Posts

Showing posts from July, 2011

Our First Typhoon

Image
I know we had crazy storms in Hong Kong, but spending the last six years in perpetually sunny and beautiful Los Angeles have dimmed my memory. The last twenty-four hours in Macau have brought with them a storm that has totally blown me away!

Yesterday the boys and I had been invited to a swimming playdate at a fellow expat's apartment complex. My best advice when moving to a new country is to say yes to every invitation. Even if you're shy and uncomfortable meeting new people. Even if the person inviting you is not someone you would normally hang out with in your native country. Even if at first glance you have nothing in common with them. You've always got at least one thing in common: you're both living in the same foreign country. You may think you're doing fine on your own and don't really need to get out and make friends, but there quickly comes a time when you start to feel a little crazy with overwhelming desperation to speak in your own language to someo…

Macau Weather: Tropical Cyclone Warning Signals

Image
In my next post I'll tell you about experiencing our first typhoon here (woo-hoo!) but I wanted to take a moment to explain the weather rating system. Macau has a subtropical climate, meaning very limited precipitation in the winter and a summer season that lasts longer than the others which is prone to high humidity and cyclones. Spring and autumn are short. The wind in summer blows the opposite direction than the wind in winter, which classifies this as a Monsoon Region.

From 1861 until 1952, the Portuguese Navy was responsible for recording meteorological changes. In 1952 the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau or SMG was founded. In Portuguese that translates to Direcção dos Serviços Meteorológicos e Geofísicos, which is where the shortened “SMG” comes from).They are responsible for studying the climate, weather analysis, and providing forecasts and warnings. From Hong Kong they borrowed a system of signals that can be understood in any language to let everyone know wh…

Madonna in Macau

Image
Well, not Madonna exactly. But a collection of 50 exhibits showcasing Madonna memorabilia was recently on display at Macau's City of Dreams.

Now, I'm not going to lie and tell you I'm a huge Madonna fan. At best, I'm ambivalent about her music. Her career is interesting to me because of the constant reinvention that she goes through (or used to go through). I am, however, a huge fan of the theater. It's what I studied in school and how we make a living. I'm also very interested in Eva Peron, having read just about every biography on her, including one about what exactly happened to her body during the revolutions after her passing. She fascinates me. When Madonna was cast as Eva Peron in the 1996 film adaptation of the musical Evita, there was a loud hew and cry that a pop musician could never fill such an iconic theatrical role. But personally? I applauded the casting. It was an artful choice. Madonna and Eva have a lot in common.

It's not my favorite movi…

Visiting Hong Kong

Image
After our first week in Macau, we used Michael's first available day off to visit Hong Kong. We lived there six years ago when the boys were 1 and 3, and after an intensive week of learning to navigate Macau, it was so nice to return to our familiar haunts.

Though our home in Macau is fully furnished furniture-wise, it lacks all the little things like trash bins, towels, sheets, pots and pans, knives and forks, plates and glasses. In our luggage we brought one set of sheets for our beds, and one plate, cup, and place setting for each person, a can opener, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, and four towels to get us started. We shipped over more sheets and towels, but they won't arrive for a month. And we shipped over the boys' bunk beds, but not their mattresses. We intended to buy mattresses here (less expensive than shipping the old ones), but all the mattresses in Macau come in one level of firmness: rock hard. So the options for making the mattresses sleepable are to purchase…

The Back Yard

Image
While I'm in the house, foot propped up on ice and a pile of pillows, nursing this:


I sent the kids down to the "back yard" to play.


Can't spot them from eight floors up? Here they are:

Our complex consists of six high rise buildings. Though that seems like a lot, each floor only has two apartments on it, so it's not all that crowded. We have this playground that beckons the boys daily, a huge swimming pool, tennis courts, and a gym, all on a level that is mostly restricted from cars (basically loading and unloading only, no through traffic). When the boys' bikes arrive with the rest of our stuff, they'll be zooming around down there with the rest of the kids we see every day.

We are in a very multicultural complex. In addition to local Chinese, we also have residents from Russia, Portugal, Canada, Germany, France, and Australia that I've met so far. Everyone I've spoken with seems to think we're the only Americans currently living here.

Beyond t…

Hospital Trip

Image
We Chases have a little tradition that must be upheld every time we move to a new place. Within two weeks of stepping over the welcome mat, someone in the family has to get sick or injured to the point that a visit to the ER becomes necessary. It certainly isn't my favorite tradition by any means, but after repeating it for the last 12 moves, we can't seem to escape its pull!

Early Thursday morning, 10 year old Nathan started throwing up. This alone was a bit surprising, as he has an amazing immune system, and very rarely gets sick. The last time he was sick was 14 months ago. He had strep throat, was prescribed amoxicillin for only the second time in his life, and developed a very serious allergic reaction to the penicillin-based antibiotic. No fun.

