Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Oh, I am so excited!!! I can't wait!!! In approximately 25 hours, Singapore with Sher 2006 begins!! Tomorrow after school, I'll head for the airport and catch a 3 hour flight to the isle of Singapore. One of my best buds, the one and only Sherri Kasper of Regina, Saskatchewan, is taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur to meet me in Singapore for a couple days. I arrive on Friday night and fly back to Hong Kong early Monday morning.
I've read a bit about Singapore (and I'll be careful to leave the Hubba Bubba at home) and I'm looking forward to enjoying a new place and a change of scenery for a couple of days, but the location is mostly irrelevant- it's all about the chats with a good friend from home. That cannot be beaten. I can't wait!!!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Praying with 10-year olds

We start everyday at our school with devotionals in each classroom. At the end of the devo, I ask the kids if they have things they would like to pray about, whether it's a thanks or a request, whatever. This little prayer time makes me smile everyday. Somehow 10 year olds make prayer a whole lot more simple, and that's helpful to me.
In Grade 5, we usually pray about birthday parties, our big brother's birthday party, and our second cousin's birthday party too, tiredness, sore knees, wrists and necks, that our cousins would have fun at Disneyland, bothersome mosquito bites, the Gr. 6's upcoming swim meet or practice, that it wouldn't rain, for our parents that are traveling a lot, basketball tryouts and for our band and spelling tests.
Prayer request time usually ends with the same student saying, and let's pray that we have a really good day!
Any birthday parties coming up soon that you would like prayer for?! Let us know!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's Still 27 Degrees

What's your weather like in Canada these days?
It is 10:25PM, and the temperature is 27 degrees. Everyday, the temperature falls between 24-28 degrees, and the humidity hovers around 80-90%. I think that I must have adjusted because it doesn't feel that hot anymore. I am enjoying the fact that I have yet to put on a jacket in this place. Sweet!

Import Playground

Hong Kong plays host to a huge spectrum of people, thus the range of imported goods is quite fantastic. My fridge is having a multicultural party! I have South African juice, cookies from New Zealand, Aussie beef, and good ol' American Kraft Dinner, and my favorite, Corn Bran. Mmmm. Oh, and since I'm talking about foreign food, the other day the Aussie staff member treated me to Vegemite. That was the first and LAST time I will ever, ever eat that incredibly foul yuck. Sick! He thought it was funny; I was ready to hurl. However, I digress. Back to the imported food discussion. Yesterday I had a brilliant moment of national pride as I was strolling through the grocery store. The store has devoted the month of October to a "Canadian Food Festival". Ha. So they are selling those little bears with the honey inside, all kinds of maple products, other random things I've never cared to eat or pay that much for in Canada, and, wait for it...wait....this is the moment of national pride- bottles of Molson Canadian. Ha! I prefer the cute little honey bears. But wow, you can find anything in this place!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pulling together...

I love tug-o-war pictures!
Here are my kids, giving it all they got in a spirited uphill battle against the Grade 6's!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Three Cheers for Banana Bread

Yeah! Banana bread is a bonding thing. I have banana bread to thank for the bond I have now have with my amazing, generally non-English speaking janitors at school. They rock. And they dig banana bread in a serious way. Bonded through banana bread, gotta love it.
And, in a most exciting turn of events, I have banana bread to thank for a second bonding experience! I have now officially, after 2 months of living directly next door, met my neighbours! Yaaah! I'm so excited! Here's what I did. I baked banana bread and then, made a bold, very bold, move. I opened my door, took one step and in a moment of brilliance, I knocked on their door. Then, I handed over the goods. Amazing. It was such a huge moment, no wonder it took me 2 MONTHS to do it! And again, banana bread comes through in the clutch. A family of 3, friendly as can be.
Going bananas in HK.....

Monday, October 16, 2006

There is a Hope So Sure

There is a hope so sure...
There is a life so true, a life of love so pure...
There is a life so strong...

And the life that I now live-

No longer is my own.
Jesus lives in me, the hope of glory!!
And each day I live-
No longer is my own.
Jesus lives in me, the the hope of glory!!

This week I'm finding such freedom in this song by Graham Kendrick. Okay, secretly, I could be found standing on my balcony singing at the top of my lungs via my ipod. I guess it's not a secret anymore!
But honestly, I find such joy, freedom and purpose in handing things over to Jesus. Hand it over and give it up for something so much better.
I'm reminded that it's not about me, and how often I need that reminder.

