Thursday, September 29, 2011


So being that yesterday was a typhoon day and all, Paul and I were quite productive.  I put him to work and we folded and stickered 100 fliers announcing that I am here in the Latitude, have teaching experience, a flexible schedule, and want to tutor your kid!  When they were all ready to go I went down to the lobby and started putting them in mailboxes.  I had only gotten through floors 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 when the door lady came in saying, "No. No. No."  I politely asked why not, to which she replied, "No."  Hmmm ok.  So today I spent the morning riding the elevator (I don't want to get locked in the emergency stairwell!) going from floor to floor leaving fliers on doorsteps.  I know they can see me in the elevator.  And I know they know what I'm doing.  I'm just hoping they don't send someone right behind me to pick them all up.  Lord knows they have enough staff to do it!


Tonight Paul's friend Garrett from elementary school, gets into HK.   Garrett taught in Korea for two years and has been traveling the past year.  He's here for the weekend, Philippines (again!) for a month, then moving to Taiwan to teach.  Ohh the lives of English teachers!

Paul, Garrett, and I in Bangkok last March
Then tomorrow is National Day which means no work for Paul.  Hoorah!  We'll probably hit the beach or something, then we're going to a chocolate party!!  My friend Jackie works for a chocolate company, VERO, and organized a party at their Wan Chai restaurant.  It'll be chock full of chocolate, snacks, cocktails, and a great view of the fireworks!  Apparently this is the best fireworks show in the world.  So it should be a good night.  

Happy National Day!

Thank you Gwenyth Paltrow!

Yesterday I stumbled upon a recipe a la Gwen on how to make homemade ricotta cheese.  Being that cheese is expensive here and I have a lot of time and there's a typhoon, Paul and I took it upon ourselves to make some cheese. We didn't want to stop there, so we made tomato sauce and Italian spice chapati so we could make homemade pizzas!

Homemade ricotta cheese is the best thing that ever happened and it's opened a new door to me.  Next week I'm making homemade cottage cheese!

Here's Gwen (well Ina Garten's, really) recipe for ricotta.  I recommend you make it tomorrow.

Homemade Ricotta

Makes about 2 cups
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
Pour the milk and stream into a stainless steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

Nesat Destruction

There may not be rain, but it's windy!  Happy Typhoon Day!

3rd floor at the Latitude.  Someone's going to be busy tomorrow.

Outside the mall

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Yesterday I finally got back to the beach!  It's been weeks, I tell ya. I went to the usual Clearwater Bay except this time there were waves!!  I've been here a dozen times and never seen as much as a curl, but yesterday was full on body surfable waves.  And there was a warning not to swim on top of that, which of course, everyone ignored.  See picture of Clearwater Bay above.

Yesterday evening there was a sign put up in the lobby warning of a T1 in effect.  Typhoons are so common here there is a warning system in place, and it's even color coordinated.  T1-3 be careful, and I believe that corresponds to Amber rain.  Then T8 no school, no work, and Black rain.  See photo below from my balcony this morning:
The wind be a howl'n!  And no school!! Woohoo.  Oh wait, this doesn't effect me and this is just interfering with my plans of running and errands today.  There's always tomorrow.  Paul and I celebrated by making banana chocolate pancakes and are now on a King of Thrones marathon.  Asa to not leaving the Latitude today.  Perhaps we'll go for a swim in the indoor pool...

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise

Much to my surprise and excitement, I successfully and painlessly applied for a new passport today.  I head out early to get my photo taken, and again to my surprise, it ain't that bad.  In my last passport I look stoned, my Korean ID I looked possessed, and in the 100 pictures I had to take for India/Nepal I looked like a serial killer.  Finally a keeper!

I showed up to my appointment over an hour early, waited in zero lines, and exchanged nothing but pleasantries with everyone I spoke to.  It was actually quite entertaining.  So as to be clear (I guess) they have speakers in all the windows so while you wait you can hear everyone else's business.  One man came in complaining that his passport had him tagged as a woman.  Apparently this was all well and good for the past 8 years, but for some reason the customs in Hong Kong took offense.  He had to leave the next day for the US and didn't know what to do.  The woman suggested he get an emergency passport and sort it all out at home.  He was not pleased by this as he would have to pay $110 for a new one when clearly this was the US government's fault.  He starts to fill out the form and goes back to the window:

"I don't have an address.  I'm sleeping on my friend's couch until I find an apartment."
"Hm, use your parent's address."
"My Dad's right here and he lives in China."

Frustrated he gives up and goes back to his dad:

"This kind of stuff ALWAYS happens to me!  I got arrested for having this much pot! The US government thinks I owe them 1/3 of my salary in taxes...."

And he strolled out to take his chances at the airport.  Another family was there with a translator trying to give up guardianship of their child to their cousin in America.  The guy in the window couldn't figure out why they would want to do this as it's essentially adoption, and went on to explain they need lawyers etc. and need to handle this in America.  I didn't stick around long enough to see how that worked out.  So yeah, 10 days and I'll get an email notice letting me know my new passport is ready.  Easy peasy.


