Pulled In Many Directions

Not-so-daily rambings about my life and my thoughts

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Weird Dream Report

I unfortunately can't flesh out the most recent dreams I have had. I know they involve me being surrounded by a lot of people. Whether it's a party, or I'm being surrounded by my kids shouting "Miss Kate! Miss Kate!" or being in a crush in TST, I don't know. It just leaves me feeling tired in the morning, that is for sure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Sign I Am Getting Old

Second time in about two weeks I am having another sleepless night. Second time in two weeks I have had a medium sized Coke with my dinner after 6 p.m. Coincidence?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

That Thing

I've lived here 8 months almost and have met two guys interested in me (well, one is confirmed that he did like me, and the other was just pure speculation that he did and the countless theories of how good we'd get along together that came along with it.) and I don't feel anything for them.

I think this is a bit sad. Maybe the old me would try something out, and hope for the best, but the new me just doesn't want to go along with something, get sucked in, and then have her ass and heart handed to her on a platter like she had before. I am getting too old for meh.

So I really am trying to be better about this; choose more wisely, but part of me is wondering, when the hell am I going to meet the guy where I feel **that thing** (Probably made more famous, by the way, as Carrie Bradshaw's "zsa zsa zu") Yes, I am aware I italicized and asterisksized and bolded that word. Something like **that thing** really deserves as much decoration as possible. I know cause I have felt it before with someone.

I am starting to really love my life here and I am happy with my friends. And though maybe it is the beer I previously ingested talking, I do sometimes wish that sometime soon, I will feel the lightning strike me silly again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Class Notes

Everytime I am away from my computer I can think of something to write, but now as I sit here, I can't think of a thing.

I am still really enjoying my job and I love the teachers I am working with now. I had something kind of embarrassing happen to me, but still sweet. I have a very active class in the morning and one day apparently it seemed I had lost it. I wasn't really pissed off, but apparently my coteacher saw that I was exasperated, and then the next day, I am given a card made by my coteacher and signed by all the kids, which said "Sorry" and my coteacher explaining to me that she thought I was a good teacher and I could come to her at anytime with any problem I had. Wow.

I love how in my first class I have a little girl who seems to absolutely love me (give her time!), and she really wanted me to sit next to her in small group time. And her English name is "Q Q." How cool is that? She also has a brother named "K K." I briefly met her mom, but have to say they must have some kind of sense of humor to call their kids that. :)

I also have another great little girl who gave me a purple heart she had cut out herself. My coworker joked tome that it had to have been because she realized how hard it must have been to teach her class math, and so she decided to give me a purple heart for bravery.

In my active class I have one of the nicest, politest smartest boys I have ever taught. He is just a really sweet kid. Also in the same class is one really active boy who apparently knows English very well but has the hardest time writing or speaking Chinese, which should be his first language. Even though sometimes his behavior drives me bonkers sometimes, after I found out his father passed away when he was only three, I developed a soft spot for him.

And today in my active class, I tried to teach them a chant they have to learn by the end of the month. Yes, I do know it is the 26th! My kids in that class have terrible pronunciation as a whole; the whole thing ended up reminding me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe tried to teach Joey French. I was getting a bit frustrated, but once I remembered that episode of Friends I was three seconds away from cracking up with laughter.

It even mimicked how they could say the words in English one at a time no problem, but once they got put into a sentence, it just blurred into one nonsensical mess! Oh well, they have plenty of time to get it right.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

You Asked For It...

Dear Readers,

A friend of mine has asked me to submit a poll question for her in the hopes she can finally believe what her real-time, real-life friends are telling her again and again. And again.

*ahem*

She is crushing on this guy. And he is quite crushable. I even liked him quite briefly when I first met him. But this post is not about me. It is about my friend, the crushable guy, and the fact that he is so crushable that one of her friends likes him quite a bit too, and has for more than one afternoon.

(To my friend, you told me to post, but didn't dictate the spin the story should have. So I hope you aren't wanting to kill me at this moment, or when you finish reading. And feel free to comment and add to the story or clarify anything that I have gotten wrong.)

