Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking news

Our dear little girl has broken her leg!

At church on Sunday, Tirzah slipped on some toys and landed badly on her right side. Immediately after the incident she was unable to put weight on her foot. That afternoon Craig took Tirzah to the doctor who thought she might have strained her knee. To cut a long and extremely harrowing story short, for the past three days we've had numerous consultations at a Medical Practice and local hospital until finally yesterday an x-ray revealed a fracture in her tibia. So for the next six to eight weeks Tirzah will have her leg in a cast.

It's the first broken bone we have experienced as a family. Tirzah has remained her usual cheerful self, willingly taking her pain medication and entertaining patients in the hospital waiting room with her loud rendition of "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Last night, however, she woke up screaming when her cast got stuck under the rail of her bed...poor little girl... If you have the time, please send Tirzah an ecard to encourage her during this period of immobility. She would love that! My email address is

As a side note, I boasted to someone recently that I hoped to survive our four years in Hong Kong without us ever needing to go to a doctor. Pride goeth...and all that...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Visit from Mark Webb

This week we enjoyed a short visit from Mark Webb, a friend from Perth. Mark is the Chief Executive Officer of Botanic Parks and Gardens Authority in Western Australia, and he and Craig served together on the board of Kingsway Christian College.

This is a local Vietnamese restaurant. (Yes, Carla and Lauren, those are real nems complete with lettuce and dipping sauce! Drool away...)

Before he arrived, the children were convinced that it was actually Mark Webber who would be visiting us.

Although the kids were slightly disappointed that Mr Webb-not-Webber had never raced a car in his life, Mark soon won Tirzah over by reading "Going on a Bear Hunt" to her.

He won Keegan over by discussing Australian sport / cricket at length.

And Mark won Jemilla over by leaving a box of Häagen-Dazs ice-cream in the freezer.

It was a shame that it was just a flying visit from Mark, as he has such a gift of encouragement. We loved having him here!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mid-Autumn Carnival 2010

It's Mid-Autumn Festival again. It's the time of the year for mooncakes and lanterns and Forest Hill's annual Carnival. Do you remember me posting about the same event last year? We had just moved in to our apartment, and everything was all new and exciting.

I missed it because I was at the Deaf Film Festival, but Craig took the children and from all accounts this year's carnival was just as enjoyable. What child wouldn't like staying up late and getting free snacks! Craig gave them each glow-in-the-dark bracelets to add to the fun.

The children did a craft activity involving layering colours of sand into tiny glass bottles with cork lids.


This was a throwing game.

Jemilla and Keegan each won a prize for getting the ball in a hole. The prize was a small Bostik gluestick for their school pencil cases.

Just like last year there was a Riddle booth with most of the questions written in Chinese. The last sheet was in English.

Jemilla correctly answered the following question:

Which word is coiled inside this circle?

                                                               N      G
                                                         O                   E
                                                         R                   R
                                                                T      S       

 ...and scored some sticky tape. Woohoo!

The carnival also had a pop-corn stand.

However, this was the favourite booth of the fairy floss! The trick was to eat it quickly, as the hot and humid  weather saw it start to melt/drip away after less than one minute.

I don't know what was so fascinating about our kids eating fairy floss, but one of our neighbours was more interested in watching the white children than in watching the Chinese instrument performance.

Craig did a quick head count and panicked when he couldn't see Jemilla. Then he looked up on the stage and this is what he saw.

Jemilla was picked from the "bumper" crowd who were seated in front of the main stage to have the visiting artist tear out her profile on a small piece of paper.

Update on Eden

I received this email today from Paul Federwitz about the progress of their tiny daughter, Eden, following her surgery.

Eden has been doing very well.  On Monday night they stopped the drip that was giving her nutrients.  On Tuesday afternoon they removed the PICC line which was the last of the tubes going into her.  On Tuesday evening they removed the NG tube which went from her nose to her stomach so that she could be fed.  That meant that starting last night she was fully on Ali’s milk and depended on nursing.  She has done very well with that.

Today has been a day of suspense.  Each of the nurses was under the assumption that we were going home, but we did not know that actual criteria yet.  We were waiting for the doctor.

Around 3pm I called Ali to say that I couldn’t concentrate on my studies so had put the car seat in and was coming to the hospital.  She said that Eden had just been weighed and was 20 grams lighter than the night before and so would not be released.  We had tried not to get our hopes up, but we were both devastated.

When I got to the hospital 15 minutes later, I entered the room to find a nurse doing her final physical.  The doctor had decided that Eden was doing well enough that she wasn’t worried.  Two hours later Eden was in her car seat and on her way out of the hospital!