Saturday Ms. Han was here!!!  I met her at the Hong Kong Convention Center for the HK Jewellry fair.  Oh, my!!  This event was huge!!  Thousands of people, tons of vendors, and billions of dollars worth of gems.   The whole convention center was filled with diamonds.  It was amazing!!  We walked around for hours admiring the different stones and cuts and it gave me a chance to explain exactly what it is I want on my left ring finger.  I gave Paul Ms. Han's email a while ago, you know, just in case he could ever need to get in touch with her. Paul and the Hanster are both pretty clear what's needed here; 2 carats, square cut, simple band.

Following the convention we met Ms. Han's best friend and Mr. Kim who usually joined us for Friday night magkeolli in Korea.  We ferried over to TST and went to Din Tai Fung, which had a ridiculous line!  While waiting, what would Han do?  Hit the next restaurant for a beer, which just happened to be Ruby Tuesday.  Who knew they had that here?  And it's crazy expensive!  Like $25 usd for a burger.  45 minutes later and our table was ready.  What I didn't realize at the time is that this is a popular Chinese Dim Sum chain.  Chee took my parents and I to one in Korea!  And it was excellent as ever.  In true Ms. Han style we had no less than 5 kinds of dumplings, meats, veggies, and beers.  Delish!  Then they all had to hop on a midnight flight back :(  I said goodbye and promised I would be back to visit soon ("You no stay hotel.  You have own room at my house.")  It really made me miss Korea and my friendships there.  I will have to go back soon!


In other news, the "interview" I have on Monday is apparently just a casual meeting where the VPs will tell me more about their company, products and training program.  If I pass the two exams they require, I'm in!  So it's nice to know there's some stability here.  I just might be employed in the next month...and it buys me some time to get into banking!!

PS anyone noticed that the Korean market is the only one that seems to be doing OK these days?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Finally, after 6 weeks in Hong Kong, we have internet.  It's about time! And guess what else is here? YATA!! Yey gourmet Japanese grocery store in my basement. I already went this morning just for milk for my cereal.  And what else showed up today?? The sun! After a solid week of low 70s (brrrr) weather, the sun has come out. It's friend wind is still here, but hopefully I will finally be able to go to the beach tomorrow. This tan won't keep itself up.

Yesterday despite the weather, was an amazing junk to Clearwater Bay. New friend Baucus (Baucus was the god of wine. I want that name!) organized a junk with fellow 20-somethings. It was a really fun day and I met a lot of really cool people.  Somehow no one managed to make a total ass of themselves. ha I suppose because it was a Sunday people stayed a little better behaved.

This is going to be a busy week! Tonight is movie date night with Paul. We got a groupon for 2 movie tickets, a popcorn and 2 drinks for $100HKD. Love groupon. Tomorrow I have to go to the US Embassy to get a new passport (my how fast 10 years goes), meeting new friend Laura for some shopping, then hitting a JMEN Career event. I have no idea what that is, but I'm guessing there will be plenty of people with business cards, and hoping for some wine and cheese, too. Wednesday and Thursday are both full of Cham events. Cham = Chamber of Commerce. I believe there's an AmCham and CanCham happy hour each day. As recruiter Peter told me, you'll be drunk until you find a job. If that's what it takes....

How Many Latitude Workers Do You See?

Here's a typical Saturday morning outside the club at the Latitude.

Here's walking to my apartment from the club. Is it really necessary to have 15+ people garedening, power washing, and just roaming the grounds? I had someone vacuuming between my legs while using the internet in the club and then someone wipe my finger prints after I opened the door (on the handle!). This is on top of the 15 million other people you have to walk by just to get into the building; one on G by the door. 3 on the third floor; one to open the door, one to direct you to the card swipe and one to sit there and sign in guests. 1 or 2 in your actual tower door; they or may not hold the door for you. It's always a crap shoot. No wonder management fees are $1500 a month!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Tests

I just confirmed my October 3rd interview with Liza, to which she responded, you "must self-study to sit for the examinations for paper I and paper III to get the basic licence. This is the minimum requirement before our company may sign a contract with you. Attached is the study material for you. When you are ready, please tell me to reserve a seat for the examination and I shall try to get the company to waive the examin. fees for you." Hmm, another test, eh? Well I suppose this gives me something to do. Here's the title of the 148 oages she sent me to study "Insurance Intermediaries Quality Assurance Scheme." Sounds thrilling!

