Monday, January 29, 2007

Scratch Fever

I love scratch cards almost as much as I love pageants. (It's weird that my love for pageants has become a unit of measurement for everything else that I enjoy.) I always try to make the suspense last as long as possible, slowly dragging the coin or key or whatever blunt instrument I use to scrape away the metallic crumbles, revealing the treasures underneath. Regardless of whether I win or lose, I always want more. Our neighborhood grocery store has started to give away Chinese New Year themed scratch cards for every $50HKD (about $6USD) spent. It's fantastic. Everyday I make up some new reason to go to the grocery store to spend $50 and get another scratch card. Yesterday I went twice. We now have so many 5L bottles of water in our apartment there is barely room to walk in the kitchen (which I guess isn't actually that many considering how small our kitchen is). I had the same problem when McDonald's came out with it's Monopoly game pieces. Not exactly scratch cards, but you still got to slowly peel back the wrapper to find the hidden coupon for a free Jr. Whopper, etc. I just can't get enough.

To underscore the extent of my love for these grocery store scratch cards, let me tell you about some of the fabulous prizes I haven't won:

-A bottle of Amoy Supreme Seafood Soy Sauce 150mL
-A pack of Garden Saltine Sesame Crackers 210gm
-A pack of Cadbury Chocette Dairy Milk 45gm
-A pack of Colgate MaxFresh Green Tea Toothpaste 160gm
-A box of First Choice Ultra Box Tissues
-A bottle of YUMURA Body Design Soy Milk 480mL
-$88,000 HKD worth of gold (whatever that means)

So in retrospect, maybe the joy of the scratch card itself outweighs those fabulous prizes. Why do I always think I just might be the next big winner? I'm such a sucker. That said, I'm off to the grocery store to spend a cool $50. Anyone need anything while I'm out?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Crowd Control

Tonight I think there were more people trying to cram themselves onto my subway car than there are people in Kansas. (I just checked the facts, and my exaggeration may not have been so far off, as there are more than twice the number of people living in the city of Hong Kong than in the entire state of Kansas!) Every night on my commute home from work, taking the MTR (as the subway system is known here) is a major lesson in patience. (If you refer to my New Year's post, it's kinda like that every night down on the train platforms, minus the drum circle.) My shiny new Ipod Shuffle helps alot, though--this evening it was just me and Feist taking it easy on the ride home.

Honestly, riding the MTR is one of my favorite things about Hong Kong. I love public transportation, and this city has got it aplenty. And it's all quite clean and affordable. It sure beats paying for gas and car insurance, not to mention the occasional fender bender. Now my fender only gets bent when the Hong Kong crowds get rambunctious. I now understand why the good Lord blessed Asians with the skinny gene--it's so that 6,000 of them can successfully push and shove their way into one subway car!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pencil Shavings

I bought a brand new set of colored pencils today and when I was sharpening them, I became completely fascinated by the swirls that I made. I thought you might like to share my joy...

Long Lost Friend

Today I ate at McDonald's all by myself. While this may seem like no big deal to the average person, my circumstances are a bit unusual. See, McDonald's and I haven't been on speaking terms for the last year.

It all began with my disdain for Wal-Mart. Three years ago Matt and I decided to give up Wal-Mart for our New Year's resolution. For lots and lots of reasons (which I'll spare you of for now) we think Wal-Mart is a big, fat bully. So we decided to boycott the company for a year. And it was a rousing success--the first New Year's resolution I've ever kept. (Well except maybe for those silly ones where I resolve to eat lots of chocolate or potato chips in the coming year. Those have always been successful.) So when the next New Year's Day rolled around, we felt we had to choose another boycott victim. We added McDonald's to our list. It's not that we despise the McDonald's corporation, but rather I think it's an easy target. To further matters, Matt and I had been eating off the $1 menu far too frequently (effecting our waistlines accordingly), so we decided to eliminate it from our diets for 1 year. And, that too, was a success.

So this year rolls around and while we're pleased with ourselves for having had such strong self-discipline, both of us are feeling a strooooong hankerin' for a Big Mac. It's been exacerbated by moving to Hong Kong, the land where all meat scares me. While I don't know exactly where McDonald's gets its meat, I appreciate that it's most likely heavily regulated. (Many Hong Kong restaurants specialize in "mystery meat". It gives me the willies.)

So do we continue to abstain from McDonald's (keeping Wal-Mart on our list is an easy decision) and add a third corporation to our list, or do we give in and withdraw the Big Mac from the chopping board? Well, as you gathered from the first line, McDonald's is back on our good side. In fact, it's our new best friend. We ate their twice on New Year's day (starting at 12:08am, Jan. 1, 2007), and at least once a week since. But still it feels weird. I mean, it's hard to act normal around someone that you've been ignoring for the last year, even though you've made up. I still don't think it's a fabulous company or anything, and the food is really, really bad for you, but, dang, those breakfast sandwiches are tasty. And they serve them all day long here.

Since we don't know enough about Chinese companies, we haven't picked a new culprit this year. If anyone has any suggestions, let us know. For now, we have to be content with our non-corporate resolutions to quit eating on the couch instead of at the table, and to do our dishes every night before going to bed. Those resolutions feel lame in comparison, but so far, so good.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Christmas Wishful Thinking

I'm afraid the post about Christmas in Hong Kong is going the way of this year's Christmas cards--not yet written, and never going to be written. This post has been hanging over my head like rotten mistletoe and I don't feel like I have permission (from myself, of course) to post another blog until I write this one. And since that is definitely not going to happen, the next best thing is to give you all a friendly little link to our flickr photo site to view them for yourselves. Of course you won't have my witty comments to guide you though them, but I'm sure you'll manage. Here's the link.

Take a look around the site. We've posted alot of pictures recently, including some from Matt's family's recent visit. You might have to dig a little to find the Christmas ones, but more likely than not, my super-organized husband has probably labeled them and put them in their own special folder. He's very talented like that. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pictures of the family hangin' out in Hong Kong.

Matt and his Dad deciding on a waffle flavor from a street vendor

Kayleigh makes a friend at the 10,000 Buddhas Monastary
(she likes those religious types)

Mr Rogers re-incarnate

Doug and Angie... Year of the Rooster

Mom, Dad, Matt and Kayleigh at the ruins of San Paulo Church in Macau

Sunday, January 07, 2007


On Thursday our first official house guests arrived in Hong Kong. Matt's dad, mom, and littlest sister flew from St Louis for a week and a half long visit. So, hence the blog hiatus. I thought it would be easy to just shoot off a quick post each evening, but we've done so much sightseeing that I've been completely zonked by the time we stumble home each night. Here's a few pictures from the trip so far. If I'm a bit more alert when we get in tonight I'll post some more. [Man, this blog is just turning into one excuse after another as to why I'm not posting anything.] I've also had several requests for "Christmas in Hong Kong" photos so keep an eye out for those. Hope you're all doing fantastic!


Um, ok, I just tried to load the pictures and the internet isn't responding. I'll try again tonight.