Thursday 27 October 2011

Wednesday 26 October 2011

The wheels on the bus

Ready, steady, go!

The boys and friends pegging it around during Millie's not-a-baby-shower baby shower.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Hundreds, teasers and swan dives

I have started doing Pilates again, at Flex in Wong Chuk Hang. IT IS AWESOME. I cannot express how much I love Pilates. I guess it appeals to the disciplinarian ex-ballet student in me. I love proving to myself that I can still do it, after cough cough, erm, two years of nothing, I love seeing that my mind has way more control over my body than I realised, I love pushing myself further than I thought I could go (literally) and most of all I love staring at the ceiling, thinking about breathing, thinking about where my shoulders are, thinking about engaging my abs.

After the class today, the teacher Victoria (who is also awesome - and let me tell you I am super-fussy when it comes to pilates teachers) said she was surprised I hadn't done Pilates for a long time, because I can still do it all, and she said I had excellent physique. That might just be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me! I don't care what I weigh, I care how I feel. And walking out of those classes I feel taller, stronger and most importantly happier.

Happy 18 months munchkins!

548 days ago, I was on my way from the delivery ward to the maternity ward at The Queen Mary Hospital.  I had Josh with me, but not Felix, he was up in the neo-natal unit for one night, so I had one night of singleton parentism!

We went to the Aberdeen Marina Club this arvo for a playdate, which was lovely. We don't go there often, and every time we do I really notice the big changes in them, how they behave, how they play, and how independent they are. It's a massive, massive relief that they are finally able to clamber around (padded) climbing frames on their own - Josh even managed to climb up and down the stairs unsupervised a few times so that he could slide. I know I'm supposed to supervise them, but that would involve me contorting myself to fit into the kiddy-sized tunnels and twisty turny slides. And frankly, the joy of being able to see them playing independently is so great that it even outweighs my immense guilt at not being within lunging distance of them at all times.

I had a super lovely afternoon yesterday, partly because I was with my BFF, and partly because BFF's helper Nora the Explorer came to help Vergie with the boys while we tai-tai'd. It is fabuloso knowing that there are two people looking after them and they are happy and active, not stuck inside because one person cannot realistically take them out alone.

Another factor in the loveliness was that I saw the boys from a distance for the first time really. Nora and Vergie were playing with them, then they held the boys' hands as they walked home with us. It was a bit weird to see them like that. They are ridiculously cute, and of course I see that every day, but seeing them as a stranger must see them, toddling across Lie Don Doh was a bit of an eye-opener. Maybe I should remove the blinkers more often.

Sunday 16 October 2011

Tuesday 11 October 2011

W, X, Y and .....Zed or Zee?

As the boys get bigger and start going to classes with structure, they are often singing the ABC song. Now if you ask me, that song ends "w, x, y and zed, now I know my alphabet..." then something else, I've forgotten the end. But the version that everyone (including britishers) uses here ends "w, x, y and zee, now I know my ABC, next time won't you sing with me."

This seems weird to me - are the boys going to grow up Americanized? Or internationalized? I expect they will say "heaps" instead of "loads", and they "won't have a bar of it" and spell it "vegies" not "veggies" but that's the Aussie influence (they are already addicted to Vegemite and were born on ANZAC day). Now, it won't come as much of a surprise to you all that I am something of a snob, especially when it comes to languages.

Already friends with school-age kids are worrying that they say candy instead of sweets (just to complicate the matter, the Aussie for sweets is lollies) Why do I feel so strongly that I don't want them to say chips instead of crisps? I think it might have something to do with a fear of them being bullied at an English school. But it's deeper than that too, it's always been there. I don't know, just my own little foible I guess.

Here in Hong Kong we have a curious blend of linguistic habits. The old melting-pot metaphor applies here, and I am only referring to the stuff written in the Latin alphabet. 

Of course it's easy to mock names - like the shop called Wankee Sports, or people with names like Purple, Champagne or Buffet. It's also easy to mock the difficulty that Canto speakers have distinguishing between L and R - see you tomollow, la! But it seems like the influence of many different cultures has seeped into common usage here.

Shroff, for example (Parsi for "one who deals with money") is very frequently used; everywhere from a car park attendant's hut to the hospital cashier's desk is called a shroff. A warehouse is a Godown (from the Malay "gudang"). Nullah is used to describe a sort of concrete reinforced gully for rainwater, it's from Hindi and is apparently hardly used anywhere except Hong Kong.

Hong Kong English has many idiosyncrasies, and perhaps the habit that we mock the most is for HKers to say "cannot". Cantonese is such a direct language, made up of simple units, that there is no custom of sugar-coating, as we would in English. No "would you mind" or "I'm afraid not" or "I'd be grateful if". Just CANNOT. And as much as we take the piss, I don't actually get cannotted all that often. It's more of an attitude I guess. 

It's ironic because the answer is so often CAN - yes, I can come and fix your water heater on a Sunday afternoon, yes I can continue to negotiate your flat rental at 10pm on a Friday night, yes I can bring you a keg of beer on a public holiday. Of couse the flip side of that is yes I can dig a massive great hole in the pavement without any protective barriers around it so that you and your ma chai can fall into it!

ps: I just took the boys out with me when I went to get coffee at Pret in Lee Gardens II, and I dressed them in jeans, socks and shoes and jumpers because it was a bit chilly. I explained this to Vergenia, who asked me what the temperature is, so I just looked it up - 25 degrees. Not exactly chilly.

Monday 3 October 2011

Sunday 2 October 2011