Friday night was lovely. Again the weather was cloudy, so there went the beach. I went wandering around HK island instead. Through Causeway Bay to Wan Chai, where I went to Viva Ana tapas bar. I had been there with the girls a few weeks ago. It was tasty and I'd been meaning to go back for happy hour. They have an awesome deal where it's buy 1 get 1 free wine and you get a free tapas. The tapas was a little lacking; a tiny little corner of an egg oniony thing, but for free I guess you can't complain. Then I met up with the ladies, hit Soho for happy hour continued, then it's free drinks for girls at The Wheel. Free drinks. On a Friday. Love it! Paul finally came out after his orientation night, just in time for us to all be tired and want to go home. Well I suppose that worked out because 7:30 and he had to go back to work this morning. Poor guy. I promise I'll get a good job so you can get a normal M-F gig.

Anyway, tis Saturday morning, cloudy again. What to do, what to do. No word from Ms. Han, but I suspect we'll meet up at some point this afternoon. I hope so at least because tomorrow I'll be on a junk all day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Today I decided to take a lovely run/walk tour of my hood. I'm getting sick of the same old run, didn't feel like an intense work out, so a run/walk it was. First, I stumbled upon the Wan Tai Sin temple. I had heard about this from tour books and magazines, but never knew where it was. What a gem! There were lovely fountains and statues and lots of tourists. Or perhaps they were just praying. Regardless, what quite nice. Then I stumbled upon the best Park N Shop I have ever seen. Tons of variety, cheap, and best of all they had Beast! I didn't know they sold this gem of a crap beer outside of the US! Then ran and stumbled upon a new wine shop. I had met this woman last night who told me her shop just moved to Kowloon City (Little Bangkok), and turns out that's just a 6 minute walk from my door. With the promise of wine tasting everyday, I ran in at 12 for my morning Riesling. It's this cute shop filled with gourmet wines, and who can complain about tastings everyday. I will surely be back with cash in hand. So yeah, successful morning. This whole week has been super overcast so I haven't made it to the beach. Booo, but at least I've been semi-productive.

Sunday the Yata grocery store opens in the basement. Monday we FINALLY get internet in the apartment. I won't have to leave home ever again :)

Swiss Wine Success

Guess who got an interview....THIS KID!!!!! Yey!! One event and one interview! After spending hours yesterday morning sending out "nice to meet you" emails, one paid off. Liza from SunLife called me yesterday afternoon and asked if I was serious about being interested in becoming a financial planner. Hey, it's not top on my list, but I'm open for suggestions, so she set up a meeting with some of her VPs and myself for October 3rd, where they will tell me more about their training program. Finally something's paying off!!

Yesterday was another wine event, although it really had nothing to do with networking. I called and RSVPed to the Spanish Wine Event at the horse track which got me an industry pass.
I stroll in at 5 and immediately am handed a glass and poured 6 different (wonderful!) Spanish wines. Turns out the woman runs a store a block from my house! I met another vender who sells cookies only at Yata grocery stores. Guess what opens Sunday in my basement! There were all sorts of Iberico hams being sliced and passed, cheeses, and of course many many Spanish wines. Spanish wines haven't existed in my life since DC. Hong Kong lifted it's wine tariff 3 years ago, and since then it has truly become a wine town. It's probably top 3 cities in the world for fine wines. All of which is fine by me. But, this was definitely an industry event; vendors trying to find proveyors for their product, so no networking really happened. Although I did meet a nice fellow who runs a wine blog here, so I'll probably keep in touch with him.

2 minutes later. I just got off the phone with Ms. Han!!! She's here in HK for a jewelry convention and we're going to meet up tonight or tomorrow morning! I've missed her!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Name Card City

So apparently Hong Kong is a place to give and receive name cards. Without one you're no one. I walked into the Hong Kong Institute of DIrectors Swiss Wine Extravaganza at 6:40, and of course, was the first one there. This was no problem as both the Swiss wine and chocolate people were most attentive. A side note: there's a reason people don't know the Swiss do wine; 'tis no Bordeaux. Regardless, the wine was a flowin, chocolate was delish, and the food was pretty good, too. The amazing part of the whole event were the endless amount of people there all for the same function. Every person there was there to get their business card out. Be it to get a new job, get new clients, or just help colleagues, they were all there business card in hand. Counting now, I got 17 cards in the two hours there. That's a new card every 7 minutes! Some of the advice I got (and always love to hear), is keep going to events like this ("it's all about the introduction") and get my linkedin updated. Apparently it's totally appropriate to stalk people via linkedin. It's professional, no? Another tidbit was to join groups and events. If you like tennis, join the HK Tennis Association. Hmmm, HK running club?? HK wine in your face group? HK roll your own sushi association?

One woman I talked to was from Spain, grew up in HK, worked in China, and is now back in HK for her MBA. Her "partner" was here for 4 months before he found a job, but he found his dream job. (PS why do people refer to their boyfriends as partner?) So there's hope yet. I also met a radio host-cum journalist who has been here 40 years and gave up his UK passport for HK citizenship at age 50. I think he did it for the look he gets at the custom agent's window. Then right at the end they did a drawing. Let me take that back, they did like 500 drawings, none of which I won. Apparently this is the thing here. Business cards and drawings. I did, however, get a $25 (~$3usd) gift card to Starbuck's for taking a tour of the facility in which the event was held. ALthough I don't think I'll need my own office space anytime soon ("maybe your friends and you can start a business." Umm no).

