Showing posts from August, 2011

Funny Signs

In Japan and Hong Kong we found hilarious signs that would have us laughing so hard that tears would stream down our cheeks. It comes from someone (without a firm grasp of English) trying to translate the original text from Japanese and Chinese into English.

I was all set to carefully document all the hilarious signs I found here in Macau for your entertainment pleasure. But guess what? There are almost no signs in English, bad or good! So no flood of ridiculous translations that will have you giggling to yourselves posted on a daily or weekly basis.

Michael, however, found me two signs that are chuckle-worthy I thought you might enjoy!

I count!

It's 2011, which means it's Macau Census time! Everywhere you go signs proclaim this fact. There are banners hanging from buildings, bumper stickers on buses, signs plastered on the seats in taxis, even three dimensional sculptures running down the median on the Cotai Strip (which is modelled after the Vegas Strip). We actually have a poster outside our elevator!

I got a fat envelope in our mailbox with the now very familiar Macau Census logo. I was super excited to be able to participate in it, because it seems like we weren't counted in the last two U.S. censuses thanks to being out of the country or in the middle of moving house. However when I opened the envelope, all the writing was in Chinese.

Macau has two official languages, Chinese and Portuguese. Fortunately, I took two years of Spanish in middle school, two years of Spanish in high school, and two years of Spanish in college, and while I really can't speak it, I find that I can read it and understand it prett…

Birthday Gift for Michael

My amazing husband is turning 40 years old on September 2nd. I find this shocking because I've been "turning 25" every year for over a decade and give 25 as my age so often I've actually started to believe it! So to hear I'm married to an almost-40-year-old... well, that's almost scandalous!

For the last year we've pondered what to do for this milestone birthday. It's a tough one, because unlike yours truly, Michael does not like a big fuss made over him. Yet sometimes a huge celebration is just the thing, especially for such a momentous occasion. So I was starting to talk to a couple people about locations, etc. when quite unexpectedly, we up and moved a continent away from all the people that one would expect to attend such a bash. Yes, sure, I could throw something together here, but inviting 100 of your employees is not the same as inviting 100 of your nearest and dearest. So what to do?

Earlier this year we met a man named Scott Harrison. He'…

Hong Kong Disneyland

If you know us at all, you know we're major fans of a certain magical place where princesses roam and tuxedo sporting mice sing and dance on parade down Main Street twice a day. Both Michael and I were born and raised in Southern California, and we were fed a steady diet of Disneyland and Disney films and merchandise throughout our formative years.

As I've grown up and moved all over the globe, one of the most shocking things I've learned is that this Disney DNA is not something everyone, everywhere, shares with me. In fact, there are actual American citizens that have never set foot in a Disney theme park! Just over a year ago I had the supreme privilege of spending the day at Disneyland with one of these rarest of non-initiated creatures (someone my own age!). Introducing her to the magic of the Happiest Place on Earth easily rests in my top ten Disney experiences.

Of course, the Disney marketing juggernaut of the last decade ensures that all children in most nations are …

Painful lessons

We have indeed lived in places where summer means 90 - 100F temperatures with 95% humidity (Tokyo, Hong Kong), but the place we consider home, perpetually sunny and warm Southern California, is dry as the desert. Sure, living in So Cal a mile from the Pacific Ocean meant we had days that you could call hot, but the ocean breeze was a smooth balm, making that heat bearable. We have never, as residents of So Cal, had air conditioning. There are always about three to five days in any given year that have made me long for a box dispensing icy air to sit in front of, but those days pass. We generally get through them by splashing in the ocean or seeking the darkness of a movie theater with an extra large beverage to help us cope.

I've forgotten how oppressive the heat can be when you add in such high humidity. Even in a shady, breezy spot, you're still breathing thick, wet air. There's no escape. All physical activity becomes more difficult and uncomfortable. Our first couple of…

Again, with feeling!

I've always said that my son Nathan is the one who never, ever gets sick. Yet he was the first of us to experience a hospital in Macau due to illness. And today, he was the first of us to head back to see a doctor a second time. Poor guy has been burning up for three days with pain in his belly, and then spent most of last night laying on the bathroom floor when he wasn't hurling into the toilet. Instead of rushing him off to the hospital like last time, I called to make an appointment with Hope Medical Center. Thankfully, they had an immediate opening. I'd just met one of the doctors who work there a few days ago, and we were both surprised when she was the one who walked through the door to examine Nathan. Macau is such a small place!

