Showing posts from September, 2014

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

I have a new neighborhood in Hong Kong- Tai Hang! I wrote about it last year and hinted that I wanted to relocate, and over the summer, I did it. I found a cute, quirky, newly renovated apartment in an old Chinese walk-up building, which was really my dream. That's a different blog post for a different day, because right now I just want to share with you a cultural tradition from my new neighborhood that happened recently.

Entrance to my neighborhood all jazzed up in preparation
A few weeks ago was the Tai Hang Fire Dragon dance. Tai Hang is an old fishing village that goes back over 100 years, so it is a very tight knit community. Once a year the locals run up and down the streets 3 nights in a row with a 67 meter long dragon. The dragon runs at the crowd and then veers away at the last minute, it goes up in flames as they stab it with incense, and it dances to the beat of the massive drums following alongside.

The head of the dragon running right towards me in the crowd

10 Tips For My 15 Year Old Self

I teach 6th-10th grade, which we all know can be the worst age ever. At that age, kids are hormonal nut jobs and it’s a wonder I can keep them all seated and somehow learning as well. Distractions are aplenty, to name a few:

Oh god, is everyone staring at my zit?
Does he like me?
Why was she such a bitch to me on
How do I make this boner go away?
Can I hike my skirt up any shorter without showing off my ladybits?
Why are my parents such embarrassing assholes?

When I think back to that age, I just remember feeling insecure a lot. Pressure to fit in, to be normal, to catch a cute boy’s attention or get invited to the best house party was suffocating. My students here seem overall more well-adjusted than their American counterparts, but sometimes I still want to give them advice to help them through these horrible years. Unfortunately, this isn’t really the type of stuff built into a school curriculum. If I could go back and give my 15 year old self some advice, here’s what I w…

Picture Post - Steamy Summer

August and September in Hong Kong are bitching hot, but that doesn't stop us from flocking to the beaches during the day and tearing up the town at night. Here are some photos of my latest summer shenanigans.

Lazy day at Chung Hom Kok
Afternoon thunderstorm rolling in over Tai Hang
Hula hooping at Repulse Bay
Stunning scenery in a taxi ride
Girl's night out at Varga Lounge
Hong Kong is never ending fun. I can stumble home alone at 4 AM with some street shwarma or leave my purse on the beach and swim out in the water with no fear of getting taken advantage of. There's not many places left on Earth like that. I would also like to point out that all of the beach photos were taken right on Hong Kong Island, about a 15 minute taxi ride from downtown. The natural beauty of Hong Kong is a hidden secret. I love my city!

My Volunteer Experience With Soap Cycling

I discovered a website called Hands on Hong Kong a few weeks ago that has a community bulletin where all the charities and non-profits in the city can post volunteer opportunities. Before I start promoting it to my students, I wanted to go check it out in person so I signed up for an event called 'Soap Cycling' and headed over there Saturday morning.

Soap Cycling is an environmental initiative from Hong Kong University that aims to promote hygiene and sanitation by recycling used soap bars from hotels. In Hong Kong alone, hotels throw away 2-3 million bars of soap annually. Combine that with the horrifying statistic that each year around the world 3.5 millions kids die of pneumonia and another 850,000 of diarrhea (both diseases that could be prevented by simply washing your hands), and you can see why these two causes clearly go hand in hand.

Crates full of recycled soap from Hong Kong hotels
By collecting used soap bars from hotels, Soap Cycling prevents them from piling up in …

Hong Kong and China

Let’s talk politics. It’s time to speak up. Posters for universal suffrage have been plastered over every inch of this city since the spring. Protests have become a bit more visible and local news headlines a bit more sinister. In case you haven’t read the news, China announced last weekend that Hong Kong’s ‘universal suffrage’ that we’ve all been waiting for would consist of allowing everyone to vote on a new chief executive (yay!), but the candidates would be hand-selected by the government in Beijing (boo!).

Injustice, corruption, and totalitarianism do not happen overnight. They happen gradually, creeping up around the edges of democracy, and citizens accept one small blow after another. Then, after an extended amount of time, people look around and realise they don’t recognise the community they are living in. ‘But we used to be so free!’ they might complain.

What is happening in Hong Kong right now is a gradual removal of freedoms. Freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, free…

Glasses With a Conscience

I've blogged about Warby Parker in the past because I'm a sucker for ethically-minded companies and try to support them whenever possible. Not only is Warby Parker a business with a conscience- their glasses are freakin' adorable as well!

 Frames from the new fall collection
How does it work? You buy a pair of glasses online- frames start at $95. You can try them on virtually or do a free home trial with a pair of frames if you aren't sure. The new Fall Collection is smart and stylish, so check that out here. I personally love the Greenleaf frames and can totally picture wearing them while curled up on a couch in the library with a piping hot cup of coffee and some Jeanette Winterson novels stacked up around me. The Durand frames are a personal fave as well, as they look a little more delicate and suited to my pixie tendencies.

Once you've made your purchase, Warby Parker uses some of the proceeds to fund training for vision specialists in 35 different developing co…