Tonight I have two more events! First I am attending the Spanish Foods & Wines Festival as an industry member, I called to RSVP and they invited me to come to the industry only portion. Yes, please. I love me some malbec and tempranillo, and if anyone in the Spanish wine industry wants to hire me, I'm there! It's at the horse track downtown, so it should be a really interesting set up. I can't wait! Following the wine event, Paul and I will attend the AME Gallery's opening of Salima Thakker's jewelry exhibition. I could always use new jewelry, but more importantly there will be people who can actually afford jewelry (aka hire me!) there. And there's cocktails. Keep your fingers crossed for an interview coming soon!


First, lay out the ingredients. In this case; seaweed, rice, tuna, salmon and other assorted fish and roe:

Then roll the sushi:

Then slice. Viola!

Not perfect, but you do what you can with an Ikea knife!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I did it. I rolled my own sushi roll!! And they aren't joking when they call it sticky rice. Have you ever had that on your fingers? It's like glue!! I have pictures, but the computer with them on it is acting up (aka not charged when it should be. hmm) so you'll just have to wait.

$10 taco night is awesome. It's not too far from my house, the tacos are legit, and they bring you free nachos and salsa. I think we'll do this every Tuesday. It's funny too because the crowd of people are all young 20s. English teachers? Where do these people hide? Speaking of young 20s, I saw a young 20 something white kid in the gym today! I said hi and he said hi back and immediately walked out the door. Hey, wait, will you be my friend?? Next time.

Today I get my business cards! Yey, the networking commences! And to start my networking season off right, I think I shall head to the Spanish Chamber of Commerce (SpanCham?) for a Swill Wine Extravaganza! Wine and cheese, yes please. Then from there it's off to the races. Got to love Wednesday race day!!

I just finished my first letter to a CFO but cannot track down his email. Do you know how many Wongs there are here!? A lot. So I'm thinking I'll have to stop by his office and drop it off. That shows dedication and passion; not I'm a stalker and I'm crazy, right?

Monday, September 19, 2011


So a few weeks ago Paul and I went to the Museum of Art here in Kowloon. You have the option to pay $30 for a one time visit, or $100 for a year long visit (~$12usd). Us being the economists we are, opted for the year long pass, but were horribly disappointed when we actually went into the museum. There are only so many vases and bowls one can look out without going insane. Hoping we hadn't just pissed away our money, we were hopeful that a good exhibition would come through in the next year. If nothing it's a good view of the harbor.

Flash to Sunday when we decide to go to the Science Museum. As we're buying tickets Paul has the genius idea to see if our year long passes work here. They do!! And in fact, they work at Dr. Sun Yat Museum, Heritage Museum, Museum of Coastal Defense, Museum of History, and the Space Museum. Who knew!? Best $100 spent ever.

The Science museum is certainly catered to the young, but we were able to kill a few hours. My personal favorite was the World of Mirrors exhibit.
We were pushing little kids out of the way to see how we would look 20 feet tall. Tonight we're going to hit $10 taco night and hopefully the Museum of Natural History. Date night.

I was trying to go to the beach today, but woke up and it's super overcast. We had some good lightening last night, and apparently it has decided to linger a little longer. So I guess it's a good day to stalk CFOs and mess around in the kitchen. I want to try my hand at naan soon. Without a conventional oven, this may just be a disaster in the making. Eh, what else do I have to do?


The tickets have been booked. Call everyone you know because Lauren and Paul are going to America!!! That's right, it's been over a year and a half since America has felt these feet. Here we come NJ/PA! Hoorah!


Arrive JKF 1:30pm Wednesday, December 21st.

Depart JFK 3:50pm Sunday, January 1st....and don't arrive back in Hong Kong until the 3rd. How did that happen??


In other news, my new mantra is working and I feel, dare I say, a little affectionate toward those sunbrella carriers. Truly it lights up my day, that is, until I get poked in the eye. Which always ends up happening.

In domestic news, I have been on a cooking spree. All weekend we enjoyed pancakes and eggs for breakfast.
I forgot how delicious pancakes were. Especially with bananas and hazelnut chocolate spread (thank you harvest moon festival). The last night I made pasta carbonara. I had never had this until my friend Earl invited Paul and I over for homemade pizza. While waiting for Paul to get off work, Earl decided we make a "snack." I wouldn't call this a snack as much as heart attack in the making, but that's just semantics. He cured his own bacon, so I mean this was killer carbonara. It was hard not to stick my head in the bowl it was so good. Mine was pretty good too!

