Thursday, August 13, 2009

So, two hazy days in Hong Kong - hazy for so many reasons. The weather's been alternately rainy, foggy, drizzly, cloudy, stormy, basically anything but sunny. And warm in a way that reminds me of an unpleasant visit to a 70s-era retirement home, or a crowded, stuffy doctors office when you don't feel well. My mind's been in an award-winning haze from the 12-hour time difference and jet lag, trying to pull myself out of it; wide awake at 4:00 a.m. (always with Lucas) and at 4:00 p.m. feeling like I'd stayed up all night and drank too much the night before.

Fun, no? While it sounds rather unpleasant, it's not. we are all happily, lazily, investigating our new surroundings. Swimming in between the raindrops in the super-duper pool downstairs. Spending time each day with Teddy in the quarantine facility. Discovering the small grocery store a short walk away. I just know Darcy is already imagining herself walking there to grab some milk. Taking the apartment shuttle that drops you in a completely convenient shopping street to try and find a hair dryer. Opening up a joint bank account (wow! I don't even have to have a work visa!).

Here are two of the oddest moments so far:

- in the bank, opening up our local bank account. While waiting for the bank rep to type in all our information, I was looking through the details of the rental insurance. Turns out, you can add Golfer's Insurance. It covers you for up to HK$3,000 (just under US$400) for Hole-in-One celebrations. I chuckled, and showed Matt, thinking it was some sort of vanity option. He told me, no, it's serious business. Apparently in much of Asia, and especially if you are playing with Japanese businessmen, and you score a hole-in-one, you are expected to share your celebration with everyone you are playing with, and you foot the bill. It's an extra US$5 per month. We'll decline and risk it.

- in a cab on the way back from visiting Teddy. I speak no Chinese. Not one word. I can't even say please or thank you, yes or no. Before moving to Turkey and Thailand, I did manage to learn a few words before getting off the plane. For no apparent reason, I've not made the same attempt here just yet. Will do, but haven't. But most people here understand the minimum of English to get by.

So when the taxi driver kept muttering to himself I wasn't worried per se, but aware. His muttering got increasingly animated and I kept wondering if we were offending in some way, if the kids were too loud, what the problem was. I also suddenly thought one of us has stepped in dog doodoo while visiting Teddy. Crap, he's pissed off at us. (no pun intended!)

Suddenly, he's waving at the available taxi that's in front of us as we approach a stop sign on a busy, busy road. I ask, "Are you OK?" and he says "OK, OK YOU GO THAT CAB". What?? In the middle of a major road?

Then he says, "I GO TOILET". Now, I am very familiar with the need to sometimes use the present tense of a verb in a language you don't really speak very well because at the very moment you need to speak that language, you are flustered and upset or in a bit of a crisis. I hustle the kids out the cab, and feel bad for the man that's hopefully speaking in the future tense, and not, poor guy, the present or the past.


1 comment:

Debra said...

Hi Jenn and guys! We miss you - we have moments to reflect on things we did with you and coming back from the UK after 2 miserable weeks of rain (actually there were a couple of glorious days too if I'm honest) Ayelen feels strange not asking Darcy over! Louise, simon and family were here today... which also reminded me of you!

Hang in there with the orientation and transition - it is always really hard to remember that it comes right in the end and impossible to imagine that in a years time this will seem so familiar and natural to you and you will also have insurance for hole in one celebrations and not think anything of it... Can you remember a time when you didn't know what kisnis was? Couldn't find any anywhere this weekend - my salsa is not the same without it!
Love from us all and keep blogging xx