Thursday, September 23, 2010

Full moon and festivals (part 1)

This week is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is also one of the top four holidays celebrated by the locals. So, I have been trying to do some research on the customs surrounding this heavily merchandised season.

What's on the street:

Posters advertising moon cakes abound. You will find them on the walls up and down the escalators of the subway stations; on the backs of the seats in subways; and giant billboards around the city. Most are quite elegant an the images are fairly traditional.

Street vendors are selling "lanterns" for the home and for kids. Of course some of these lanterns look like light up toys kids get at the laser light shows and the night parade at Disney. You will also find tons of glow sticks and the like.

The stores are all decorated with elaborate lanterns as well. Some of these can measure three feet in diameter and are quite spectacular.

It's been quite fascinating learning about this holiday and I will share more in the next post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sarah's first Master's Class

Sarah is in her first Master's class today at the Flute Centre. She is performing as a demonstrator with Susan Milan, Professor of flute from The Royal College of Music in London. There are about thirty kids here and Sarah is the only non-Asian. Fortunately, she gets to second so she's getting the advantage of listening to tips on the piece from the first victim!

The class is working on a piece that they will compete against each other and other schools with in March at the Hong Kong Music Festival. While she desperately misses American competition and the youth orchestra, I know that this is a totally unique opportunity.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The "haves" and "have nots"

So many questions come up about the differences in food, clothing etc. I could probably write daily on the topic alone. Seeing how efficient I am at the first blog, maybe his will just be a post within the original for now.

Probably the oddest (but maybe smart) thing is that our water system is split between clean water and grey for the toilets. What makes it odd is that periodically we'll get a message that "there is no toilet service today" or " no potable water today for tank cleaning". So I have to plan my schedule accordingly....

So being a homeowner for so many years prior to this adventure, I can't say when the last time we were without ALL of our toilets at one time. Even when it is one John out, it would have been someone within the household's fault. Really, what are they trying to do to us?

Of course, no one in the house is affected by this inconveniences but me. You know - the one who is at home and should be doing the laundry I avoided all weekend. Oh well we can wear those socks inside out tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lucky qi (7s)

Wow who would have thought that within the month we would be learning TWO different languages! I am so happy that the girls have their Mac Books now and are starting to function on them. And I received my iPad this week that Tom and the girls bought for my birthday. Now with the newest technologies, we are learning one of the oldest languages.

This morning I listened to Sarah's recording of herself speaking Chinese, while playing with Garageband - modifying the voice and speed. Now tonight, Madison and I have been trying out a character writing software app on the very cool big touch screen. And yes, the character above means seven!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 10, 2010


E-Day!This came from today's school newsletter. Sarah's classmates ran the whole thing! FYI- Edwin has MD and is to be out for the remainder of the term. You can maybe spot the girls in the group photo below. Hint: Maddy is wearing a white shirt and orange shorts. Sarah has her hair in braids and is wearing a plaid shirt.

Today showed just how strongly we can all come together and get behind someone we care about! Families baked 100s of cakes, generous donations were made and the school came out in a riot of orange. What started out as a small idea from some of his close friends to support their pal has turned into a giant affirmation from the whole DC community. Over $75,000 was raised in this first round of support.

Three of Edwin's close friends Zac Sang (10YDS), Angus Prosser (10SBR) and Max Carrey (10YDS), who were amongst the initial group who came up with the idea, were amazed at the response. "I was blown away by the generosity shown by everyone." Angus said. Max said "It was amazing to be part of helping a friend in this way." Edwin would like to thank everyone who has contributed. "I am extremely grateful for your efforts, support and generosity" he said in typically humble Edwin style.

All of us wish Edwin the best on his brave an difficult journey over the coming months as he undergoes a series of operations to straighten his spine.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Making it to Mui Wo

Mui Wo is the next village over from Discovery Bay. Apparently there is a wonderful hiking trail between the two, but we aren't ready to conquer that yet. So how do you get there? It's taken two months and two weekends to figure that out. As with everything, you can't just get a simple answer on Google. But with persistence, you can find the ferry schedule. And with trial and error, you can find the ferry.
The little boat is hidden on the other side of the bay off the regular bus route. It is not part of the regular transportation system, and takes cash only. Also the schedule is not nearly as frequent so you have to time everything perfectly...(Thus the two weekends to time it right)

But what's the big deal at Mui Wo, bikes.... And lots of them.

For the locals, it seems to be their only form of transportation to and from the village. For DBers, it is the SOURCE. The girls have been saving and plotting and pricing all summer. After reading tons of forums, we discovered that Friendly Bikes was the place to go. And so we did-Both decided on Giant brand mountain bikes with matching helmets and locks to ride them to school. The girls were extremely happy with their purchases, especially Madison who just go her very own, new, full-sized bike. No hand-me downs for her this time.