Tonight I am making scallops with a creamy fettucini. One of these days I will succeed at turning Paul into a fat kid! AND I found raw, sushi grade tuna at the store today, so that will serve as a little app. It's surprising the lack of tuna in this country. I'm wondering if it has to do with the earthquake in Japan and boycotting "nuclear" food. They're pretty strict on "health" here. Did you see Contagion!? Don't want that happening again. Tomorrow I'm going to try my hand at rolling my own sushi rolls; tuna and avocado! That is, if I have time after the beach :) Yes, yes, all very exciting news I know. But it's what keeps me occupied for a good quarter of my day. Not going to lie, my favorite places in Hong Kong are the grocery stores, especially City Super! It's almost like being in America. Almost.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HH Success!

Last night was the most productive night of drinking I have probably ever had! I met up with Peter, a recruiter who I have been in touch with for months but had never met. He told me all of the things I haven't been doing that I need to do to get a job. Emailing and calling head hunters won't do it as there are thousands and thousands of people doing that. What I DO need to do is get CFO and hiring managers emails and start going directly to the source. Another thing which I am excited to do, is find a company I am really interested in, do my due diligence to find out what they're all about, then show up to the office one day with my CV in hand requesting to meet with the CFO. I'm heeeeeerrreeeeee!! And his best advice was to go to events. Go out. Go out to happy hour. Go out in Soho. Go out to AmCham events. Go out, go out, go out. This I think I can handle. My new business card:

Lauren McPhate
Professional Happy Hour-er
9075 3252

Then his friend came who also works in the head hunting business, so we drank some more wine and chit chatted. I miss this business talk/drinking atmosphere. I know too many teachers.....of whom I hung out with after meeting Peter. These girls are great and I love that I have girl's night back in my life!

Paul finishes work today at 1, so we're going to make banana hazelnut pancakes and hit the pool. He hasn't been yet, and it's looking to be a sunny one! Then big hotel (I think) party over here on the dark side!! I don't know what all it is, but apparently you get pizza when your order beer. I'm in.


I have a new resolution; every time I see someone open an umbrella on a sunny day I will smile. These umbrellas have brought me so much frustration and anger in the past weeks, that it is now time to let go. Let go of this hostility and let some light in. Every time I fake a smile, perhaps a little true happiness will leak in, until finally the frustration will actually be rid from my life. Yes, that is what I shall do. Embrace the umbrella and this culture phenomena that I can only experience while living in this blessed country. Welcome, sunbrella, welcome.

PS beach was awesome today. Totally deserted, swam 10 laps, got some tan, and am back in time for happy hour. Asa Friday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Light Show

I forgot to mention a few days ago while Neel was visiting we hit the Hong Kong light show. Now I thought I had already seen this; you know lights over Hong Kong. Ohhh no, no. You go down to TST right on the waterfront on the Kowloon side that faces Hong Kong Island. Then sharply at 8pm this futuristic "duh duh dunnnn" music starts up and laser beams from across the water start flying off all the skyscrapers. The lights on the fronts of the buildings are also in sync with the music. And it's just a seisuristic bright light calamity of color. It feels like a Disney production, but totally intense. I was surprised that they got so many buildings in on it, and they do it every night! If you're ever in HK, you gots to do the light show!!

After getting shot down for a few more jobs, today is definitely a beach day. I need a good swim and a good tan. In slightly hopeful news, I just got an email from a recruiter who previously said he can't help me ("but keep trying") asking me to meet he and his friends for happy hour tonight. Hopefully I can get some good networking in, or at least a few glasses of wine :)

Yesterday I made the best dinner to date, and I thank my mom for her suggestions. After an interesting experience at the grocery store trying to find breadcrumbs

Park N Shop Lady; "Ahh bread?"
Me: No, bread crumbs, you know for chicken or meat.
PNKL: "Ahh chicken!"
M: No, like dried bread in little peices
PNSL: "Ahh egg!"
M: Nevermind

I actually did find a small box of panko bread crumbs and everything else I needed to make eggplant parm. I was worried because I have never used our convection/microwave oven, but I found the manual and looked up the setting for "baked dish" and it turned out Asa!! And totally huge so I'm having it for dinner tonight, too! I also made Paul beef n broccoli for lunch today which turned out pretty asa as well. I'm getting good at this. I'm thinking pad thai and shrimp n linguini next week. Any suggestions?

Just looked up tickets home for Christmas and it seems if I want to leave on December 23rd, it's going to cost me close to a G. But if we leave a week earlier it's only $760...will I have a job or won't I???

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Chinese people love McDonalds. Fact. There are 200+ McDonalds here in Hong Kong and I have never ever in the one month living here, seen one that is not wall to wall with people. Chinese people also love pancakes. You walk into any McDonalds pre-11 am and you're guaranteed to see a smorgasbord of pancakes. Wall to wall people and pancakes. Fact.

PS McDonalds breakfast includes the normal egg mcmuffin and the like, but they also have noodles in soup with meat. For breakfast. Ew. I have had more McDonalds in the last month than probably my entire life combined. I guess that comes with dating someone who can't gain weight. Kid loves his quarter pounder, and I love my ice cream.


