are kept on until midnight; then there are fireworks to scare away evil spirits. On new years day children receive red envelopes with money or candy. It is a good time to forget old arguments. People greet each other by saying 'Kung Hei Fat Choy!', which means Happy New Year!

Parrish and I found these apples at the store. They all had different sayings on them.

Friday, January 02, 2009

christmas to remember

sorry to all five of my readers for the absence. we have had a christmas and new year to remember.

remy cut his arm and had to have four stitches on the 23rd. the kids were being rowdy and knocked over a lamp with a glass dome. it was almost six and the clinic closes at six, after this time you must pay a hefty fee. we got there in time and i held remy's hand without throwing up this time. this is his second set of stitches. eleven the first time.

christmas eve we spent with friends a few appetizers at some one's home and then on to the restaurant. the kids were given silly string by the hostess and proceeded to spray it all over themselves and the restaurant steps. there were nine kids, so it was quite a little scene. we had a lot of rubbernecking. a guard from the restaurant area came over and was really in the kids faces yelling at them and complaining. the hostess came out and fought with him. it is times like these i wish i knew the language. dinner was nice and i was surprised at how many people were out celebrating. i also realize that many of them did not know what they were celebrating.

santa brought all the children except remy a scooter, remy got a skateboard - i foresee more clinic trips. bronwyn and gwendolyn sped about all day and the next, racing down ramps and feeling the wind in their hair and then it happened.

bronwyn fell and split her lip open. blood gushing everywhere. for those of you who don't know my daughter she has a tendency to be a bit dramatic. i finally got her calmed down and my hubby comes by and says - OH MY! i had to be very firm with her to get her calm again. we walked to the clinic - 6 again - not wanting to wait for the driver. i stepped into the clinic they whisked bronwyn off and i began to cry. the staff rushed to me with cups of water and tissue. how pitiful am i? hearing a cry of Portuguese coming from the exam room i pull myself together and go to hold her hand. it is as i feared; she needs a plastic surgeon, and one is not available here. the nurse cleans the wound and we wait to see if someone in hong kong will see us this evening. my driver rushes into the exam room and pats bronwyn with a worried look on his face. so sweet.

when all was arranged i ran home to pack an overnight bag and get our passports. we made it to the ferry terminal only to find that it had been cancelled. we called the driver back and then made our way to the border crossing. we walk through and make our way to a taxi. thankfully they take RMB since i do not have enough HK$'s to pay. she sleeps in the taxi and i watch out the window as the hong kong scenery rushes by. the hospital is very nice and within 30 minutes of arriving the doctor is there and at midnight we are having stitches. it takes four injections to deaden the area. in between each she babbles away in portuguese. some of it i didn't even understand, but it was mostly pleadings to stop and how she couldn't do this. when that was done and knowing that was the worst of it my body just relaxed a bit and i got nauseous and threw up. i hate my body sometimes. the doctor called a nurse for me and she sat with me while bronwyn finished. bronwyn did a really good job and was very brave. we stayed the night and left early the next day, taking the 1:15 ferry home.

i have to say that i am quite thankful though. everyone is well and except for 10 stitches we have nothing to complain about. we even spent a day at windows of the world - a theme park with world landmarks in miniature - bronwyn's lip was still swollen but by the end of the day she seemed to forget about it. we spent new year's eve in macau - an island that was, until 1999, a portuguese colony. now it is a las vegas style gambling town. we counted down the new year by attending a cirque de soleil show - zaia. at the end the cast and crew came out and we counted down together and sang auld lang syne.
love you all, thanks for sticking with me.