Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Now You Are Fat

From what I can tell HKers don't obsess over weight like Americans do. I've met lots of people here who have nicknames based around their weight. A guy I used to work with at the flower shop happened to have the same name as another employee. So he was dubbed "Fat Boy" instead of using his real name. He volunteered it. He said that's what his mom calls him. At Matt's office Christmas party this year, they had a gift exchange. Matt got a book. The receptionist (who happened to be a little chubby) got fat cream. Apparently it's not that big of a deal to be fat here.

Which I guess is why one of the salesmen at a shop I frequent felt completely comfortable telling me I was fat. He said the very first time he met me, I was very skinny, but now I am fat. Instead of bursting into tears, I laughed it off and told him I'd eaten nothing but pizza the last two weeks (which isn't far from the truth considering we're in the midst of moving and our refrigerator is empty). Perhaps what he doesn't realize is that the first time he met me was about 2 months into our HK adventure, at which point I was only eating Skittles and baby-carrots because everything else made me want to throw up. (Surely I've mentioned my drastic food aversions, right?)

But it was still a blow to my ego. Because I am an American, and I am weight conscious and I've been feeling a wee bit tubby these last few weeks.

This little conversation stirred up unpleasant memories of the time I was trying explain to an itty-bitty Asian shop girl that I would not be buying the size 25 jeans she was pushing on me because (clearly) they would not fit me. As I made gestures to my general hip and thigh area and mumbled something about American girls being made differently, she perked up and said,

"Oh, you have baby?!"

No, Lady, I have not had a baby. I just look like this. Boy, these people sure know how to flatter a girl.

I know that I'm REALLY going to miss living in Hong Kong, but I am looking forward to feeling "normal-sized" again. Perhaps even a little on the small side.

Not to mention that my first order of business when arriving on American soil again is to put on 10 pounds. Ten pounds of pure Mexican food. Oh, I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tasty Squid Legs

I keep mentioning squid legs on my blog, but I don't think I've ever posted any real footage. So here they are in all their glory. Took these photos last night in Mong Kok near a night market. It's so funny to see a cute Asian girl in her little highheels and mini-skirt chowing down on a squid kebab. It requires quite a bit of chewing since they're so rubbery. It kinda makes my stomach do sommersaults. Mmmmmm.....so, err...tasty?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some Answers

Alright, so perhaps I do have a bit of a flair for the dramatic. I wasn't named Buhler High School's "Most Active Thespian of 1997" for nothing. Maybe I felt my crabby rangoon ratings were down, the comments hadn't been what I'd hoped for recently. Regardless, there it is. That big, shocking announcement that my husband has, indeed, quit his job. It's true. Sure got you talking, didn't it?

We have a back-up plan, of course, but it was good to hear from all of you (me being the comment whore that I am), and Wow! thanks to everyone who wanted us to move where they are. After a year of relative isolation, it was nice to hear how many people know and love us back home in the states. Really, thanks to everyone--you made us feel great!

So here's our next step:

We're moving to SAN DIEGO, CA!!!

Matt is joining forces with a college buddy of his who started a web design company last year. It has been a long few weeks in the Kirkland household as we carefully (and prayerfully) considered our next move. And we're very, very excited to be moving to California! Granted, it takes us down a couple of notches on the cool factor by demoting ourselves from Hong Kong to San Diego, but we're ready to face any challenges a sudden onset of nerdiness might throw at us. (To be perfectly honest, we're really just in it for the Mexican food.)

And our time frame, you ask? Well, we're hoping to be back on American soil in about 1 month. Yikes!! We have so much to do! Oh, but what a sweet relief it will be to communicate with people again, and to stretch my arms on the street and not knock 30 people over. (I was having some serious elbow issues yesterday. Note to self: Never ponder something momentarily on the streets of Hong Kong with your hand on your hips and your elbows sticking out. This is a SERIOUS recipe for disaster.)

So my biggest question to all you good folks out there...will you still read my blog if I'm no longer living somewhere wildly exotic? I promise that I'll still be clumsy and have awkward conversations with strangers and create many a conundrum for myself. I'm a natural at that. And let me tell you, San Diego is sure to be just as daunting and mysterious to me as Hong Kong has been (minus the squid legs). I imagine I'll encounter some mighty culture shock on my re-entry into the USA. I haven't seen a cowboy in ages. Or driven a car. Or tried to get a real job. This could get interesting...

We'll keep you posted about when and where we'll be landing on American soil. Thanks again for all the great emails and comments these last few days.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The End?

Sooooo, my husband quit his job today. Any suggestions on what we should do next?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

On Being Chinesey

I know this will sound ridiculous, but sometimes I'm amazed at how "Chinese-y" this city is. Of course it's in China, hence the Chinesey-ness, but when you're in the midst of this city and it's full of people bustling about, taxis swerving in and out of traffic, and really, REALLY tall buildings all about, it's easy to forget that this mecca of international finance and world commerce happens to be located in China. But then I wander past a corner snack stand selling fried octopus legs and stinky tofu and it all comes flooding back to me. I live in China. Period. And it's very, very Chinesy here.

It's completely normal to pass a parked truck full of squids--live ones, at that--and to see the frazzled delivery guy snatch an escaping one up off the dirty street by it's tentacles and plunk it right back into the crates, dashing all it's hopes of ever seeing the ocean again. There's no doubt the local restaurants serve fresh seafood.