The races were amazing last night!! It's the best people watching to date! There are hundreds, if not thousands of people, some decked out to the 9s and some in jean shorts, all out to watch the spectacle of horses running in a circle. The field itself if beautiful. Beautiful green turf with a backdrop of Hong Kong city. Entrance is $10HKD (~$1.20), you can bring in your own wine and snacks or buy a very reasonably priced beer in one of the many beer tents in the beer garden. It's just amazing to watch the business men and wifes and students alike, certainly not a crowd you would spot in Korea; this is much more business class. <3

Today I woke up early, 9:30 ha, called home, got cut off because of crappy internet, and now am trying to steal it from the club house. One of these days I will get internet in the apartment!! Going balls to the wall on job hunting today and then I think I shall reward myself with a beach day tomorrow. And I've been an exceptional housewife this week; homemade mac and cheese, chicken salad sandwiches, chicken fried rice, and eggplant parm tonight. Did you know that English call eggplant aubergine? I just learned this in India; I don't know how this fact escaped me for 26 years. Off to run.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Student Union?

So this whole job hunt thing has proven to be quite difficult. It doesn't help that visitors keep rolling into town, there are holidays and countless fun things to do here. Not that the beach has been a distraction at all....So yesterday Paul and I go out for a dim sum breakfast in our neighborhood. We sit down and the waitress looks disheveled and just says, "Chinese??" Nope. Not a word and the whole menu is in Chinese. The kind woman next to us leans over and asks what we want and starts telling us what all is on the menu. How sweet was that? Turns out she and her family live in our building and they looked at putting their daughters in Tutor Time but it was much too expensive ($1,000 USD/month). After we get our delicious dim sum, she starts pointing out some characters on the menu and telling us what they are. Yey, I can order chicken, dumplings, Coke, pork, beef, and bao (Chinese bread) now! But the real kicker with this breakfast was the excitement from learning some/ANY Chinese. LIGHTBULB. Why don't I do an intensive one year full time Mandarin class? Beats working :)

So now I have to research and see if this is a feasible life strategy. There's no shortage of programs, but there is the little problem of shortage of cash. Student loans for dim sum??


We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach and had a lovely sushi picnic in Victoria Park with all of the lanterns, tourists, and lesbian nannies. No joke, lots of em. Tonight is the first horse race of the season! Yey. Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday there are races at various locations around Hong Kong. I think there's even one up this way in the New Territories. But tonight it's down on the island and everyone's coming out for it. Sundresses, horses, and purse drinks. Ugh I need a break after this week, it's been non-stop party time and I'm exhausted! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harvest Moon

I'm like Korean public transportation; I don't stop for red lights. Or umbrellas.

Today I woke up at 10 am, ate a giant Pissano's pizza (jumbo slice of HK!), read 4 local magazines, and went for a 9k run. I need a job :)

Yesterday Paul, Beth and I had a lovely day out in Sai Kung. Beth is in the same unfortunate situation as Paul and I. We all live on the mainland, or the "dark side" as islanders love to call it. But, luckily there's solace in company. Sai Kung is this beautiful little beach town, only with no beach, just piers over the water. There are people hawking boats, crabs, restaurants, and then tons of families and dogs just out to enjoy the clean beautiful sights. We of course were there with white wine, cheese and crackers. Perfect for nursing the free ladies drinks hangover from Saturday night!

Tomorrow is the mid-autumn harvest moon festival. From what I gather it just means no work and you're supposed to eat moon cakes, which I have never seen a person consume a whole one. Ugh sugar over dose. But it also means fireworks and party time tonight!! Woohoo.


2 minutes later. I just got off the phone. Last week I was solicited by a young man outside my apartment to help save the children. I explained that I would love to, but as I currently don't have a job, it would be irresponsible to spend money I don't have. His eyes lit up and he told me that his company is always looking to hire. Hmm, not so keen on standing out in the 33 degree weather asking people for money, but I humored him and gave him my number. Flash to today and his boss, or someone called me very interested in hiring me. Until they learned I don't have a working visa. This again!!! Man, I can't even get jobs I don't want. Humph.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Last night Paul and I found the greatest thing!! A Korean, I use the term loosely, buffet! This place was insane. There were a bunch of Chinese soups, Korean side dishes, fried rice, then a whole tray of salmon sushi and sashimi, and then the mother load; an entire wall of meat. It was ridiculous.
There was lamb, pork, 18 kinds of beef, chicken, salmon, white fish, crab, mushrooms, egg plant, tofu, squid, and then there were spicy or marinated versions of each. I have never seen so much raw meat all for the taking before. You get your plate, then bring it back to the table to grill. Well, I guess the secret's out, because there were 7000 million people there and a line out the door and down the escalator. It was in Mong Kok which is the busiest area of Hong Kong. I believe the restaurant was called Han Wo. Oh, and if dinner wasn't enough, there were amazing pancakey things, a sweet tofu dessert, and ice cream! Good ice cream too!! Needless to say, I woke up this morning and went for a 5 mile run!