*ahem*

So her friend liked this guy for awhile and then my friend started hanging out with this group of people, and she found herself starting to become interested in her friend's crush. And she felt that he might start becoming interested in her too, but out of a sense of loyalty to her friend she did or said nothing to him about it. Then recently he said to my friend he would like to take her out on a date. She accepted and told her friend to be honest and her friend went a bit ballistic, saying real friends would not date a guy that another friend had a crush on, and saying she was hurt and disappointed in her. My friend thinks her friend is trying to bully her out of dating him in a subtle way.

I think that would be true if the other person were a couple or working up the courage to date the guy, but this wasn't the case. As I see it, the friend had taken herself out of the equation when she decided dating him would ruin the social dynamics of the group we are all in. My friend has decided to take that chance. And also you can not control how a person feels or own a person. I think it'd be different if they had already been dating, but when it's just a crush, all's fair in love and war, yeah? (Yeah, you can probably reference past posts where I was obsessing over some guy as well, but I am working on that. Hm!) so she can't be mad at my friend, saying she made him like her and that now she can't trust her with the guys she likes. (I wish you could make people like you...dating would be easier that way.)

My time is almost up here, so I am just wondering what anyone else reading this thinks of the situation. This post has been totally sanctioned by my friend. I am not gossiping about her without her knowledge; I'm doing it with her approval and by her request! If I have more time later, I'll go back and flesh out the details if I need to.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Christ, I am tired.

On Tuesday, I ran with the Ladies' Hong Kong Hash House Harriers in Sai Kung and while somehow the trail got messed up and most of us only completed half, I really ran myself ragged on it, being the low-experienced...eghhh...no experienced runner that I am.

Hashing is pretty cool, as it's not to be taken too seriously. You have to follow a predetermined trail from start to finish, and along the way, there are "checks" (drawn out in chalk or flour) where you are shown your options of which path to take. Sooner or later, you are then told if the path you took was the right choice. If it isn't, you have to go back and find the right trail. The confusion is ostensibly used to keep everyone together, so no one finishes in 20 minutes and the rest finish in one hour.

I started off surprisingly well, and then came to a horrible hill, where I soon got winded. I was gasping and wheezing up the hill, but absolutely determined not to complain or whine, and then I looked to my right and saw a gorgeous view of the neighborhood and sea below. So that was definitely worth it.

And the people I ran with seemed pretty nice as well. Because of one of the runner's generous nature, I escaped pounding a beer from my bright white tennis shoe. He was the only one who noticed I had them on. And yes, I said he. Men can join, provided they make up no more than 20 percent of the club.

In regards to my sneakers, I'm seriously thinking that between now and then, I'm thinking of just wearing my tennis shoes so I can gray them up. I did have to down a beer in one go as it was my first ever run with the club. That was fun, too, even if it was a Fosters.

And then last night I did a Pilates class and went to trivia night again. I think we did about the same as usual as we had been in the past, maybe 4th or 5th place, but it just seemed we did worse as the group I was in last night wasn't as competitive as the one I had been playing with. Still, it was a pretty good time.

Tonight I have the option of meeting a friend for dinner, but I'm going to pass. I feel a bit bad about it, but I'm just really tired and need at least one night in.

Monday, August 15, 2005

How's This For Impulse?!

I bought Self Magazine yesterday. I love that magazine cause it promotes a healthy lifestyle without being too...condemning...too hardcore (and you know you're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore!! I digress...) and it doesn't just focus on your body's health, but your mental well-being as well. I read that magazine regularly, and as corny as it sounds, I sometimes feel I have just had a good chat with a good friend of mine after reading it.

So, I saw this weight training thing promising that you'd get results fairly quick if you did these exercises regularly (and here is where I wish that magazine with the good friend vibe to it could also kick me in the ass like a good friend should if I've put my mind to exercising and then decide the only marathon I am doing is the CSI one showing on Sunday afternoons.

Anyways, I bought a pair of 3 pounder weights. They're cool. They're purple and squishy on the outside. Would still probably hurt like a mother if you dropped one on your foot. True to form, I started doing the exercises, and then my friend shortly thereafter pinged me on IM and I forgot all about my workout. But we had a great chat, so it was just like reading an entirely new Self magazine, so no harm there!

And I've just subscribed to Self as well. I'll get it for a year now, sent to Hong Kong, so I hope I don't lose my job anytime soon.

