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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Mar 25, 2012

NIS Sports Day 2012

The Norwegian International School has a sports day every year. The kids are divided up into five teams represented by different colors. They compete individually and in team events. Mr. Eduardo, the kids PE teacher, planned a full day and kids were awarded trophies and medals.

I was assigned to Mrs. Nadia's (Elliot's teacher)orange team. I looked in my closet and had green,blue, red and yellow but no orange. Where do you go to shop in Hong Kong when you need a cheap colorful T-shirt? The popular Japanese clothing outlet Uniqlo.

Here is Nadia and me in our unplanned matching t-shirts. Both of us had purchased them the day before. This season's featured theme is The Peanuts Gang. Since I am fan, it was easy for me to choose this as my orange option.

The 3rd grade girls were the cheerleaders, they opened the event with a routine. Cheerleading was the only athletic activity I did in school, this brought back memories.

The parents and kids teamed up in three leg races, relays and piggy back races.
Nathan was there that day too to help run some of the events and compete.

Parents and teachers raced each other in the final event of the day. The video documents my stunning performance.

NIS Sports Day 2012 from outypants on Vimeo.

Mar 13, 2012

Lion Rock

Lion Rock Hill is located in Kowloon. It was on Nathan's list of a hike he would like to do again before we left, and I decided to go with him. We took the train to the Wong Tai Sin station exit B, walked up Shatin Pass road which was a steep climb in itself.
It is only about an hour and 1/2 (according to the sign) and is 495 Meters high.

Do you see the Lion?

The view was great. I could see Sha Tin and the Island.

Seeing monkeys is a normal part of this hike, we did not encounter any the day we went.
Nathan was not unhappy about this, check this post to understand why.

The hike back down took us past Amah rock. It looks like a mother with an infant

Mar 12, 2012


I have posted about the kids modeling before, Elliot recently went to a place outside of Shenzhen called "Bride's Beach". A massive complex located along a beach, with permanent props and settings for photos. The fake church was quite popular with the brides and no one seem to mind that that letter H had fallen from the front of it so it read "OlY Cross Church." Horses and carriages, boats, Pillars columns, and whatever you could imagine. I didn't have my good camera so the photos aren't that great.

I am not sure they got good photos this day, as Elliot seemed determined to smile a big goofy grin.

In China they seek out anglo kids and because Hong Kong is an international city depending on the brand and market they can be sought after as well.
Our friends the Harveys and Udys have kids who model too. It is a unique experience for us that has been positive for the kids.

Here are some pictures from the actual catalogs.

A typical day of modeling for us inside China begins with us crossing the border and riding in a car an hour out of Shenzhen. The kids get paid starting from make-up time. It is usually 4hours for the shooting. It is a full day for us.

Mar 8, 2012


This is our countdown chain. Each link represents how many days we have left in Hong Kong.
I thought it would be a good idea to write down on each link something we look forward to when we return to the States. Such as..
Taco Bell
Blue skies, clean air
Celebrating the Holidays in America
grocery stores with big aisles and a lot less people
The kids each listed some favorite toys and stuffed animals they will have in their possession once again.
we of course added family members.

I asked the kids what are their favorite things about Hong Kong. The first thing both kids said was friends. It is interesting how their thoughts mirror my own, it is the people in our lives that share our experiences with us that matter the most.

Sarah's Top 10:
-Star Ferry and the Harbor view

-The Lion Rock Hike
-History Museum
-Kam Tin
Jin Ju nai Cha (pearl bubble Tea)
-Ma on Shan Park
-Tai Mei Tuk
-The ride out to Stanley( and the shopping there)
Favorite family trip- Australia

Janes Top 10

-Peak - I think she likes going here to have the chance to eat at Bubba Gump.

-The Chinese designs
-Ocean Park
Lavender Gardens
Favorite family trip- Cambodia

Favorite memories
Brookelyn's Birthday at Ocean Park.


Our apartment- This made me laugh, there is nothing spectacular about our place, he just likes staying home. He started crying when we told him we were going to visit 3 countries over the Christmas break.
-Pizza Hut

-Ocean Park
-Chinese food

Favorite Family trip- Singapore

Mar 1, 2012

3 Years and 30 days

It is March 1st. The anniversary date of our arrival to the SAR of Hong Kong.
 3 years ago, we left Grand Rapids Michigan to begin our southeast Asian adventure.
 Originally we were told we would be here for 11 months.  I went through a tour book and started to make a list of all that I wanted to see and do in Hong Kong and we quickly began going through the list.
 Once our contract was extended to two more years we did allow a few more lazy Saturdays at home in Tai Po.

In 3 years we have been blessed to visit 8 countries (Nathan- 10)
We have traveled to Macau, Harbin, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Guilin

Nathan has hiked all 10 stages of the Wilson Trail

StageRouteLength (km)Time (hr)Difficulty
1Stanley → Wong Nai Chung Gap4.82.03/3 stars..
2Wong Nai Chung Gap → Yau Tong6.62.52/3 stars..
3Yau Tong → Tseng Lan Shue9.34.02/3 stars..
4Tseng Lan Shue → Sha Tin Au8.03.03/3 stars..
5Sha Tin Au → Tai Po Road7.42.51/3 star..
6Tai Po Road → Shing Mun Reservoir5.32.52/3 stars..
7Shing Mun Reservoir → Yuen Tun Ha10.24.01/3 star..
8Yuen Tun Ha → Kowloon Hang Shan9.04.03/3 stars..
9Kowloon Hang Shan → Pat Sin Leng10.64.53/3 stars..
10Pat Sin Leng → Nam Chung6.82.02/3 stars..[edit]

His favorites include:
Pat Sin Leung
Lai Chi Wo
Ma On Shan
Lion Rock

I will be doing more posts about what we will miss and highlights.

The kids have had so many first while here- first plane ride, lost teeth,  riding a bike on 2 wheels and tie shoes.

30 days is how much time we have in Hong Kong. We will be moving back to Michigan by April 1st 2012.   It was our desire to stay at least through the summer, but the decision was not ours in the end.  I know God has led us here and believe He will continue to guide our path.

I don't know if I am ready to leave. I am not sure if I am ready to say good-bye to sunny days in January,  cheap and safe public transportation, mountain views that inspire and move me on a daily basis, bartering for a better deal, buying fruit and vegetables at a fraction of the cost at an outdoor market.
The sights, smells and places that I now find familiar and call home, will be missed.

My eyes fill with tears and my heart aches at the thought of leaving the people.

The strangers that I see every morning, outside doing their exercises or Tai chi, Sometimes with swords and fans. The older men carrying around their birds, inside the cages. The impromptu karaoke singers and dancers.  The mountain bikes with external speakers, blaring canto pop or opera. The market vendors who make sure to give me the correct change, even when I am unsure how much something cost.  The estate guard who is always smiling and gives the kids Lai see. The lady who sweeps the sidewalks all day and yet is quick with a smile and  jo san jo san.

It is of course the people whose faces and names I know well, that I will miss the most.
 I have always joked that all my friends have to stay in Hong Kong, as long as I am here.  One of the first questions you ask someone when you meet them is, How long will you be here?
Saying good-bye to friends you have known for a short while, but feels like forever, is common here, but that doesn't make it any easier.