Weird things about Hong Kong, or maybe I should say Asia. Paul and I were going to the beach the other day so we went to buy some sunblock, you know, like SPF 15 or 30. Here's what the store had; tanning oil OR SPF 150++. No joke. I didn't know it went that high, but those are your choices. Why is it that the dark want to get lighter and the light want to get darker??

Another random tidbit. This is a mystery that has been bothering me for 3 months. In India (and Indians here and all over) the older men, and some women, have this fluorescent orange hair. It's bizarre. My theory was that they bought cheap hair dye and it turned orange in the sun, but after 4 million people did that, wouldn't you learn? Well, apparently I wasn't too far off. I googled it the other day and discovered that as men and women get older they don't want to go grey but they don't have the money for expensive hair dye. So what do they do? They use henna. Weird. I think I'd rather stay grey.

Off to get Paul from work and meet Neel for some sightseeing! Yey to Saturdays and not spending a day alone job hunting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stay Left Unless To Overtake

Please, dear god, put the sunbrellas away!!! It's dangerous and someone (me!) is going to lose an eye. It's not raining. It's not even particularly sunny out. You live in a city, which means high rises blocking the sun. It's 8000 degrees out, how far are you really walking? PUT IT AWAY. Your little Asian heights = perfect umbrella level to poke Lauren's eye out. I'm sick of it, and I'm gonna end it if you don't. I wish that were true, but instead of ending it, I will grumble and look at you with mean ugly face every time I see your umbrella out inappropriately.

Anyway, I have the best mom ever!!! I already knew this, but yesterday I got a package of birthday presents for Paul and I! Since we were traveling, she held onto them and waited til we had an address. Who's mom is better?? Thanks, mom!!!!

Last night I went out with the ladies for tapas! Apparently it's quite the trend here, and I haven't had em since my DC days. I love small plates!! Wine, squid, and girl talk. I <3 HK. Tomorrow my friend Neel is coming. We met, wow, 2 years ago exactly in Taiwan. He's visiting from Korea so I get to play tour guide/tourist. Lots of exciting stuff going on, unfortunately just not on the job front.

Pool time. Peace.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Me and the Old Men

The beach yesterday was amazing! It was pretty overcast here in Kowloon, but by the time I got off the 40 minute bus to Clearwater Bay the skies were bright blue and sunny! Surprisingly, there were actually a sizable amount of people at the beach for a Tuesday afternoon. I guess they're on the unemployment plan as well. I swam out beyond the orange buoys but still inside the shark netting and there are probably 10-15 sixty + year old men swimming laps. It's just me and the oldies swimming back and forth, back and forth. They would occasionally stop and look at me, I'm clearly the new guy here, but then just kept on with it. I had one guy stop and smile at me at every end; he's my favorite. But, man, swimming is hard work even with the amount of salt in the water. I swam a solid 45 minutes, 6 laps, and called it a day. I sat on the beach enjoying this lovely book, Life of Pi. It's about a boy who's ship wrecked on a lifeboat with a tiger. The whole thing is about all of the things in the water that are trying to kill him. It's all a little disconcerting while I'm swimming in the ocean. Good book though.

I followed up on some of the billion jobs I applied for and turns out, none of em want me. One guy even told me "in all honesty" it's a bad market, hard times for jobs right now. He even told me I wouldn't qualify for entry level because I'm not fresh out of college. Awesome. I'm not defeated, I just need to put more focus on skipping the recruiters and spending my energy looking for risk and credit positions where I have more experience. I would LOVE to work in derivatives, but I guess banking is not hiring these days. Especially for someone with no experience in banking. My favorite response yesterday was from Prudential.

Prudential: "Do you have your working visa?"
Me: "No, I just got here."
P: "Well, you need a working visa to interview with us."
Me: "How do I get a working visa without a job?"
P: Click

Today= internet, newspaper, running, gym, library (internet/ Economist), grocery shopping, clothes shopping, happy hour. Busy Busy Busy

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Good Housewife

Last night I made the yummiest dinner. So far they've all been pretty good, minus that one fail of bland pasta in the beginning. We've enjoyed fajitas, fried rice, cheesey rice, tofu kimchi, mexican chicken, countless salads (well me) and now green curry chicken! Thai food is delicious and now I realize it's super simple. Tom Yum soup is next on my list.

For now it's off to the beach. I applied for a bazillion jobs yesterday with not a one response, so in an effort to be patient (ha who am I kidding, I'm sick of looking at the computer), I am going to the beach for a swim. It's supposed to rain everyday this week, so today's as good a day as any.