Bad Air/Teacher Talk

Howdy from Hong Kong. Though my days at school are generally cheery, the pollution in this place is downright depressing! It's a bad sign when you wake up in the morning, look out the window and hope your heart out that you're looking at stormclouds. Alas, it's just a thick, dark smog. I read that the air pollution index in Mong Kok (a ten minute bus ride away) was 80 yesterday. That sounds bad, doesn't it?! Again, take an extra deep breath of Canadian air for me, okay?!
This week a director from Sask. Ed. is here to inspect, or basically just check on us here in Hong Kong. Being a new teacher, I am on the list to be inspected! I haven't been observed in the classroom for awhile- not since the days of my internship. As hard as I try to relax completely and just be myself, there is something a bit unnerving about being watched while you teach. Maybe once I'm a teaching vet, it won't phase me at all.
It always proves to be a valuable experience, though. Though it brings some anxiety, it reminds me of some good things. For one, it calls my teaching to greater integrity. If I teach differently when I'm being watched, something is likely off. It also reminds me again of how tempting it is to let someone else's approval become an idol. I wish it weren't so easy to give into allowing another human being to give me their stamp of approval so that I feel validated, or to give a boost to the ego. It's a good gut check to strive for a genuine and humble spirit, one that cares more about the kids I'm teaching than what someone else thinks of my teaching.
Anyway, I did have my observation today, and it was fine. Not out of this world, but it was okay. Next time I'll do something with a little more action. The dialogue that followed was helpful and constructive. So despite the touch of anxiety, I will book in a couple more observations with my administration. It's a great way to get better- and I want that!
Did I mention I'm coaching the Sr. Boy's Basketball team again this year? I'm coaching with another gal, Jill. We actually played against each other when I was at the U of R and she was at the U of S. Okay, so I watched her play against my team, but still....:) Ha ha. I think we'll have a lot of fun. That starts up this week so things will get a bit more busy.
And on a final sidenote, have I confessed my love for squash?! Not the vegetable. I can't imagine the fun in chasing a little ball around a court. Wow. It's tremendous! I had an exhilirating game this afternoon!

Friday, October 13, 2006

From The Corner of Pak Tai Street and Sung Wong Toi Road

The other night I was working out in the gym and I started to take in the view. The gym is on the second floor and it is open to the street corner, with big tall windows.

From the corner of Pak Tai Street and Sung Wong Toi Road, I can see an old man in his pj's and slippers. He's standing under the Dance Academy sign and swinging his arms back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He is smoking a pipe and likes to stretch on the fire hydrant. He seems happy.
From the corner, I can see little Cantonese children in their school uniforms. They are clutching the hand of their domestic helper, usually a Phillipino woman. I wonder how long the parents work and I wonder about the Phillipino woman's family at home.
From the corner, I can see sleek looking professionals in suit jackets and shiny shoes, coming home late at night. It's too late for supper. They seem weary.
From the corner, I can see a weathered woman pushing a big cart with chestnuts in a wok, and sweet potatoes in a coal bin. She's trying to make it across the street. She's just trying to make it by.
From the corner, I can see mountains as a backdrop to the drama of the city. They must find this city an interesting storyline.
From the corner, I can see the hotel on the corner with the wanna-be Western restaurant, where many sightseers from the mainland come to stay. It has tacky plastic red roses on the tables. They bug me everytime I walk by.
From the corner, I can see red and green topped mini-buses, swerving ambitiously along the road, sprinting to keep up with the pace of the city. The cutely British looking red taxis tag along, too.
From the corner, I can see technicolor lights flashing and dancing against skinny highrises. The lights of the city never die.
From the corner, I can see the lasting flavors of a British colony- traffic skating on the left and English labels conveniently alongside the Chinese.
From the corner, I can see my little piece of Hong Kong.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Five Stars

Two new favorites. Highly recommended!
Most played songs so far-
From Tomlin's, How Can I Keep From Singing, Everlasting God, and Let Mercy Rain.
From Mayer's, The Heart of Life and Vultures.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Christmas Here, New Year's There

Christmas Here:

New Year's There:

My flights were confirmed today! Yippee! I am scheduled to arrive in Aizawl on Christmas Eve, and then Mom, Dad, Autumn and Andrew and I will spend a few days in Kathmandu, Nepal around New Year's. Exciting!!! I don't imagine we will make it up to the top of ol' Everest :), but we hope we might just catch a glimpse of the wonder!

I've got to include Lonely Planet's dreamy introduction to the country:

Draped along the spine of the Himalaya, Nepal is a land of sublime scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best hiking trails on earth. It's a poor country, but it is rich in scenic splendour and cultural treasures. The kingdom has long exerted a pull on the Western imagination.
It's the kind of country that lingers in your dreams long after you leave it. This is why so many travellers are drawn back to Nepal, armed the second time round with a greater appreciation of its natural and cultural complexity, a stout pair of walking boots and a desire for sculpted calf muscles.