Hours after Eden’s birth we had been told that she had a 50/50 chance of living.  If she did well, we would still be in the hospital for a minimum of a month.  Surgery could possibly be done in ten to fourteen days.  Recovery from surgery would be about 15 days.  Her left lung would probably be about the size of a pea.  Less than three weeks ago I signed papers for drastic measures that they could do to save my daughter’s life if needed.  That is what the doctors said.

Here is what our Lord has done!  We now have a beautiful baby girl that is at home with her family.  She went into surgery seven days after she was born.  She was released from the hospital 12 days after surgery and 19 days after she was admitted.  Her right lung is in great condition and she has 1/3 of her left lung.  Our God is an Awesome God and has listened to all of your prayers, from around the world.

Please continue to pray with us as we learn more in the days, weeks and months to come.  We have been advised not to have Eden around a lot of people as she will be very susceptible to cold and flu.  Either of these could put her back in the hospital.  We will also be having many conversations with doctors about what her lung condition will mean for our life in northern Ghana where it is very dry and dusty.  

Praise God for the good things He has done, the good things He is doing, and the good things He will do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Saying grace as a family before a meal is not something we do because we think we "have to", although it has become like a habit that our children remind us about if we forget. I hope that in time they will learn that praying before eating is not a legalistic rule, but rather a practice that helps us retain our perspective about who provides our food. We thank God because we genuinely want to. Jesus demonstrated this same attitude of thankfulness by praying before meals as well.

So the format of meal-time prayers is not as important as the attitude, but it can be lots of fun! Here's our  repertoire of grace songs, some of which the Eyres family taught us during their visit last month. Do you have any more to add?

God is Great (Tune of “Rock Around the Clock”)
God is great, God is good
And we thank Him for our food
We’re gonna thank Him morning, noon, and night
We’re gonna thank you, Lord, you’re outta sight!
Amen! Clap clap
Amen! Clap Clap
AMEN! Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap

Superman Prayer
Than you, Lord, for giving us food!
Than you, Lord, for giving us food!
The food we eat!
The friends  we meet!
Thank you, Lord, for giving us food!

Un ami à droite
Un ami à droite, un ami à gauche
A tous bon appétit.
Un ami à droite, un ami à gauche
A tous bon appétit.
Merci Seigneur pour ce repas,
Merci Seigneur pour ce repas,
Merci Seigneur pour ce repas,
A tous bon appétit!

Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the world so sweet (diddle-dee-dum)
Thank you for the food we eat (YUM YUM)
Thank you for the birds that sing-a-ling-a-ling
And thank you, God, for everything. AMEN!

Batman Prayer
Thank you for the dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, Amen!

Jesus was a Cool Dude (Tune of "We Will Rock You")
Jesus was a cool dude,
40 days with no food,
Then he wrote the golden rule and that's O.K.
He's got love on his face,
Full of grace!
He's spreadin' his word all over the place!
Singin', we will, we will
Praise him (yeah!) praise him (yeah!)
We will, we will
Praise him (yeah!) praise him (yeah!)

Thanks a lot for this food, Lord (Tune of "Tie me Kangaroo down, Sport")
Thanks a lot for this food, Lord.
Thanks again and again.
Thanks a lot for this food, Lord.
Thanks again and again.

Zip a dee do dah Grace
Zip a dee do dah, Zip a dee ay,
We are grateful for your blessings today.
We’ve plenty to eat, to drink and to share,
We sit at your table, with friends everywhere!

Adams Family Grace
Do-do-do-do (snap snap), do-do-do-do (snap, snap)
Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do (snap, snap)
We thank You for our food, Lord,
And all the things You do, Lord.
We thank You for our food, Lord, and friends and family.
Do-do-do-do (snap, snap), do do do do (snap, snap)
Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do -- AMEN!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

See what I'm saying

I have been gorging on sign language this weekend. 

I have been in attendance at The First Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival, featuring more than thirty Deaf films from around the world including France, the United States, Austria, Finland, Italy, Britain, China, Korea, Australia and Hong Kong. In case you were wondering, Deaf films are those that have significant involvement of persons who are deaf, as directors, actors, playwrights, etc. So although most of the films were entirely in sign language, some were typical English films written, produced, and filmed by a Deaf person. 