I guess I'm just feeling like I have been too much of a slug lately. I am still feeling the Pilates I did yesterday in my lower abs, so I am taking that as a really good sign, and hope to do another set very soon.

Tomorrow I am planning on joining some sort of running club, but as that is in the New Territories...somewhere by the ocean, I am not entirely sure I'll be able to meet the group in time. We shall see.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Finally Went to the Gym!

I tried Pilates for the first time today.


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One of the positions you use in a Pilates exercise. This is a favorite one of mine, as is the one where you lie on your back, grip your ankles and rock back and forth on your back and tailbone. It's fun!

Joseph Pilates, a former boxer and circus performer developed these exercises as a way for bed-ridden soldiers to stay strong while recuperating. Pilates is a form of muscle conditioning where the person uses controlled body movements to tone the muscles in their abdomen, butt and back. It's kind of like yoga, with repetitive movements.

The best thing about it is you use no weights and are using your own body weight as resistance. I'm not going to become Iron Woman by doing Pilates, but I have heard that I may be able to improve my posture, flexibility, and become more coordinated (heh heh) and even possibly look taller (probably going back to the posture thing again) by doing this regularly. I certainly am feeling something in my back now.

I'll have to see when the next one is, cause this might be something worthwhile to keep up with.

Saturday Night Recap

Had another great evening out. Wound up playing a bit of amateur anthropologist, as was spending a lot of the evening with one couple, and two people who know they should be a couple, dammit (Cough cough)!

Yes, I know you read this!) ;)

My two new coworkers are a couple from Australia, and we shared a cab home as we all live close by. On the way to the taxi, the guy and I were making dumb jokes and pretending to be mock hurt with each other over our dumb insults to each other. My favorite of his: "You know, Kate, every month, I have a "Death-Metal Barbie," and I've just decided, you're not invited." His girlfriend started laughing at the absurdity of his remark, but then laughed harder when I made mention of him being alone in his treehouse and then with a dramatic pause, telling him to shut up. I really like them. I can really appreciate the guy's absurdity. In any case they are good together and good on their own as well.

It's great seeing a relationship work, but probably better to be in one that does.

And I think with the help of another friend, have decided I want to have my birthday on a junk ship. Whoo-hoo!

Friday, August 12, 2005

First Day of School! First Day of School!

Long title: "What a Difference a Few Weeks and a Change of Scenery Make!"

I'm hoping I won't have to eat my words anytime soon (like this whole year), but I think I'm going to have a good working relationship with almost everyone I work with, and the mood just seems different there. I'm sure *my* mood is different there! I know I am a lot happier.

I'm a bit nervous for what will happen when I have to work at my old school (an afternoon class) and work at kindy, cause that already involves a lot of workbook prepping, teaching and correcting, and maintaining 2 different corners in the classroom (English and Math) and prepping song or chant boards for the bulletin boards, and doing everything twice as I have two classes.

But I feel I have support at this new school and I can talk to my head teacher and my coteacher wants to work well with me and help me out. That just makes everything better already 1000 percent.

And I have a few children in my class who already impress me with how well they know English, and little girl, though she doesn't know much English at all, has already won the "I want to smuggle you home in my suitcase" award for just being so damn cute. She prattled on to me, wholly in Chinese this morning, gave *me* a sticker, and everytime she saw me, her face just lit up into this absolutely gorgeous grin.

I really hope this year is better than the last six months. It'll be a lot of work, lots more I think than last year, but I have a good feeling about this.

Stay tuned in the next few days as I will soon be attending an apartment painting party. It will be a lot more fun than it sounds for sure, and if nothing happens to my camera (i.e. gets paint in it) I might just even have pictures later.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mini Movie Reviews

Napoleon Dynamite: I heard quite the buzz about this movie, even living all the way over here. It's made by and stars a few people who went to Brigham Young University, but this movie is more fun than you would expect coming from a bunch of Mormons.

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I liked the movie, even though I think in the end it was trying too hard to be too weird and quirky, the weirdness and quirkyness was pretty cool. It's a movie about a bunch of outcasts and nerds for various reasons just existing in their element in high school. Napoleon likes to draw mythical creatures, says he has "skills" with nunchucks, and learns some pretty out there dance moves to help his friend win a school election. I liked the movie cause I know I went to school with that guy!