Friday, October 06, 2006


There are no signs of Thanksgiving in my part of the world. Some blogs have commented on the fresh, crisp air, the color changing leaves and the turkey on the way. From my window, I anticipate the continued hot, sticky air, and I see green, leafy, full trees. Turkey? Probably not. Dim Sum? Of course! There are no signs of fall to be seen in Hong Kong. Maybe that's why I forgot that Canadian Thanksgiving was this weekend.
Regardless, earlier this week I was bombarded by a random flood of thankfulness, so I'm glad to share in the gridblog.
I was thinking about my siblings a lot this week. I love each one of you very much. I am so glad to be a part of my family, to be called a "sister". It is so great to have 3 big brothers, and a big sister that is like a best friend. What a sweet thing.
My heart aches for my nieces and nephews these days. I am so thankful for each one of them. Have you seen them?! They are one of the very, very best parts of my life. I regret, so much, that I am missing out on another 2 years of their little lives, but I'm so proud to be their Aunty, even if I'm really far away. (Tear, tear, tear) I love being an Aunty.
I'm thankful, too, for Mom and Dad and my Grandparents.
Why am I crying through my blog on thankfulness?! Gosh! Funny what happens when your heart starts settling in on your blessings. Mom, Dad- you are at the top of the list. You have been so good to me.
I am thankful to have a handful of friends that could be called family. Lifers!
I am thankful for the amazing women that have blessed my life many times over, like Barb and Laura.
I am thankful for great memories.
I am so thankful that I have a knee that works right, for the most part. It hasn't always been this way, and I rejoice in the fact that I can gleefully chase birdies and squash balls and tennis balls, play softball and football and basketball...
And oh, that brings me to sports. I am so thankful for sports. I love sports, I love softball, I love football, I love tennis. Soooo good.
I am really thankful to be a teacher. I am thankful to spend my days doing something that I enjoy and feel passionate about. I am thankful that I am surrounded by such a great community here at CAIS, and that I have many people to learn from and grow with here.
I am thankful to be called a child of God.
I am thankful to have the chance to live overseas and enjoy so much of the world.
I am thankful for the Word- it breathes life into me and gives me hope and direction.
I am thankful for music, in all its forms (minus Beijing Opera). It blesses me daily.
I think I will rest here, and try to rest in thankfulness this weekend. (I'm thankful for the weekend, too!)

The Sickest Cupcakes Ever

The sickest cupcakes ever are mooncakes. Don't eat them- the bean filled, or egg yoke filled, or yuck filled little muffins aren't worth the cultural experience. Resist!
Yesterday was the Midautumn Festival. The Festival is all about the moon. They say the moon is as close as its been in 9 years, and so we're excited about that. From what I understand, and I'm thinking something must have been lost in the tranlation, but the Midautumn Festival started because a very long time ago, an Emperor's wife overdosed on opium and flew to the moon. Or something like that. Something about the moon and a special drug.
Anyway, a couple friends and I decided to embrace both the tradition of the Festival, and the body-to-body crowds. The ultimate Hong Kong tradition- crowds! I honestly think there could have been over a million people in the area we were walking around. Ha! I'm working on a little movie depicting this blessed experience. I'll let you know about the release date on that one.
So, we joined the masses and watched the fire dragon dance. Actually, we enjoyed the head of the person in front of us more than the dragon, because that's all we could see. Until we were given a live video feed via the digital camera. We finally got a glimpse of the dragon and let out a hearty "waaaaa" in traditional Chinese fashion. The dragon was a really, really long skinny sort of snake looking thing made of twigs, and then it had thousands of incense sticks lit up all over its body, and especially its head and tail. It danced. It was quite the thing.
It made me laugh when I heard the sound of bagpipes coming from the parade. Haaaa!!! Seriously, full blown out bagpipes at the Chinese Dragon celebration. I didn't know Chinese people were into bagpipes- but then again, who ISN'T into bagpipes?! Funny, funny. So as a prelude to the fire dragon, our ears were graced by Amazing Grace.
Then we journeyed through the Carnival area, where our ears were beat on by Beijing Opera. It's not my favorite kind of music. There were lots of neat lanterns, and again, a lot of people.
There you have it, the best Midautumn Festival ever, and of course it was capped off by the Friday night tradition- foot massage. B-e-a-uuuuutiful!!!!!