I found it just as nerve-wracking to walk into a room full of Deaf people here in Hong Kong as I  use to feel at the Deaf Club in Perth. I stand out even more here as a white person who knows nothing at all about Hong Kong Sign Language. I wish I had Lorene or Donna or Kristen to accompany me! However, it felt wonderful to be back in a room full of people using their hands to communicate, with the humming and clicking sounds, laughs and grunts that make up their universal deafisms.  I did summon the courage to talk to five Deaf people this weekend, and we found a way to communicate. 

Following are some of the films I enjoyed this weekend:

See What I’m Saying is a documentary about four Deaf entertainers: a stand-up comedian, a drummer in an all-deaf rock band, an actor and Juilliard professor who is homeless, and a singer. The film follows them as they navigate their personal and professional lives over the course of a year and try to win over the mainstream/hearing audience. 

Audism Unveiled exposes and explains another form of oppression prevalent in the Deaf community. Going beyond definitions, this powerful documentary uses real life experiences from Deaf people of varied social, racial, and educational boundaries, showing how this form of oppression does lasting and harmful damage.

Raving for One This is an entertaining romantic farce. A girl with a heart of gold finds herself in a dilemma of hilarious proportions when three guys desperately seek her affections.

Don’t Mind? Bill opens his home when he is unexpectedly asked to baby-sit a neighbour’s daughter. The child invites chaos and confusion in his orderly life.

Preservation of Sign Language George Veditz (1861-1937) launched this project in 1913 at the National Association of the Deaf (U.S.) in response to the tragic aftermath of Milan 1880 where oralist proponents at the International Congress on Education of the Deaf voted to ban sign language. Veditz is filmed in ASL with an English translation by Carol A. Padden.

Birds of a Feather

Gallaudet A film about Gallaudet University, an internationally known university for the Deaf.

Stiletto William Mager, Deaf filmmaker, directed this film. It could happen to anyone, in any bar in town. A Hitchcock Blonde confronts an unwitting stranger. She draws his attention to the other clientele, among them a businessman whom she implies once attacked her, yet went unpunished. The woman asks the stranger to mind her handbag while she goes to powder her nose. She does not return. The stranger discovers that the handbag contains a bomb. There's only one way to stop the bomb going off. A simple matter of murder. 

50/50 Andy is Deaf, Jez is hearing, and they are both broke and living in a van. Jez dreams up a series of perfect get-rich scams, but Andy is having doubts. 

Coming Home Mark, a young deaf man, adopted by hearing parents, is determined to uncover the truth about his past but in so doing reveals a tragic family secret. Mark and his girlfriend, Kate, travel to Suffolk to find out about his birth mother, and why she gave Mark up for adoption. 

Me and My Wacky Doctor A silent comedy which follows the experience of a Deaf patient as he tries to get his Disability Living Allowance form signed by his doctor. What should be a simple trip to the doctor's becomes a challenge as the crazy doctor tries to prove that the Deaf patient can actually hear, using antiquated, and strange medical techniques!

The Boy from Before This drama is a four-part series about a ghost of a boy from the 1940's who visits a school for deaf students. The show teaches lessons about friendship and bullying.

Departure Lounge Departure Lounge is a celebration of the friendship and deaf solidarity that develops between Sid, an ailing older man and Matt, a young hospital cleaner. Sid is angry, frightened and isolated. Neither his doctors nor his wife, Morag, seem able to help or comfort him. Matt, is also frightened and uncertain. He has a partner, Jill, and a baby, but Matt is running away from his responsibilities. It is their deafness that creates the initial bond between the two men. Matt breaks down Sid's isolation by taking him up on to the roof of the hospital and together they create a sort of deaf club in the sky. Here they sit and talk, fall out and make up, speculate on the wonders of a deaf heaven, and slowly come to realise that, despite everything, each can give courage to the other. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


One of Jemilla's new ICS classmates kindly invited our family to his birthday party. It was at a bowling club, and we were instructed to come in costume which most of the other children seemed to ignore. Not ours! A great deal of time was spent choosing the perfect outfits from our dress-up box. In the end, Jemilla dressed as Snow White, Keegan as Ben10, and Tirzah as Dorothy the Dinosaur. We had a great time...our first bowling adventure in Hong Kong. As usual, we were impressed with the quantity and quality of the food provided at a party fairy bread or chocolate crackles in sight, though!

Craig shows us all the right way to do it.

Tirzah decides whether she needs a ramp or not.

Apparently not. Line up the ball...

...and give it a push.

Wait approximately seven minutes for the ball to eventually reach the pins...

...then run back excitedly to your cheering fans...


...followed by an extremely cute victory dance.

Keegan's turn

If the bowling gets boring, there are always video games to play.