Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dear Australia, I love you

I got the opportunity to spend a few days in Australia with my dad over Chinese New Year, he goes to the Australian Open every year for business so I joined him in Melbourne for a few days for a short vacation!

My dad and I shopped and explored all the side streets and arcades of downtown Melbourne the first day I was there.  We came across this small Italian restaurant and had delicious pasta for lunch.  

Highlight of the trip for sure!

Got there early enough to watch Federer practice before the other athletes where scheduled to play.

The view from our seats (!!!)

Sharapova vs Lisicki.  Watching tennis live was such a different experience than watching it on TV, these athletes are so impressive.  Sharapova won but it was close!

The cheering section, if you watch the Australian open you know what I'm referring to!

Djokavic vs Hewitt. SO much fun to watch. I think everyone in the stadium was rooting for Hewitt (Australian loyalty) and he definitely put up a good fight, but Djokavic won (because he's just so damn good).

Sunshine and blue skies and green leaves

Dad and I got lost trying to find the zoo, so this is Dad's victory shot when we finally found it..  and then we got lost in the zoo.  I now know where I get my poor sense of direction.

SO excited that we got to see a platypus (btw, I just noticed the sign: platypusary? Really?)

Kangaroo mama and baby.

I just love the way summer nights glow.

Gelato mmmmmm

Dad makes friends with everyone and on this night he decided to befriend an angry Italian man who was yelling at pedestrians as they walked by, asking them why they wouldn't come eat at his restaurant.  Because sir, you're crazy. I took this picture right before my dad decided to involve me in the conversation in which crazy angry man listed off all the ingredients in his marinara sauce.  Awesome.

Quickest trip I've ever taken to another country, I'm so lucky I get to travel with my dad while I'm out here on this side of the world.  

Highs and Lows

It's been three weeks.  

Three weeks of adjusting, working, learning my way around and figuring this city out.  I'll attempt to recap the past three weeks the best way I know how: highs and lows.  If you know me, you'll know what this means and you'll know it's one of my favorite questions to ask (the camp counselor in me will always prevail). 

SO, high points and low points of the past three weeks:

Living in a city, I love it.
My morning commute that consists of riding on the second level a of double decker bus and getting triple shot cappuccinos (it's excessive, but necessary)
My new obsession with croissants: I've replaced the bagel... if you can believe that
Dim sum.
My office: the people and the work I'm doing.  Last weekend I worked on a large scale event for a Bollywood viewers choice award show called the Zee Cine Awards.  Google it.  It was such a cool learning experience.  We managed the media, the press conference and escorted celebrities down the red carpet.  It was exhausting and rewarding and so much fun, the whole event was unreal.
Navigating without google maps: every day feels like an accomplishment
Fresh seafood
The food here in general 
Living with my dad (for the first time since high school)
Living in Repulse Bay: mountains on one side of my building and the ocean on the other
Being surrounded by expat families- young mothers in grocery stores, children running around with their amas (maids), dads teaching their kids to swim in the club house pool and the pack of HKIS students that wait with me near my bus stop every morning- these families remind me of when my family lived here over 12 years ago.  
Public transportation
H&M down the road from my office
Take out Thai dinners
The weather: in my opinion, it's warm here, however I've seen a few people sporting ski jackets in the 60 degree weather we're having.
Skype, I just love skyping now
Being on my own- it's been a refreshing change
Applying to graduate schools (specifically for an MSW.  The more I think and pray about it, the more it feels right)
Getting three days off of work for Chinese New Year and going to Australia during my time off
Experiencing summertime in the southern hemisphere
Wearing flip flops and shorts
Attending the Australian Open: my dad goes to the Australian Open for business every year and I got to tag along.  I got to see Djokovic and Sharapova win.  It was so freaking cool.
Watching Harry Potter 7 pt. 2 on the plane ride home (is it normal to cry during that movie?)
FINALLY updating my blog :)

Living in fear of getting food poisoning   
Not having anyone to talk about the bachelor with (except via twitter, but I'm always a day late) EVERYONE ON THAT SHOW IS CRAZY.  There, I just needed to get that out.
Not being sure if the faucet water here is safe to drink... and drinking it anyway
Being referred  to as "the intern" and "the American"
Attempting to communicate with people who don't speak English and always failing
Long work days: leaving for work at 7:45 am every day and returning around 7:45 pm every night
FOMO: fear of missing out (thank you sib class of '12) 
Still not skyping with my baby who is currently in Belize 
Trading in my iphone for a blackberry (not an actual low, iphones are just so much better)
Eating by myself at lunch (I don't have an issue being alone, unless it's in public, hmmm)
Wearing cropped pants and getting funny looks (you people, 60 degrees is warm)
The 9 hours it took to get to Australia- I had no clue it took that long
Missing the people I love and then realizing it's only been three weeks.  I need to psych up.

It's been such a great start, thankful I have more highs than lows.  And now that I have a routine down and a better sense for my time, I'll pay more attention to this lovely blog of mine.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Allow me to explain...

I think it's important for everyone to know how abrupt all of this is and was and continues to be.  Moving to Hong Kong, that is.

Back in mid December I found out I was officially going to move to Hong Kong.  The day I got the green light from the company I'm interning at was the same day I booked my flights and told my work I was leaving.  
Two weeks later Christmas came and went and five days after that I was on a plane to Mexico to celebrate the new year with my boyfriend and his family.  It's hard to believe the picture below was taken a little over a week ago.

I had 36 hours in between getting back from Mexico and leaving for China.

My friends (my wonderful, loyal, incredible, amazing friends) gathered for dinner at City Vu Wednesday night to see me off.  We went through a few bottles of wine, ate delicious flat breads and exchanged stories from our Christmas vacations and NYE.  The closure was good for me, I'm going to miss these people.

My luggage was obnoxious and Delta only allowed me to check two bags for free.  I ended up carrying two bags on- the tennis bag and Vera Bradley.  I broke a sweat as I navigated the airport and wrestled my baggage all day long.  Never again.  I'll leave clothes behind before I do that again.

I spent my first Saturday night in Hong Kong fighting jet lag and eating take out Thai food on my own.  I downloaded the newest Modern Family and Revenge episodes from iTunes and almost forgot I was in a foreign country.

My dad and I spent the next day exploring Hong Kong.

From top left: My dad and I waiting for the bus that goes into Central.  Top right: double decker buses in Hong Kong are the coolest.  If that makes me the ultimate tourist than so be it, I will never not enjoy riding on the second level.  Bottom right: We were trying to locate my work place on the map so I would know where to go on Monday.  I felt like I was back in middle school mapping the route from my locker to all my classrooms.  But trust me, it was necessary.  Bottom left: This picture is irrelevant to the rest of my day, but I got a manicure the day after I landed and wanted proof that this actually happened.  It must have been the jet lag that made me do it, I never paint my nails.  However, I think I like it.

We got a bit lost and turned around throughout the day.  The detours were worth it.

I took this picture while we were still lost, and as it turns out I walk past this view every day on my way to work.  The cartoons serve as a good reference point so I know I'm going the right way.

The Chinese New Year is right around the corner and this year is the year of the dragon- can you tell?

A Patagonia store lies right underneath my office building, which would be a lot more tempting if it were cold here.

This poster greeted me when I peeked into my office building.  So appropriate.   
Although my move to Hong Kong seemed abrupt, my decision for coming here wasn't.  At the beginning of August, when I started to pursue this internship in Hong Kong, my dad gave me a piece of advice that stuck with me as I decided to come out here.  He told me not to be afraid to take risks.  "You're young," he said, "this is the time in your life when you can afford to take risks."  So, here I am.