Sitting on the train on my way back home. It's only 930 pm (at the time of beginning this), but it feels like midnight. I actually got up early and was going to head to the Kingdom Hall in Shau Kei Wan for service in Mandarin, but didn't know if I'd get there only to find they met somewhere else. Long story short, I made some calls, and those people made some calls, etc until I finally cought up with someone in Aberdeen Mandarin and decided to meet them around 130ish. I was out in English with the French brother in Tung Chung and we met a guy from Salt Lake whose great aunt was in the truth. He said his family was always very mean to her because of it, so he always makes a donation when he meets the witnesses. He did, and took a Bible Teach book and the Truth tract.
After that, we caught up with some folks in the English congregation for lunch. About 4 Filipino sisters, and then I had to meet in HK with Mandarin. Their preaching work is at a ferry station where many of the mainland Chinese come to when they arrive at HK. I spoke to a man and placed a number of brochures and mags. He was very very nice. Afterward, we closed up our little booth and took the bus to Aberdeen. Dropped our things off at the hall and went to grab a bowl of soup before the meeting at 5 pm. Public Talk, Watchtower, and had a chance to meet most everyone in the group. Wonderful congregation. I loved it, but it's almost as inconvenient to where I'm living as anywhere in HK, but I got the word out that I'm looking for work and a flat, and people talked ab things they've heard ab that are available. So we'll see. I thought a bunch of them were going to go to hospitality w me and a few others (including the brother I spoke with at Bethel yesterday. He attends that congregation). As it turns out, they had to leave, but I ended up meeting a lot of people, and at a few points I forgot what language we were speaking. I'm understanding a bit of Cantonese, and fool myself into thinking I inderstand other parts of it, but one sister today insisted on speaking in Cantonese. Dunno if she wasn't aware she was switching languages, but I did as best I could to keep up, and hardly spoke any English today. It made me very tired. I'm still like 30 mins or more from being home. I have quite a walk from the MTR and am really hoping this job works out next week. It'd be awesome.
Some awesome shirts I've seen:
-"naughty a flavor it is lovely"
- "one... Five... Two... GO!!!"
-"I am despicable"

Wish I could remember more.


I live in Hong Kong

... my first legitimate post, seeing as I live in Hong Kong now... I am actually here. More to come later. There are language barriers everywhere, even with the brother I'm staying with, who is French. From what I gather (from speaking in person a number of times about it) we're having people over for dinner, so I won't be able to discuss a ton at length, but I certainly will tonight. We went to the market near the house and bought all kinds of fish and fruit and vegetables and I got to barter in Cantonese with the people. It was nice.
Maybe I will... my flight got in this morning at 7:30 am HK time (thursday) and it's now going on 1900 thursday evening. Upon arriving in HK, I had just finished about 25 hours worth of travel after being up and packing frantically all day Tuesday (my blood still runs cold at the panic that ensued despite my preparation).
However, after schlepping probably 180 pounds of luggage thru the airport, to the bus stop, onto and off of the bus and then a twenty minute walk to his apartment, then up three flights of stairs. After that, I washed my hair and face and was given a one-hour run down of basically everything, but in about five minutes: "Here's your key. Here are the air conditioners; these doors stay open to keep the wine cool, these stay closed; you head down this way and then left for a while, pass the whatever and that gets you to the bus station to get to the Subway, where you'll get off here and take..." and so on thru everything from banking to cell phones to wifi to unpacking. And then roommate was gone for work. I unpacked a bit, arranged things and decided to head into HK and do stuff. Got everything together into a small backpack I brought (satchel, perhaps), filled with Cantonese phrasebook, pad of paper, my address, American and HK cell phone, etc etc and headed to the bank. I had walked probably ten minutes before realizing I forgot my passport, which I obviously needed at the bank. Long story short, I eventually got into town with the help of a few very nice people with whom I was able to speak about directions in Cantonese (!), and when I decided to get off the subway a few stops early to walk the rest of the way, one of them said "No! No! This isn't your stop." I almost wanted to sit back down, but told her I wanted to stop here. Checked out a market I would later return to and finally found HSBC. Took a half hour; filled out some forms, they made copies of my passport and got some other info and I made a deposit and got a debit card! Sha-zam. Oh, and roomie got me a prepaid SIM card, so I put it in the spare phone I got today and was ready to go. I also have a subway card. I covered A LOT of ground today and just walked around and took the metro places.
Company has arrived and I'm sipping on an aperitif. The advantages of a French roommate.... more later.


It's almost time

I've been so ridiculously busy the past... two or three weeks. Almost every single night for like... the past month I've been doing things with people before I leave. I'd been in the same congregation for almost 18 years and in my current one for about two, and making plans to catch up and say goodbye in the same evening, not to mention visiting family out of town and making preparations and arrangements for leaving has left me with an elusive cough (that rears its ugly head in the middle of certain paragraphs at the WT reading) and an almost nonexistent voice.
I've got congestion issues and some here-and-there coughing and stuff that's only really bad in the mornings after I've been horizontal for hours. It'd be nice to say I'm taking it easy these next few days before I leave, but tomorrow's going to be another busy day. Service with the family and then errands before I finally come home to chill. Not much of anything constructive (as far as errands, per se) will be happening Tuesday before my departure, but I NEED TO REST. I suppose the 21 hours I'll be spending on a plane could be used for that....


