Showing posts from March, 2014

An Ode to Florida

What does it mean to be a Floridian? When people ask me where I’m from, I always say Florida with a bit of a reluctant shrug, or a comment like, ‘but it’s way shittier living there than you would imagine.’ And yet, somedays, I yearn for Florida so desperately that I want to book a ticket home. 
I'm a natural born beach bum
I crave the oppressive humidity and heat, so thick you feel like you are swimming down the driveway when you go to get your mail. I miss the hilarity of having to stop your car for a gator crossing, the thrill of crawling army style through the mangroves to avoid the Coast Guard, who caught you drinking illegally on the beach at night. I miss the wacky headlines, the sound of palm trees rustling, the smell of the ocean and chlorine and spray tans. I miss indulging in some beers and smokes with my friends on a patio, and the laughably cheap lunch buffets for snowbirds. I miss cutting open coconuts from my backyard next to the pool. I miss wearing barely there clo…

Volunteering in Hong Kong

I have lots of opportunities for service through my job (teaching middle and high school) because our students need supervisors for a lot of the charity work they do. It is nice to branch out on my own and give back to the community as well though. This Sunday, I volunteered for Vision First, an organization that provides services to the refugee population in Hong Kong. The women's group makes knit handicrafts, and they needed people to work at Vision First's booth at an artisan market. The money goes back to the women, who are then able to use it to help support their families.

The international fair was set at the beautiful Harrow school
Me with some other volunteers at the Vision First booth
When I moved to Hong Kong, I reached out and emailed a few places saying if they ever needed a volunteer they could contact me, and I'm slowly building up relationships with some of the organizations around town I keep seeing at various service events. Interested in volunteering in Ho…

New Look - Sold at ZALORA Here in HK!

What’s your style? Bohemian? Flirty feminine? Punk rock? Business Casual? There’s an online boutique here in Hong Kong that has something for everyone called ZALORA. I used to shop mostly at Urban Outfitters back in the States, and I thought Hong Kong didn’t have anything like it until I discovered ZALORA. 
Perfect top for an afternoon tea with some lovely ladies New Look Lace Scallop Hem Shell Top- HKD 289
Don't worry about a purse at HK festival like Clockenflap or Beertopia New Look Leather Look Backpack- HKD 289
ZALORA is completely online, and shipping is free over HKD 150. Not only do they have a huge range of apparel, shoes, and accessories, but their products are also somehow super affordable! They have recently added New Look to their list of brands offered, and if you head over to the website now, you can get a $100 voucher for signing up for their newsletter.

Looks like spring is here- maybe on an upcoming junk tour of the Harbour? New Look Floral Print Skater Dress- HKD 244

Light and Shadows Exhibit in Admiralty

Do you love the light and shadows of Baroque paintings? Does Caravaggio strike something deep and personal when you stare at his mysterious figures? Then you have to check out the Hong Kong Jockey Club's free art exhibit, Light and Shadows. It's being hosted by the Asia Society Art Gallery.
Asia Society is in a lovely woodsy hillside setting
The exhibit features local artists that have pieces connected to a series of Caravaggio inspired themes, such as shadows and theatricality.
Art by Chow Chun-Fai
More art by Chow Chun-Fai
Photo by So Hing-keung

And then you arrive at the Supper at Emmaus, which depicts Jesus revealing himself to his disciples after his resurrection. Caravaggio actually painted two of these; the Hong Kong exhibit has the second version, which includes an old lady and a beard on Jesus, neither of which the original painting had. It's really massive and the detail is breath-taking. I spent a good ten minutes just trying to study the way he portrayed the light …

I Don't Get Macau

I spent a day in Macau last month and I'm just now getting around to writing about it. What a strange place. Am I the only one who feels this way?

It was obviously Chinese, as it is a Special Administrative Region of China, the population is 86% Cantonese, and there are dim sum restaurants on every other street corner.

Chinese New Year decorations downtown
Something about Macau also felt like Latin America. The electrical poles were weighed down with mountains of wires that had to be hazardous, and there were seedy back streets and dilapidated apartment buildings. I felt quite anxious on one particular taxi ride that took us through a residential area near the colonial district, because it reminded me so much of Quito.

Residential area in Macau- not all parts looked this sketchy though!
Macau used to be a Portuguese colony, so the cuisine and architecture in certain areas felt very European. Only .6% of the population is Portuguese, and about 7% speak Macau Portuguese, a dialect uni…

Keeping Healthy in Hong Kong

This is a city that works hard and plays harder, and as a result, has a noticeably beautiful population. How do they do it when it can be so easy to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle? In my area at least, there are healthy meal opportunities, gyms, and yoga studios everywhere!

There's Mana!, my favorite vegetarian restaurant in the city. It goes beyond being cruelty free, as they have waste sorting facilities in the restaurant and biodegradable plates and cutlery. Near the escalator in Soho, we also have Just GreenLife,eat Right, and Herbivores. All healthy, delicious, and relatively affordable.

Just Green- organic grocery store with vegan ice cream!
Mana! Fast Slow Food, delicious wraps and salads
eatRight has great lunch specials
Life does great lunch specials as well 

Herbivores is a cozy vegetarian restaurant
I have a lot of friends that have gym memberships at Pure Fitness, but there are other options in the area as well. Seems like everyone in this city is always carrying their …

Identity Crisis Much

The theme of this year for me has got to be ‘Identity.’ I think this is a common issue for expats (I can’t be the only one!) because of our lifestyle. New countries, changing relationship statuses, an ever-revolving cast of characters in our lives, culture shock and homesickness, all of these can really make you question who you are deep down. I’m trying to be really reflective and thoughtful this year, and I just keep coming back to thinking about identity.

As I try to find my place in Hong Kong, I am aware that this process of ‘settling down’ has little to do with the place, and more to do with my own sense of self. With my scenery constantly changing, the only constant is me. I wish I could absolutely depend on myself for comfort and confidence, but it just doesn’t always work like that when struggling with PTSD. Most days I’m fine, I know who I am, I know that I’m recovering and getting better, but then every once in awhile I snap and relapse and start questioning everything all o…