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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Apr 7, 2009

Thoughts and Life in Hong Kong

One month has gone by fast. We are a little less in culture shock but the newness of the landscape, people and smells of our new life has definitely not worn off and might not for our short time here. We have relocated to our final destination in Tai Po. 
 First impressions of Hong Kong, it is a city of many cultures and nationalities. I was invited to a birthday party last week while we were still in Horizon Suites and I was the only American. There were people from Australia, England, Peru and the Philippines. 
The people in Hong Kong I am finding are friendly. I would like to speak Cantonese, it isn't an easy language to learn. My Mandarin really doesn't go too far here. Using English isn't normally a problem but when you have to deal with people fixing your sink, delivering your furniture and day to day questions and activities it can be challenging. I don't expect them to know English so I feel bad when I can't understand them. 

I ate at my first Indian restaurant last week. I found something with okra in it and ordered. Everything was delicious. It can be intimidating going into a restaurant on some of the side streets, as you might have to walk into a building and up stairs and through these doors, it can be dim and dingy looking. I took a card from the restaurant so if we want to find our way back to there we should have an idea of where to go. 

The other day Jane was playing with kids at the gym and I thought at first she was talking like a baby when I realized she was just trying to repeat what they kids kept saying over and over in Cantonese. I was in the store the other day trying to ask for our a sword. The clerk hands me a pad of paper. I wanted to laugh at her when I realized she was asking for me to draw a picture! I am probably the worst artist in the world.  I think my sword looked like a triangle on top of a rectangle.  I didn't get a sword that day. 

Aside from the language barrier, you have to plan different for shopping. Every thing you buy you will have to carry. Our first trip to IKEA taught us this lesson when we had two sleeping children on the train and four oversized shopping bags full of housewares. 

 I made my first online grocery order yesterday. People without cars shop daily and most people you see walking down the street in the neighborhoods will be carrying a bag or two home from the grocery store. I will still go to pick up frozen stuff and items that are easier to get firsthand but the heavier products are worth having brought to your door. They only charge around $4USD to deliver and if you spend around $80 you get it delivered for free. 

We have been enjoying the mild temps, we know the hot hot season and the rain are on the way. 80% + humidity does make 72 feel closer to 80. I have never been outside of Michigan seasons longer than 10 days. I can get use to summer weather in April. It is nice to not have to have your snow boots and Crocs out at the same time. We do need to get in the habit of keeping an umbrella with us when there is a chance of rain. We purchased 3 in one week while we were out simply because we forgot to grab one.

We are blessed to have the Krohns in our life. Jason and Bethany and their 3 kids Abigail, Isaiah and Sammy have been in Asia for a little while and have been in Hong Kong for about 7 months. Bethany has been a wealth of information for me as well as great company. 

My kids will tell you the best thing about living here is being able to hang out the Krohns. Abby and Jane get along so well and Isaiah and Elliot enjoy Star Wars and Transformer conversations and playing. Our new move puts us about six bus stops away from their village. 

 The Krohns are from Traverse City, Michigan. My hometown.  The church they attend is my home church and where Nathan and I got married. 

I see it as God's hand that we would move across the ocean to practically be neighbors with people we knew in Michigan. 

We haven't tried anything too different as far as food as concerned. I haven't had a Chinese dinner yet, and I am still waiting for my first Dim sum meal. The kids like Spaghetti House which is delicious and has good pasta dishes. Jane likes the tea restaurant, which is Ajisen Ramen. They bring out green tea so she calls it the tea restaurant. It is delicious and I have had spicy beef and Miso Ramen. I think I could eat there every day. They also serve this delicious fizzy fruit drinks. I would like to know if I could find them in the store. We did eat at a Chinese restaurant after church on Sunday where we had a good curry dish and Singapore noodles. 

The food is a big part of living here. So I hope to experience all kinds of food. We were invited to a birthday party where Korean food was being served. Korean BBQ was really good. I had bean noodles and Korean style sushi rolls. We eat Mcdonald's pretty regularly. Right now they have these seasoned salt flavors you can out on your fries. Like Seaweed flavor. Not something we are likely to see marketed in the states soon. Elliot likes the seaweed.
The kids love these milk type drinks called Yakult, and Kinder eggs. Chocolate covered eggs that easily break in two and have a toy inside then. It can be a figurine,puzzle,a car. It is something you usually have to assemble. They are really pushing these in the store right now as Easter approaches.
Jane will be singing Jesus loves me at Church next week. We have been attending Lighthouse a non-denominational church. We are going to visit another church that has been suggested to us, then we will probably decide where to attend.


Lisa M. Dalton said...

I stumbled across your blog and find it very interesting. I wonder what takes you to Hong Kong for 7 months. My little guy found the pictures of your kids very interesting and we talked at length about carrying your groceries home from the market. I look forward to learning more about adjusting to life there. Good luck to you and your family.

The Hong Kong Sweeneys said...

Hello Lisa I am glad you found the site. I am new to blogging and my main objective is to keep friends and family updated my other is not to make it too boring. My husband works for Bissell, the vacuum people they have a plant here that he is helping to get up and running by training workers. We will be here until February 2010.