I think others might get put off easily with the overall weirdness of the movie, and might prefer something more straightforward like...

The Island. I saw this over the weekend. I figured though it was directed by Michael Bay (responsible for Pearl Harbor and head disciple for all things Jerry Bruckheimer) it had Ewan McGregor in it, so it'd be tolerable at the very least. The plot was really interesting and compelling, especially for this day and age. They even made mention of how they started to program memories and feelings into the organ carriers as it just didn't seem to work as well when they used people who had no memories or feelings on a day by day basis. I could almost imagine how they originally started with stem-cell research and just modified it regularly until they got to where they are in the movie, only 14 years into the future.

The dialogue was pretty funny in some areas as Scarlett Johannsen's and Ewan McGregor's characters look like adults but, as they've been sheltered for so long, have the minds, curiosity and experiences of children.

Unintentionally funny was the last part of the movie, where true to form, Michael Bay decided to blow everything up in sight, finding new heights of ridiculousness that he'll undoubtedly try to top for his next movie.

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In this pic, they're falling from some sort of bridge that got destroyed all to hell, going to wind up on the logo of the building, when that gets shot to hell, they'll plummet for a long ways until they wind up safe entangled in some kind of net. Sheesh.

But it's a summer flick, and you can't really ask for anything too deep or meaningful in this time of year.

I also rented Garden State, after hearing so much about it. Interesting premise, but really slow moving and I just couldn't get into it as much as I would have liked.

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I did like this visual joke though.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Starting the Year on the Wrong Foot

I had my first day of work for the new school year at a new site today. I'm really excited about my "new" job; my coteacher seems to be really great and the curriculum I'm going to teach seems an awful lot like the stuff I got used to teaching in Korea.

The only thing, though, is that this afternoon, I was asked to hang up some hallway decorations on the ceiling, and I was almost finished with them all and thinking about going home and then going to the gym or taking a nice long power walk along the bay, when I lost my balance on the chair I was standing on and fell. I went one way and my foot went the other. I went to the doctor, and he said it appears I didn't break anything, but it still hurts like hell. I'm waiting for the painkillers to kick in. (Please disregard any blog entries I might make in the near future tonight. )

So I'm feeling a bit cranky about the whole thing, and I might, as a precaution, take tomorrow off from work.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A Change of Gears

In relation to this post, has anyone ever tried to fix something, only to shy away, feeling they may instead open up one hell of a Pandora's Box, and think they could never get better, but feel like by dredging up all the painful crap, they could sure as hell become a lot worse?

I'm reading a book now, and I'm afraid at the end of it and by doing the things it asks of me, that I'll feel like the world's biggest psychopathic asshole.

I'm scared. It's like flushing the toilet only to discover what you've done is create a black hole in your house.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Picture Time!

Obviously not all of Malaysia!

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The "crest" in the Khoo Association House.

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My dinner one night. Mee something or other (blush!) It's rice noodles fried up with shrimp, egg, bean sprouts and spicy sauce. Very greasy but very good! And served on a banana leaf! (And for those of you who know me personally -- relax! Those aren't my cigs!)

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One of the many many many mosques in Penang.

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Where I stayed in Penang. The woman who runs this place is very kind and friendly. I meant to take a picture of her and her son but...

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I only managed to take one of the dog there instead. (Double blush!)

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Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown district. Now, do you see all the racks in the middle of the street? They were filled with things like (cough cough) copied DVDs and perfumes and shoes. Thing is, they are not supposed to be there. When I was walking down the street, maybe around 3 or so in the afternoon, word got out that there was a police officer in the vicinity. I never saw people push their racks into alleyways so fast! It was a bit scary, to say the least, to be caught up in the middle of it all! I ducked into a nearby McDonald's to escape what was becoming a literal crush there. Half an hour later, the racks were all put back out, and it was business as usual. I took this picture mainly to get a shot of the Malaysian flag.

M is For Malaysia.

And for Motorbike -- about a billion seem to exist on the streets of Penang.

And for Murtabak -- a kind of egg type pancake with chicken or some other kind of meat in it. Pretty tasty.

And for Muslim -- you know you're not anywhere near your home anymore the minute you get out of the plane and see the health clinic sign in the airport is designated with not a red cross sign but a red crescent.

