Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Highs and Lows

Before I begin, I would like you all to know that I've passed on the Camp Tecumseh/ SIB bible study ritual of Highs and Lows onto my office here in Hong Kong.  

For those of you that don't know, I was a camp counselor the summer after my freshman year of college.  The experience had a tremendous impact on my being and a part of me will always and forever be a camp counselor after that summer.  One of my favorite things we did at camp was "highs and lows" of the day.  Before devotionals, with ten girls sitting in a circle around a lit candle, we would take turns sharing the good and bad of our days. It gave us a chance to reflect and to open up to one another (two of my favorite things to do). After camp, I brought Highs and Lows into a few first dates, my sorority bible studies, dinner conversations with family and now to my co-workers in Hong Kong.  Last week we made drawings of our highs and lows in a friend's journal.

(I really like these people)
So, moving right along.  My Highs and Lows over the past six weeks: 

God moments: 
Particularly this sermon about timing (March 4th Gathering)
Mom and Lauren came to see me:
I had back to back visits a few weeks ago from two of my favorite women in the world.  My momma arrived in the height of my homesickness and in the middle flu that took me out for a few days. Needless to say, it was so necessary and refreshing to have her around.  Not only did she take care of me but we got a lot of great conversations in that left me energized and happy.  My mom and I have developed this wonderful friendship over the years and having her in Hong Kong was such a treat.  
My besfrenn came to visit early March:

We caused a scene in the airport.  
Showing Lauren where I lived, worked and played was such a fun experience for the both of us.  We explored new territory in Sai Kung, ate some amazing food, and caught up on everything we've missed in the past two months. Her visit left me feeling grounded, she has that effect on people.

(We let dad hang with us)
(Redefining what fresh seafood means in Sai Kung)
Letters from home: 
Receiving snail mail from Sarah Wright and Steph Erhardt, along with a STACK of letters from the SIB 2012 Pledge Class (organized by my sweet cousin Morgan) had me absolutely giddy this past month.  I feel so loved.

(I will frame this card, it's just so perfect)

The weather: 
It's slowly but surely transitioning from rain and fog to sunshine and humidity. Flowers are beginning to bud on the trees here and it's gorgeous.

Sunday sea side walks: 
I've made it a point to go for long walks around Repulse Bay on Sundays with Hope College Chapel CDs from the last four years on shuffle.  It's my time to unwind, to reflect and to enjoy.

Friday Night Lights: 
I bought the complete series the third week I was living here, thinking it would be a good way to spend my down time and let me just tell you, I am completely obsessed.  These characters have become my friends, I aspire to have a relationship and family like Coach Taylor and his wife, I feel for Matt and I adore Landry.  I literally jump out of my seat for Tyra's success and failures and I think Tim Riggins is the sexiest man alive.  No one worry about me. I leave the apartment and maintain a life with real friendships outside the television series, but seriously, if you've seen the show you know what I'm talking about.

"Have a Little Faith" 
I just finished "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom.  Reading that book on my morning commutes, coffee breaks and before I went to bed at night was always a high point of my day.

St. Patrick's day:  
I spent my St. Patrick's day across the harbor in Kowloon with two friends, navigating through the shopping malls and markets trying to fight claustrophobia.  We stumbled upon a Japanese photo booth while we were out and had way too much fun taking obnoxious pictures! 

Later that night I met up with another group of friends and didn't end up going home until five in the morning.  (I didn't even know I was capable of staying out that late).  My first dose of Hong Kong nightlife consisted of bar hopping, dancing on tables, green jello shots, befriending the massive crowds of people wandering the streets of LFK and McDonald's breakfast.

(In true SIB fashion, I grabbed a few unattained items on the way out of a bar.  It completed my outfit, what can I say?)

Seeing The Hunger Games: (!!!) 
The original plan was to see The Hunger Games over the weekend with a friend from work, but when her plans fell through last Thursday afternoon, I impulsively bought a ticket online and three hours later I was sitting on my own in a movie theater full of strangers, next to a teenage boy eating a hotdog (they serve hotdogs in the theaters?), practically crawling out of my skin with excitement that I was about to watch my favorite book come to life (I'm serious about The Hunger Games people).  The movie was incredible, it so well done and completely exceeded my expectations (I take deep personal offensive if anyone thinks differently.)  The fact that I was at a movie alone hardly phased me until the movie was over and I had no one to turn and talk to about how good the film was.  Out of desperation, I placed a long distance phone call to my mom and chattered her ear off until she realized it wasn't an emergency and hurried me off the phone. 

Hong Kong Sevens: 
I spent my Sunday with dad at the Hong Kong Sevens.  It was wild. I've never seen a rugby game before and SO enjoyed learning about the sport.

Decisions, decisions: 
I'm coming home early, May 5th to be exact! Which means I'll be able to make it back for a family wedding, catch the end of Eric's baseball season, and spend time with a very close friend before she leaves for the Peace Corps.  I still have a few more solid weeks here and have already started making a bucket list with my friends at work of activities to do before I leave. I intend on making the most out of my time left!

Health concerns not serious enough to be concerned about: 
For the past six weeks I've been sick on and off with an odd combination of (unrelated) problems: I got the flu one week, the next I fainted on the bus ride on my way to work and last week I ate bad sushi for lunch that left my stomach twisted in pain until the weekend.  I've gone to see the doctor twice (more times than I've seen the doctor in the past year) and am happy to report a clean bill of health. No one (mom) worry. 

So about the whole fainting on a bus thing... let me explain what happened.  I took this photo the morning of.  I wanted to show how many people were crammed onto my morning commute and at the time I was feeling fine.  Little did I know, minutes later I would start to feel dizzy and hot, claustrophobic, tired from standing up and passing through a tunnel.  Everything got real fuzzy, I dropped my bag and I blacked out.  Luckily, somewhere in the middle of it all someone moved out of their seat and sat me down.  When I finally regained my senses and my composure I looked up to see the whole bus staring back at me.  It was quiet the experience.

Impatiently waiting for Kevin to get here: 
In exactly 12 days from now Kevin will arrive in Hong Kong (!!!) I can't even begin to describe how happy and excited and giddy this makes me feel. I SO look forward to having him right here next to me.  We've been apart for three months and everyday I get closer to seeing him the more painful it feels to be apart (dramatic, I know).  Needless to say 12 days could not pass fast enough.   

My 5 year old Mac Book Pro DIED:
Truly a tragedy. Not only was I disconnected for a week straight from all things hulu and social media, but attempting to buy a new computer was a battle in and of itself.  Trying to buy a new laptop with a language barrier, two declined credit cards and and a near temper tantrum thrown by yours truly at the Apple Store was somewhat of a personal low.  Don't worry, I kept my cool and two hours later I walked out of the store with a new computer.  
Only three lows? I promise you there are more... This experience hasn't been easy but it sure has been good.  I'm learning and growing and observing and listening.  Allowing myself to flex and stretch along the way.  


  1. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

  2. I'm gonna tear up! This was a great post. Can't believe Lauren visited you!! SO COOL!

    Ps. I somehow have been out of the loop lately (can you tell) and if I had known earlier that you were in Hong Kong, I would've had a COW at sending you snail mail. I do it with several friends every summer and now that we've graduated and it's the best thing ever. Plus, I'm sure it is even more exciting for you since you are halfway across the world! Hope you're loving this experience. It sure sounds cool. I'm jealous!!!!!!