2 Year Anniversary Abroad

The bangs are still a disaster but at least I had an amazing weekend! Friday night I head out with the girls to Central. There are only a couple bar areas in HK, and Central seems to be the most popular. It's totally different going out here versus in Korea. People here go out after work in their business casual. People go out in Korea in whatever (who cares we're English teachers!). People here are from all over the world and just because they look Chinese doesn't mean they don't speak English; ahem Koreans. It's a lot a lot a lot of 30+-ers. You don't see too many fresh out of collegers, which lights the fire under my ass to quit putzing around and get a job! But, ouch, it's waaaay more expensive to go out here than in Seoul, you may as well be in Manhattan.

I hadn't had a girl's night in forever! Probably since last summer, so it was really nice to go out and talk about hair, and shopping, and drinking wine! The girls I went out with are all English teachers, 2 who taught in Korea previously, so we all had a lot to talk about.

After school Saturday (yup Paul works 8:30-1 on Saturdays. God bless this man) Paul and I head over to TST (Tsim San Shui, I think) in Kowloon. This is THE place in Kowloon. There's shopping, tons of hotels, a walk of stars, ferries over to the island, and the best view of Hong Kong! We had intended to hit the museum, but didn't get there until late, so we just walked along the walk of stars taking in all of the touristy mainland things to do. We had bought a Groupon, my first!, so we went to the iSquare plaza and had an awesome 4 course dinner. There was an app of some meat and dumplings, a rice pizza with crab which was delicious, creamy pumpkin seafood pasta, and a trio of desserts. All in all I'm impressed Groupon. We finally made our way over to the island where we met up with the ladies and some of their friends. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, I guess because how transient everyone is here! I ran into my friend Catherine who had some friends in common with Katie; small little expat world we live in. We ended up staying out until 5. That hasn't happened in ages!!! I <3 HK.

Today, September 5th, marks my 2 year anniversary of living abroad. Crazy! In 2 years I've held countless jobs, made so many great new friends, traveled to 10 Asian countries, had some pretty terrible haircuts, oh yeah, and met my future husband. Been a pretty good run Asia. Here's to the next 2, cheers!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I should have known better

Anyone who's lived in Asia knows this. I know this. Yet, somehow, again and again I fall into the same mistake.

Asians can't cut Western hair. They just don't get it. I've had many a haircut in Korea go awry (put the razor away!!!), yet for some reason I thought it would be different here. As an aside, when Paul got his hair cut in Nepal he got a sick massage. Since I hadn't gotten my hair cut in 6 months and since I also like massages, I went to get my hair cut. It was a pricey $3 deal. The man maybe cut like 2 hairs, unevenly I might add, and then skimped on the massage. Pshaw. Haircut karma's got to be coming back to me one of these days...

The best haircut I had in Korea was in the COEX mall, so with this in mind I went to the mall near my house to find a salon. I did. They gave a great shampoo massage. Yes, they actually wash your hair BEFORE cutting it here. Then I had a magazine, pointed at a girl with REALLY long hair and a face frame and said "like this." The woman nods in understanding, then chops off my bangs. She left no more than 2 inches of hair in the front on my face. And to make it worse it's not even a bang, it's her version of a face frame (of which she has in her own hair!), so it's not even across my forehead. It's like 2 inches on the left and maybe 3 or so as you move right. This is not what I asked for, woman. It was one of those moments where she did it, my stomach fell to the floor, then she had the audacity to ask, "OK?" No!! Not ok, but it's done now, and you've only left a patch of hair!!! The she takes the scissor back to my head and puts her hand at about ear level and says, "here?" NO!!! What about long do you not understand!!!? Thankfully I shot that one down, but she still proceeded to cut 4+ inches off my finally long hair.

At the end of the day at least it's different now. I was bored with the long stringy hair. She managed to get my ends even, which is something that never seemed to happen in Korea. But, she did leave me with this furry things in the front of my face. I can't even wear a headband because they stand up like feathers. Luckily right next to the mall salon was the mall hair accessories store where I immediately stocked up on bobby pins. No more hair cuts til America.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 3

of Paul at work and I'm bored and frustrated. Why don't I have a job yet? Why isn't it sunny enough to warrant a beach day? Man, everything's against me. ha. I have been in contact with a few recruiters, applied for countless jobs online (even been rejected by one, thanks Bloomberg!), and have stalked/harrassed linkedin connections. What else is there to do?? Next week I'm going to hit the happy hour trail :)

Today I went for run 2. I'm somewhere in between I missed it and why do I do this again? Although, I think I actually ran a solid 5k today which is much better than run 1. Now it's time to decide what to do with the rest of the day. I'm bored of sitting in the library (free internet) job searching, and it's really overcast so that knocks out the beach, so it really only leaves one option; shopping. This could turn into a dangerous habit.

Housewife update; I did a good dinner again last night. We had lots of leftover rice, so I made a beef stir-fry for Paul. Rice, soy sauce, eggs, and peppered beef knuckle. Twas quite delicious if I do say so myself. Tonight no cooking as I'm going out!! I'm meeting Katie and Stephanie (both teachers here) for drinks in Soho. Yey, friends!