Monday, February 28, 2011

ICS Jazz Cafe

On Saturday night we headed back to school to hear the ICS middle school and high school students sing and play sixteen jazz numbers. We sat around tables in the courtyard, munching on food and chatting while enjoying the music and festive atmosphere. At the end of the night our children scavenged all the unwanted glow sticks they could find and amassed a huge collection of the things. On the MTR back home I counted 29 glowing bracelets on just one of Keegan's arms!

Here is a video of the fantastic ICS High School Show Choir performing 'Come Fly With Me" by Cahn and Heusen (1957).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

NIS Open Day 2011

Today we returned to Norwegian International School in Tai Po for its annual Open Day, an event to promote the school to the wider community. Jemilla and Keegan attended this school when we first arrived in Hong Kong, and we still have strong ties to NIS due to Craig's work at Small World International Kindergarten. You can see my blog post about this same event last year here. The children especially enjoyed performing specific activities/tasks to earn stamps on their cards which they later redeemed for free popcorn.

 Face painting

Digging for buried treasure

Craft (decoupage)


Musical glasses

Maths problems

Jumping castle

Magic Show



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coffee night

Every couple of weeks I meet with a group of English-speaking women at Pacific Coffee in Kowloon Tong for some caffeine and conversation. (Actually I have an iced chocolate, but it doesn't have quite the same alliteration.) We come from many different geographical places and walks-of-life, but it's great to pool our knowledge of life in Hong Kong. This was our group tonight: Tanya, Darcy, Verena, Jodie, Sarah, Renee, Becky, and Lori. You're welcome to join us on our next ladies night out!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Barbie things that make you go "Hmmmmmm..."

Jemilla has a HUGE collection of Barbie dolls, furniture and accessories. Most of them have come from the op shops at a fraction of their original cost. 

This post will feature three of the more interesting items she owns. 

I'll let Jemilla introduce the first doll to you in this video.

In case you missed it from the video, here is the doll again.

1. Doll is fairly innocuous, despite the unattractive frock.

2. Dress is removed, doll sports a surprisingly large belly instead of the typical tiny Barbie waist.

3. Belly is removed. Aha! We find the source of the big tummy is a fully formed baby.

4. Baby is removed and hey presto! Flat belly pops up again!

So do you find it cool or creepy? Do you think it misinforms children of the childbirth process? Where are Barbie's stretchmarks and bloated ankles, not to mention the umbilical cord and placenta? And, mothers, don't you wish your tummy returned to it's original flat state this easily?

Jemilla and Tirzah both adore this new addition to the doll house, despite the fact that she is not a real Barbie. Today I found the expectant mother  reclining on a couch with her feet elevated and a cool cloth on her forehead. Lucky doll!

Remember my post last year about the many capsule toys for sale in Hong Kong? Look at this cute addition to Jemilla's Barbie doll house. It came from a capsule toy dispenser and it is a capsule toy dispenser. And what does it dispense with one turn of the tiny handle?

More capsule toys!

Here's the third unusual item I'd like to show you.

Barbie has a friendly dog named Tanner. He's soft and fuzzy and his mouth, ears, head and tail move. He comes with a box of brown Tic Tac-like dog biscuits. Basically, Tanner eats, he poos, and then he eats his own poo again. Hygienic? Not at all. Fun? Absolutely! Here's a demonstration by Jemilla if you don't believe me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New church

After several weeks of unrest at Shatin Anglican Church, we decided to make the move to a new congregation. We now attend Kowloon International Baptist Church. You can read more about it here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On the chocolate trail

Recently the girls and I explored a shopping centre exhibition based on the mouth-watering theme of chocolate. "Embark on a chocolate journey," the advertisements read, "where the power of sweet inspiration transcends space and time." Well, we didn't  have time to see the heritage buildings (i.e. the Great Chocolate Wall of China) but we did enjoy the unusual chocolate art and fashion on display. (Yes, I did say fashion. Scroll down the page to see some amazing clothing made from chocolate.)

 This chocolate dress was designed by Jean-Paul Hevin from France.

Erika Mizuno from Japan created "The Chocolate Bunny Dress".

