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It’s been a long time since my last post. Not that interesting things haven’t been happening. I just feel drained at the end of the day and in need of serious recuperation on weekends. The “end of the day” here means I’m home between 8:00 and 9:00 pm., leaving just enough time to eat something and prepare for the next day. That’s a long day in my books; in HK, it’s totally normal.

Which brings me to my first update. I have decided to finish out my one-year contract as Director of Marketing with the HK Phil and will leave the company in early January. It was the right decision at the right time. Given the current structure, supports and systems, I am finding it difficult to make headway. I feel worn out and uninspired. It’s time to pass the torch.

I don’t know what’s ahead although I definitely want to go back to my consulting/freelance career. I don’t expect that to be any easier now than it was when I was first looking for work here in HK, but I’m willing to risk it and we’ll see what happens.

The second update is that we spent two terrific weeks in Canada in late October/early November. It was exactly one year since our last trip home and it was great to be there. We spent one week in Calgary with my family and one week in Southern Ontario with Paul’s family. It was a thrill to see our daughter Ainsleigh row with the University of Guelph varsity team in Port Dalhousie – the first time we’ve seen her row in her entire university career. And it was great to see family, friends and our parents, all of whom are doing well.

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There were still some beautiful fall colours in Southern Ontario when we were there.

An interesting sidebar to that trip is that I was scheduled to leave HK on Friday, the 23rd of October, the same day that Typhoon Haima was expected to hit Hong Kong. Paul and I have been eagerly awaiting our first real typhoon; in the 2.5 years we’ve been here, there has really only been one baby typhoon. In this case though, there was no doubt that Haima was heading straight for HK and it was a powerful storm. When typhoons hit HK, the HK Observatory issues a Signal 8 warning, which shuts everything down. Workers go home, public transportation ceases, and the airport cancels all flights. So on Tuesday before my Friday flight, I called my airline to ask what to do. They advised me to change the flight and were waiving change fees because of the storm. I got a seat on the same flight 24-hours earlier and I am ever so glad. Typhoon Haima did indeed hit that Friday morning and shut the city down until about 5:00 p.m. I saved myself days of airport hell. The take-away from this is to be pro-active about calling your airline in advance if a major storm is predicted to hit. You are better able to control your re-booking and save yourself the grief of hanging around an airport for hours or days.

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I took this from the airport just before I left Hong Kong. See those high-rises to the left? Me neither. This is the yucky air quality we get when there’s a typhoon coming because the wind pattern is pulling air down from mainland China. 

The other update is that Ainsleigh will be finishing university in a couple of weeks and will be moving to Hong Kong. She has been offered a permanent job with Premiere Performances of Hong Kong, the same organization I first worked for here and with which she did an internship last summer. Ainsleigh will pursue a career in fundraising, starting with the arts sector and possibly expanding to other non-profits in the future. This will mean a re-org of our two-bedroom apartment and a signed contract from her committing to tidiness throughout the house. We are looking forward to having her “home” and are thrilled that she has a job in the field she wants to pursue right out of school.

Paul is doing well in his work at the West Kowloon Cultural District. I am threatening to do another “Interview with Paul” for my blog and he’s coming to terms with that, so that will be my next post.

So for now, I am hunkered down and working hard to get the best results I can during the rest of my time with the HK Phil. Paul and I are enjoying a variety of concerts and socializing. The weather is turning cooler – temperatures have dropped from the high 20s just a week ago to the high teens and we can feel the HK winter season coming. We are looking forward to Ainsleigh arriving, two sets of visitors from Canada in the next few weeks, and a nice rest at Christmas. Time flies. Best to make the most of it.

Here are snapshots of what we’ve been up to when we’re not working!

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Paul and I participated in a HK Clean-Up event at Tai Tam Country Park where we live. We are in fact in this picture at the back — really.

 

 

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I went on a walk from Wan Chai to Aberdeen with my wonderful Meet-Up group of women (about 3.5 hours at a moderate pace). At the end of the walk, we went down to the Ap Lei Chau wet market and bought fresh fish — this is the vendor weighing our purchase — then took it to a tiny little restaurant where it was cooked up for us. I’ve experienced restaurants where you “bring your own wine”, but this is the first time I’ve supplied my own fish. This is the kind of thing I would never be able to do on my own — I’m so grateful for my local friends who I can tag along with and who open up whole vistas of experience I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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This was taken at Clockenflap, a big annual, outdoor music festival In Hong Kong. This is José González, whose performance we really enjoyed in spite of the heavy rain!

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This is at the same site a couple of weeks earlier (and on a beautiful dry night). This is a shot from the HK Phil’s annual “Symphony Under the Stars” concert at the Central Harbourfront attended by 15,000 people.