Four days

I'm leaving in four days. I have two bags to check, one to carry-on, and then my backpack (for my computer, HDD, etc). The next four days are going to blow by because I've already got almost every minute of all of them planned out. Leaving to go see extended family tomorrow a few hours outside Atlanta, spend the night there, drive home Sunday just in time for my (last) meeting where I'm reading the WT, then to a couple's house for dinner with my family. Monday Dad wants to do service with us as a family and stuff with them all day. Tuesday I finish everything up and leave for the airport sometime mid afternoon. That's it.
That being said, I pretty much know what I will and will not be wearing over the next four days, and am hence able to start packing. Of the two large backs (to be checked) one is quite a bit smaller than the other, but neither can exceed 50 lbs. SOO I started packing up the heavier things in the small one today: books, shoes, extra toiletries, jackets, etc. I weighed it once (it felt SO heavy), but I still had around 13 more pounds free in it, so I stuffed some more in there. That bag can take more (heavier) stuff since the bag itself weighs less. The larger bag can't take as much weight because it weighs more, so I saved all the T-shirts, sweaters, socks, and lighter wear for it. We'll see what I can pack in there, and everything else (changes of clothes, reading material, COMPUTER, will go in my carry on and backpack.
It's really coming down to it. Four days. I'm starting to realize this is the last of everything (at least for a long time): last time to see this person, last time I'll go here or drive by there or do this... even things like going to the gas station and filling up... probably won't do that again. Going to the bank, walmart, it's all winding down and finishing up...


I can't pack yet!!!

I want to pack. I want to have everything squared away and done.
However, as close as my departure is, I still have eleven days. That's eleven days of service clothes, suits for the meeting, casual clothes, bum-around-the-house clothes, sleep clothes, jackets, etc etc.
I'm cleaning at this point, I suppose. I've got a lot more books that I want to bring than I thought (old notebooks, notes, Chinese books, etc) and I've decided to bring a larger carry-on in addition to my backpack (which will then be masquerading as only my "computer bag"), so I'll be able to distribute the weight a lot easier.
I have a lot of errands to run lately, and I feel like for every one or two items I mark off of my to-do list, I add two or three more. And some of them are just stupidly small things I need to do. I need to go get my watchband fixed today. And get a haircut. But then I also need to clean my entire room from top to bottom, reorganize the office and clear out my car before I sell it.
We accumulate a lot of stuff... and, in a similar vein with a conversation I was having with someone last night, it just gets moved around. Even thrown away, it's just moved from one place to another. I've moved many of my things out of my room to another part of the house, given them to my brother (clothes) or to someone else, and the rest of my stuff I'm just setting aside neatly in my closet. Much of it I have thrown away, but that really was just crap, stuff I'd held onto for ages, and it was the right time to get rid of it, but I have ~hundreds~ of books in stacks and shelves and cases in my room, and I'm bringing precious few with me, and with some small exception, they aren't things I'll give away (or even lend) and certainly not throw away. So they're staying. It's nice that up till this point I've still lived with my parents and everything I'm not taking with me can still live here.
That being said, my laundry is almost dry, which means it's time to leave the house and go run errands. I think. There's a few books I've been wanting to read, and if I were a terrible person I'd check them out at the library and abscond with them, but I suppose I will go get pillaged at B&N or somesuch... we'll see.


My luggage needs to go on a diet

In the interest of preserving my own dignity, I shall not disclose the extent to which I prepared to pack today. Suffice it to say I wrote down every item of clothing I own and now know such things as the weight of my entire wardrobe (divided by category), the average weights of bundles of specific garments, and that it takes about twenty wire hangers to weigh a pound.
I shan't blather on about details, but without toiletries, books and other knick-knacky-non-clothing items accounted for yet, my luggage needs to lose about ten pounds...


Trial Pack 2009

It has begun.

A friend of mine told me that I always call her during my trial pack ritual, and the three phone calls go something like this
1. I'm going somewhere and am very excited and can bring all sorts of everything I own
3. I made it fit.

Trial pack has been an annual event, as I've taken significant trips for the past two years. This is my third.

TP'09: For each of the trips I've taken, I've wanted to get an idea of how much I can bring with me. I'm not a great packer, and if i pack in a hurry, even just for a three or four day trip, I find myself having arrived with nothing more than a t shirt and a pair of socks OR six pairs of pants, 8 pairs of shoes, a jacket, three ties, 80 shirts and no socks or wallet. It's one or the other.
SO, especially seeing as I won't be coming BACK within a few weeks' time, I want to get an idea of what I can feasibly bring. The clothes are going into stacks next to my suitcase on the floor (who am I kidding, they're folded up in the suitcase like i'm not leaving for three more weeks), and rather like an episode of American Idol, I decide whether or not they qualify to make it in. After the first round of eliminations, only some clothes I didn't realize were in line got the cut... this process will go on until my departure, at which point I will weigh the bags and hope they're not fifty pounds over my fifty pound limit. So, my wardrobe (and everything else I own) is now campaigning to be taken with me to the new land, to have a shot at the big time...
and ugly huge red long sleeve shirt that has holes in it cuz it was really thin to begin with... I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to turn you down...


I need a new name

My blog needs a new name... I don't know.

I also made pizza (three pizzas) last night for seven people. It was a last minute thing at my house and I got to cooking around 6. I roasted some garlic until it was all soft and buttery and spread it on ciabbata bread. Then I made a typical margherita pizza (ricotta, basil and tomatoes), a pepperoni (for the carnivores) and a third with roasted onions and peppers, feta and spinach. I had roasted the veggies ahead of time and was worried it would all be a little soggy on the dough, but it came out really well. I took some cool pictures of the pre-pizza work, but completely forgot to snap the finished products... A friend brought a Hefeweizen and some Guinness, and we watched Psycho.
Dinner/Movie nights are awesome.