A fisherman selling his catches of the day.
Take a close look at what's lying next to his feet.

A local seafood joint specializing in this long, eel-like
ocean creature. I have no idea what it is.
Matt calls it a Luck Dragon.
(The heads are always missing.)

Our particular neighborhood has quite a "local" vibe to it and the Chinesey-ness is hard to miss. It's when I'm (window) shopping in the more upscale parts of town or running errands out and about that I momentarily forget where I am. But then, bam!, I almost get run over by a shirtless man on a bike full of dead chickens, and it all comes rushing back to me. I live in China. It's a strange experience every time it happens.

Hong Kong is both a fishing village and an emerging financial powerhouse. It
is a city of such phenomenal contrast. And to see those forces collide everyday makes me believe there's no other city like it in the whole world. It's really incredible. And, yes, it's very, very Chinese-y.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Introducing: The Tilted Tulip

Just a quick message to let all you good folks out there on the world-wide-web know that I (finally!) got my act together and started an online craft store on Etsy.com. Thanks, Matt, for giving me a proper kick in the pants.

You can buy everything I made at:


I'll be adding more items over the next few days, and I'd love any feedback (good or bad) you might have to offer. So, what are you waiting for?!? Let's go shopping!

Hair Raising


I've always admired women who have the fortitude to wear their long hair down on hot, steamy days. I rarely have the patience. I know that regardless of how long I spend primping, curling, or straigtening my hair, the minute I step outside into the sunlight, it goes right up into a ponytail. In Hong Kong especially, the women always wear their hair down, so every now and then I make a determined effort to do the same. If they can do it, why can't I? Today was one off those days. Moments ago I walked into our apartment, took a quick look in the mirror, and nearly screamed in fright at the fuzzy rat's nest that had settled on my head over the past few hours. Why do I torture myself? I've just got to admit that I'm not one of those women who can look fresh as a daisy in any situation.


Oh, today I did, however, discover an efficient way to keep the crowds at bay in the busy subway and on the streets. Neglecting to put deoderant on in the morning works like a charm. Have no fear, my lovely readers, tonight I will definitely be taking a shower.

*Professional reenactment. Do not attempt this at home.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lazy Weekend

It rained all weekend so Matt and I stayed indoors and lazed about the apartment and happily wallowed in a mess of cookie crumbs, cat hair, taco salad, and scrabble pieces for two straight days. It was heavenly.

I beat Matt soundly.

We broke down and bought all our favorite taco salad fixings at the expensive Western grocery store in our neighborhood. Oh, except for the fabulous Mama Lupe Tortillas, which came hand delivered last week all the way from Moundridge, KS (Thanks, Mom! Oh, and Brad and Amy!).

And just when we thought we were too bored to stay indoors a minute longer, Quincy began a little dance routine for us. It was riveting.

All in all a fantastic weekend.

PS Sorry about the cat video. Really I am. I know you will never have those 27 seconds back again. I promise to curb my enthusiasm for lame cat videos. Um, for at least a month. Or so.

Friday, June 08, 2007

On Being Useful

Tonight Matt looked down at the cat sitting peacefully on his chest and said:

"Quincy, I wish we could teach you how to be useful. It sure would be helpful if you could hold my beer."

I hope this isn't any indication of what "useful" things he might someday try to teach our children.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blik of an Eye

I always meant to show this off. For Christmas every year, on top of the normal gifts, Matt's parents graciously offer to splurge on one gift per kid/couple. Matt and I ask usually ask for something frivilous and artsy that we would love to own but probably wouldn't shell out the cash for ourselves. This year we asked for a set of Blik wall graphics. They offer a really unique way to spruce our tiny living space filled with colorless, concrete walls (meaning no pictures can be hung). We were thrilled to put ours up. Here's a little glance at what we chose:

(There's my husband in all his bearded glory)

And a close up:

I just LOVE them. Really help to brighten up the place and bring a little county life into the dreariness of big city living. Thanks so much, Doug and Angie!

PS Last year we chose this beautiful little lamp. Wish we had it with us in Hong Kong.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Helter Swelter

It's so hot.

I've been dreading the onslaught of the summer heat and humidity ever since we moved here and it's finally reached the boiling point. It's the kind of suffocating heat that makes my glasses fog up every time I leave the confines of an air conditioned building and step outside. I'm just miserably sticky all the time. And for a girl who doesn't like to shower, this is pure torture. (Um, I guess I've probably never mentioned before that I don't like to shower. Once I'm actually clean again, I feel great, but there is always some sort of mental road block that keeps me from showering as often as I should. And I really, really prefer to sleep in. Maybe I should have kept that little secret of mine under wraps. Oh well. You know how this blog-thing of mine makes me eager to reveal humiliating bits and pieces of my everyday behavior.)

It's just so icky, sticky outside. Some days it just makes me crabby. But usually it just makes me thirsty. Good thing there are more than 400 7-11s in this city. Practically one on every corner. Too bad the slushy machine craze hasn't made it across the pond yet.

In other news, my very funny mother sent me this brilliant hat to go with my eye patch. She's such a hoot!

Also, we had a GREAT time with Brad and Amy last week. They are moving to Santiago, Chile in just over a week to begin their own international adventures. Can't wait to visit them!

And wherever you are right now, breath in some cool, stale air-conditioned air and think of me.