And here is a similar outfit in white chocolate.

This chock frock (I coined that you like it?) is called "Crystallization" by Iris van Herpen from the Netherlands.

Chocolate blouse and jewellery

Some chocolate boots perhaps?

So do you think these dresses and accessories melt in your mouth or your hand? 

The Chocolate Trail is open until the 20th of February at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. And before you ask, Colleen, regrettably there are NO free samples.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Have you ever seen...? (seventeen)

...eyelashes on a car?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kindergarten interview

In Hong Kong, children go to school from as young as two years old. However, actually securing a place in a local or international kindergarten can be difficult. Spaces are highly competitive. Some settings require lengthy essays from the parents about their parenting philosophies. Children may have to sit entry tests for which you  are advised to hire a tutor. After all, your child should know all their colours, shapes, numbers and letters before starting kindergarten. Alternatively, there are several guidebooks you can buy to help you prepare for the nerve-wracking interview, offering tips such as the recommendation that you and your child wear your best clothes to the admissions interview in order to impress.

I tell you all this in order to paint a picture for you of the interview for kindergarten our three-year-old experienced this morning.

We had trouble finding a taxi in the rain, so we arrived slightly late and wilted to the all-important appointment. The woman at reception seemed surprised when we politely refused her suggestion of "visiting the washroom". Tirzah and I were then ushered into a classroom while Craig was questioned by a staff member in order to determine his English proficiency as Tirzah's parent. There were two other girls tested with Tirzah. Their first task was to find a matching picture for each square of the lotto board on their table. Tirzah started out well, and I pretended like I wasn't actually cheering inside whenever she put the sun on the sun, etc. Then Tirzah accidentally knocked some of the laminated pictures off the table onto the floor by swinging her doll Alinta around. She hopped off her chair and attempted to pick up the pictures, but the smooth plastic squares proved most elusive. When she finally retrieved the fallen pictures, she decided to gather them all in her hand and they flew everywhere in a spectacular playing card fountain. Once again, she wasted many minutes on her cheerful card rescue mission. Eventually the teacher swapped activities and presented Tirzah with a wooden insert puzzle. Aha! I thought. Now, she'll show them! I relaxed back in my designated "Parent Chair" only to lean forward again in dismay as I saw my little puzzle expert drive a bus UPSIDE DOWN around the puzzle board trying it in every spot except the right one. The teacher had to direct her to rotate the piece ... to hand-over-hand help my daughter who has been doing 25+ interlocking puzzles for months now! I was relieved when the puzzle was removed and Tirzah was instead given some plastic coloured bears to sort. "Can you put the families together?" she was asked. "Where is this baby's mother?" The activity required collecting all the different sized yellow bears together, the red bears, and so on. Is that what Tirzah did? Not even close. Instead, she lined all the bears facing forward on the table in a huge semi-circle of miss-mashed colours and sizes in front of her as though ready to perform a musical concert to an audience of one. At this point the teachers announced we were moving to the next classroom to continue the testing in there. Tirzah happily skipped into the nearby classroom and headed for an activity table only to be told she needed to sit on a chair to listen to a book read aloud. "Do you like stories?" the teacher asked my child. "No!" Tirzah answered, unimpressed, still eyeing the attractive toys around the room. I was relieved that my normally book-loving child remained in her chair for the duration of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and even answered some questions relating to the animals in the book and their respective colours. Following story time the children moved to a drawing table where they were presented with a white piece of paper and fat new crayons. Impress the staff with your detailed portraits, Tirzah. I tried to communicate telepathically. Write some alphabet letters. Mention something spiritual. It was all in vain. My clever girl took the purple crayon in her chubby fist and scribbled a big purple blob on her paper. "What's that you've drawn, Tirzah?" the teacher asked. "I don't know." she answered. And just like that, the interview was over.

I am thankful for a few things:

Tirzah did not pick her nose.

She did not cry and cling to me.

She did not stockpile all the crayons in front of her and refuse to share them.

(All of which behaviours the other girls present were observed to do.)

Plus she looked mighty cute. How can the kindergarten NOT accept her?