Malaysia is probably going to be the only country heavily influenced by Islamic teachings that I will visit in my lifetime. It was a real interesting experience, to be surrounded by women wearing head scarves and to be in a place where there seemed to be a mosque on every street corner. Some of the mosques were quite beautiful on the outside. I would have liked to have gone inside a few as well, but was afraid someone would take my request as treating a mosque like it was Disneyland. Probably not a very good idea, really.

Also in the same vein, I have never seen somany women dressed in these Big Black Burqas before. (From here, knows as a BBB.) Malaysia apparently is very very popular at this time of the year for people who live in the Middle East. It's definitely a much cooler place, to be sure! I'm not at all trying to make a political point here, if that is what they choose to believe in then, all the power to them. Still, it was really hot in Malaysia when I was there (and it didn't rain heavily at all, thank God.) and my only thought whenever I saw a woman in one of those coverups was, "My God you must be really hot wearing that!" I felt bad for them for only that reason.

I also have to admit when I was in Starbucks one day there a Muslim couple was sitting at the table next to me, and I couldn't help wondering how the woman was going to drink her coffee -- was she going to use a straw? Was she going to put the coffee under her veil? Apparently that is what she did, but I think she made sure she stayed covered up on her husband's side.

Islam came to the country centuries ago, but it was not the product of any won holy war. The government allows women who practice Islam the freedom to choose whether to wear a head scarf or not.

Apparently Malaysia is this great melting pot culture. It's really something to see this great mix f people, even more pronounced than what I saw in Singapore, certainly more pronounced than here in Hong Kong. The Malaysians are well known for knowing a number of different languages (usually being fluent in Chinese, Malay and English, at least, not taking into account the different Chinese and Indian dialects that exist as well.)

Ali, the limousine taxi driver who picked me up from the airport, seemed especially proud of his country for being a very welcoming country, home to many different kinds of people. He also proceeded to talk my ear off about Malaysia's many accomplishments and their strong resources in rubber and palm oil. I really enjoyed talking to him.

All of the Malaysians I met were really open, warm and friendly. The ladies who ran the hostel I first stayed in were very helpful and good to hang out with. They let me have my first taste of durian fruit as well.

Now, durian is a fruit, but it is so far removed from anything anyone would ever think of when they hear the word fruit. This ain't no strawberry! One of the women who was staying there said it reminded her of a cross between a banana and a potato. I think that is true about the consistency of the fruit, but as for taste, it's very strong and sharp. It's garlicky, but has an alcoholic aftertaste, and there is also something very spicy about it, like anise seed or fennel or something. So I guess if you ate garlic mashed potatoes (more garlic than potato) and then chased that with a shot of sambuca, that is probably as close as you would get to having durian.

Penang was also nice to stay at, though a bit more quiet, obviously. One of the things I saw that really impressed me is called the "Khoo Association House," a kind of house for the Khoo clan of Penang. It's where they go to meet up with each other and strengthen their family bond.

This house was built in the 1800s, and the people building it just went all out. It dwarfed every past congsi (association house) built before it. And on the night it was finally completed, the roof caught fire. The Khoos then took that to mean the ancestors weren't too happy with the grand scale and thought that they should scale back their idea a bit. Still, even after all that, the place is mother-huge, and on the way to the Khoo Congsi, you have to pass by the Yap Congsi, which looks like a kiddie clubhouse in comparison.

And (before I forget) M is also for mosquito. I didn't technically come home with any souvenirs, but sure have a whole mess of bug bites on my legs from staying in the hostel in Penang.

I'm going to end this here but may make a Malaysia Part Two entry as I feel I still have a lot to say. And once I reformat the pictures I took, I will add those in here also.

I'm Back, Babies!

I just wanted to let you who read this that I am safe and sound and on the ground now from flying from Malaysia. Pictures may be a problem as my digital camera crapped out on me the very first day I was there. We'll see what the disposable ones are made of, figuratively speaking of course. Literally, they're just undeveloped film, and plastic and metal parts in a cardboard package.

Malaysia was a really interesting experience. I really felt like I was in a different part of the world entirely from Hong Kong. I'll explain that later as for now, I really must go to bed.

See you tomorrow.