Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taste of culture

Small World Christian Kindergarten (where Craig works) has students representing over 24 countries across the globe. Every year they learn about children of the world culminating in a special family cultural day which they celebrated on Friday. Children and staff came to school in their national dress and each brought some tasty food from their culture.

Craig liked seeing the different shoes on display.

The students sang "Jesus loves the little children"

Parents love to visit and take photos of their children performing.

The Australian table.

The two proud Aussies on staff, Craig and his boss Gail.

Who can spot the error here?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Six months on...

Today marks the six-month mark since we left Australia for Hong Kong. I don't need to tell you all that we've been up to as it is basically all here for you to read on this blog. 

You might remember reading our first impressions when we had been here for a few days. I thought it might be good to ask everyone how they are feeling about living here now after six months.

Craig "While it's been great finding an English-speaking church here in Hong Kong, I still miss our home church and the ministries there. I also miss foods like Kellogs Coco Pops, as they taste different here. I'm looking forward to seeing my family in NSW in July, watching the sun set over flat plains without a single skyscraper in sight, and driving a car again. It's exciting to continually see God's hand preparing the way for bigger and better things. For example, just today I met the CEO of a non-profit organisation which seeks venture capital for local start-up companies in the field of education and health. I'm thankful to the Lord for Renee's job at ICS. I like not having to mow a lawn or weed or wash a car. Our pay TV sports channels were a very nice splurge, I have to admit. The humidity and mould problems in Hong Kong were unexpected, but the price of take-away food here has been a pleasant surprise. I am still struggling to find ways to connect and share God's love with the Chinese people."

Renee "I am still feeling resigned to being here in Hong Kong, rather than relishing all the adventures we are having. Once my class is up and running I think I will feel more fulfilled and happy about being here.  My  sister Lauren's surprise visit remains the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. This blog has  also been an unexpected pleasure for me to maintain; it's a fun hobby. Of course I greatly miss the op shops in Australia and my involvement with Deaf ministry at church. I was so thrilled to return to Perth for Alec's funeral and see some of my friends again. I am looking forward to my mum's visit, as I know she will be a huge encouragement and help to our family. I am daily thankful to the Lord for giving us such a wonderful apartment in which to live. We have sold both our cars in Perth, so that is a relief as well. The language barrier here in Hong Kong remains my biggest hurdle. It just seems so insurmountable; I can't even be bothered to start."

Jemilla "I like living in Hong Kong because at my school there is a sandbox, and I can find lots of interesting stones in it. I like being the best reader in my class. I always wanted to live in an upstairs downstairs house, and I thought I would have to wait until I was a grown-up, but now I live in an apartment with five levels! I like the food here, but the smells in the market give me a tummy ache. I think I am allergic to them. I miss the beaches in Australia like Hillary's (in Perth). I miss Mia and Jonathan and going to Katie's house to play. I still haven't been to Disneyland here yet. I am excited about Manou coming to visit soon, and I can't wait until July when we go back to Australia and I can go to Hungry Jacks again."

Keegan "I like living in Hong Kong because I have a lot of friends here. Every Sunday afternoon I go to cricket practice so I can get better at bowling, batting, and fielding. I love watching Ricky Ponting play cricket on our big TV in our apartment. I like playing in the club house. At school the thing that I like the most is that before Chinese New Year we didn't have to do any work, just fun stuff and playing. I like some of the food here, but not fish balls. I miss my bike and trampoline and yellow cricket pads from Australia. I wish I could see Owen again. Sometimes there is no cricket on TV, and I feel sort of disappointed, and that's all I have to say."

Tirzah "Mummy is writing this for me as I am still not speaking in full paragraphs yet. I am getting better at using the potty and talking and going for longer walks without the pram. I don't really like having to travel on so many buses and trains everywhere; it makes me grumpy. I certainly stand out here among all the Chinese people! I am happy to try all different foods here in Hong Kong. I LOVE the Wiggles and In the Night Garden and Playschool and am happy that we can watch all of them on our TV. I don't like sitting quietly in church for very long. I don't really prefer Hong Kong or Australia as long as I have my family and my dolly with me."

Thank you to those people who have left comments on this blog or emailed us in the last six months. Keep it up please! It is always encouraging to know there are people interested in our lives and praying for us.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Home group

Tonight we met with three other couples from church for our first official home group/ Bible study here in Tai Po.

We met right here in Forest Hill from 5-8:30 pm. Someone else organised take-away for tea, so I was glad to not have to worry about that responsibility. You can see the nine children enjoying their KFC meal.

(Except for Tirzah, who was most upset that another child was using her special Wiggles cup.)

While the adults were chatting, the girls did a school project together...

...and played with Jemilla's Barbies.

The boys were quiet with a DS and dress-ups for a while, but then they started bothering the girls... they were redirected to Keegan's room to play with the Lego.

We enjoyed an open discussion about (among other things) Chinese culture, vegemite, and travel,  before agreeing on a study plan and agenda for our home group.

Aside from feeling stressed about the door-slamming and occasional shouting that I could hear from the children upstairs, I enjoyed meeting with the families. We look forward to the next gathering in a fortnight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Classical Gardens

On Thursdays, Tirzah and I usually walk for fifteen minutes from the Tai Po Market train station to a nearby estate called Classical Gardens. Here there is a group of English-speaking mothers who meet weekly in the club house playroom in order to chat and allow our children time to play together. 

I am happy for any excuse to get out of the apartment, and Tirzah really enjoys the range of bikes and toys. It is very different from the Forest Hill club house playroom.

These photos were taken this morning.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Some of you have been asking how work is going...well, every Wednesday I commute to International Christian School where I have been meeting staff, doing paperwork, reading through case files, writing my wish list for resources, etc. I am working with some other staff to try to identify the right group of seven children for my new class. I feel it is progressing rather slowly, and of course I am impatient to actually have students to teach again.

This is my lovely brand new classroom. The desks and chairs will all be moved over to the high school block soon.

And the files in all those cardboard boxes will all have to be shredded. I have also asked for a sink to be installed.

This is one of the catalogues I have been looking through for educational resources. I think it is from Japan.

What interested me most was this page showing the dedicated pre-school teachers warding off a dangerous  masked attacker with these special pronged sticks. A must-have for every early childhood centre, I'm sure.

We are still trying to think of a name for the new special education class I will be teaching. 

Any ideas?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Natalie's last day

For Natalie's final day here in Hong Kong we went out to eat for lunch at Ajisen Ramen in Tai Po. The food was disappointing, but the company was certainly memorable.

This was supposed to be beef fried rice, but instead it was a disappointing fatty fried beef over rice.

I can't remember what these were called on the menu, but Natalie called them meat loaf on a stick.

Sumo ramen

Tempura prawns

We made up for our unsatisfactory lunch by going to Starbucks for dessert.

Natalie with our ever-so-healthy dessert.

And, yes, I can see you drooling from here...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lion Dance

We were privileged to watch a Chinese Lion Dance here at Forest Hill this morning. Enjoy the photos and video footage!