Stomach bugs in foreign countries can be very serious. Michael caught a little something while we were living in Hong Kong six years ago, tried to ignore it, and ended up hospitalized due to severe dehydration. In Macau, we've…

Connected

Image
For ten days after our arrival in Macau, my only connection to the outside world was my computer and the internet. Which some would argue is all you really need... who makes actual phone calls anymore? We needed to wait until Michael had a day off to purchase a phone for me, since he gets a generous company discount and the stores are only open while he's at work. In the meantime, I've been polling the local expat community on their phone recommendations. And survey says 100% iPhone.

While I'm no Luddite, I'm certainly no early adopter. I leave that to my techie husband for whom having the latest and greatest technology is sometimes a job requirement. My needs for a phone prior to moving here: it had to make and receive calls, send text messages (SMS), and receive and send email. If it can browse the web and check Facebook too, so much the better. But not necessary. Most of my friends have iPhones and have done their best to convince me that I should get one too, but I…

Floored

Image
Our amazingly beautiful and luxurious new home is also quite spacious. I was hoping for a bigger place than we've previously had when we lived in other Asian countries, thinking if we could get a place that was about 1300 or 1400 sq feet we'd be golden. At 3,800 square feet, I'm floored over living in a place almost three times bigger than what I dared to hope for! The kids play hide-n-seek and have a hard time finding each other. You can't call someone from one end to the other and expect them to hear you. It's way more space than we need, but during the horrible heat and monsoon season, it sure is nice to have an indoor place of our own where we can spread out and not worry too much about the walls closing in on you, giving you cabin fever.
And all 3,800 sq feet are covered in hardwood or tile flooring. Not a stitch of carpet. I love it, it's amazing. I'll give you the full tour of the apartment as soon as our shipment of things from the US arrives and it…

Excuses

Image
Sorry for the delay in posting anything new! Lots of posts in the pipeline, but we had a bit of drama yesterday which we're recovering from today. But the main problem? When it comes to sitting down and writing, my computer screen faces a window. And this is what I see, perfectly framed, when I look out the window:


Such beauty! If I'm to get any work done, I'll have to draw the blinds! This morning I was pondering whether I'd ever get over the view, whether it would ever just blend into the mundane background of daily life, something taken for granted. After 12 days of looking out the window, seeing that, and feeling my heart skip the tiniest of beats, my conclusion is: probably not.

Pinch me, I cannot believe this is my life!

The House of Dancing Water

Michael arranged for our family to see his show two days after our arrival. I confess to feeling a small bit of dread in my stomach over finally seeing the show. Sure there's an amazing preview on YouTube and glowing reviews all over the web... but what if I saw it and hated it? I think it's important that we're doing more than just earning a paycheck by uprooting our family and moving halfway across the world. I want whatever we do to be something we can be proud of!

The Dancing Water Theater is located in City of Dreams, a new complex that includes three hotels, a multitude of restaurants ranging from fancy to McD's, a huge casino, and several entertainment options.

Three Years + New Blog

Image
Hello my dear faithful readers. It's July 17th, which for me always means two things: it's Disneyland's birthday (Happy Birthday Happiest Place on Earth!), and it's the anniversary of this here little blog, Boy Wonder. For three years I've used this space to chronicle the everyday events of my two boys, Nathan and Benjamin, and to write about my experiences as their mother and parenting in general.

I started this blog on a whim one night when my husband was travelling for work in Canada and missing his family as much as we were missing him. I'd just spent the afternoon with some girlfriends who are avid scrapbookers. I felt completely left out of their conversation because despite considering myself an artist (my mediums are the stage, the written word, and textiles), I've never been able to work up any enthusiasm for making scrapbooks. I value creativity above almost everything else, yet those few times when I sat down to try, surrounded by supplies and cr…

Daytime view

With a stunning vista greeting us from every window in our flat, there is simply no way to capture it all in a photo. So I recorded a quick video of the view, which you can see here:




There's nothing I love more than curling up with a good book in a window seat, and our flat is full of cushioned perches, perfect for attempting to read. I say attempting because how can you focus on a fictional view when this is your real one?

The long and winding first day

Image
We were lucky enough to schedule our arrival into Macau to coincide with Michael's normal days off, Tuesday and Wednesday. This means that we had two full days to wander around together with Michael playing tour guide and me trying to download the location of everything directly into my brain on the first try. I was blessed with an innate sense of direction and a strong memory for places (which doesn't extend to names unfortunately). But the part of Macau we live in, Taipa, is a crazy jumble of a central area laid out in a grid pattern, surrounded by lots of wavy streets. And with nothing in English... it's going to be a challenge.

After a great night's sleep, we all woke up ready to greet the day. With an empty fridge, cupboards, and bellies, our goal was to find a place to eat breakfast, visit some groceries to get basic sandwich stuff for lunch, and then make our way to immigration to get the visa in our passports that allows us to stay here legally for two years ins…