This time I didn't call Michael's assistant to help us out. We've already been to Hope Medical Center once when Michael got a physical for his Scuba certification, so I knew where it was. However, in the six weeks we've been …

Come sail away

In the Western world, the word junk generally has negative connotations. We have a junk drawer, our old cars are sent to the junk yard, and that pile of unwanted stuff in the basement or attic is definitely junk. The first time I heard that you could go on a junk ride in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, I laughed aloud, thinking it was some sort of trash barge journey. Of course, I'd seen the beautiful teak boat with orange sails when we went down to the harbour, but I never put the two together.

Six years ago I'd stopped into the Hong Kong Tourism Board who uses the image of the boat above as their logo. I asked how we could book a ride. I was told that rides aboard the Junk Duk Ling (which was built in Macau 50+ years ago) were complimentary, but they had to be booked in advance and could only be booked by a visitor, not a resident, verified by looking in your passport. Unfortunately, we were residents and couldn't book in. So when my cousin Josh arrived from America fo…

Leaving the Country

Six years ago we lived in Hong Kong. We made several wonderful friends that we are still in touch with today. Most have moved on from Hong Kong, but at least one family is still residing there. Although when we knew them, they were just a couple, and now they have three children, the youngest being only a few weeks old (Congrats, Goodchilds!). One family, the Bradens, were so incredible to us. We went to their house on a weekly basis, and I absorbed so much wisdom from them when I was struggling with our oldest son. I was especially sad that they've moved off to Manila while we're back here just an hour's boat ride away from Hong Kong. However, the husband was celebrating his 40th birthday last weekend and arranged a junk trip back in Hong Kong for all their old friends. Michael normally doesn't get the weekends off, but he worked his schedule around so that we could take a three day trip to Hong Kong to spend a day celebrating with the Bradens and friends, a day visit…

This Stuff

Before I can deal with this (hooray for our stuff finally arriving!):

I think I need a little bit more of this:

Because tomorrow we'll be in Hong Kong with old friends, riding on this:

And then on Sunday, we're going to replicate this:

After we walk through this:
So for dinner tonight I'm going to call up and order this:

But don't be jealous, because my head is pounding, which forced me to take this:

But you know what's awesome? This:
This is the first (and only) piece of mail from the United States that we've received so far, with the addresses blanked out of course. I sang a joyful song when I opened the normally empty mailbox to find this precious little gift from back home. This is from my dear friend Robbi, who I worked with a lifetime ago when we both made magic at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. She actually lived in Hong Kong at the same time we did, working on the same project. I'll tell Mickey you said Hi, Robbi!
Mail takes a ridiculously lo…

One Month

I really want to post every day. I certainly have enough things to post about! We're going out and exploring each day, meeting tons of new people, and pushing ourselves right out of our comfort zones with the choices we make. We've been here exactly one month, and I still feel very much in the "honeymoon phase" of moving, when everything is new and exciting and even the frustrating things are all part of the adventure. I jot down notes in a little notebook I carry everywhere to remind me of things I want to write about, but I'm trying very hard to only write when the kids are in bed. Michael's schedule when we first got here was great for this, because he'd come home quite late, and I'd have several hours to write. But his schedule has shifted a bit, and now he comes home about 30-40 minutes after the boys go to bed. And of course the writing is forgotten so I can go spend time with my beloved. Once school starts (18 days of summer vacation left!) we&…

Macao Science Center

Directly across the water from our home is a unique building, looking a bit like some sort of vehicle you might find in a Star Wars film.
Do you see it? Right in the middle of the screen? Like an upside down cone tilted to the side with the point cut off? It took me awhile to figure out what it is, but when I heard it was the Macao Science Center (spelled with an O), I could not wait another day to go!

We took a taxi, and got our first English-speaking taxi driver. He proudly told us he was 65 years old, was born in Macau, spent 30 years as a truck driver and then decided to become a taxi driver since he could work as much (or as little) as he wanted. He was so proud to point out many sights along the way. We were all so reluctant to get out of the taxi, wishing the ride was just a little bit longer so we could learn more!

We bought our tickets for the Exhibition Center as well as tickets to see a 3-D film on the space race in the Planetarium. We had four hours to explore before we had…