Sunday, December 4, 2011

Plans for next month, Keith's Visit and Lingnan Soccer

The last week of classes before finals is approaching at Lingnan University. I am stressed about the last few assignments due, but in anticipation of the future. It's crazy to think that in one months time I will be flying back to Hong Kong from Bangkok. During that month, I have a lot planned. In 4 days(!), I will travel to Beijing with friends, there are 11 of us total. I'm really excited for this because it will be the last big group trip we take before we go our separate ways, plus I'm curious to see what Beijing has to offer and what  Mainland China is like compared to Hong Kong.

After that, I'll be preparing for and completing final exams. On the December 22nd, 3 days after my last exam, I will fly to Singapore with a couple of friends, and from there we will travel north through Malaysia and Thailand, celebrating Christmas and New Years on the way. (It's no wonder I'm having trouble concentrating on writing a paper about history of the Chao Phraya river in Thailand while I'm in the middle planning a trip to this country)

As I said, we will end up in Bangkok where I will fly back to Hong Kong on January 3rd, and fly to Detroit on the 5th. That gives me 5 days to move back to Mount Pleasant and be ready to start classes on January 10th, that is crazy! This month is going to fly by. I need to manage my time so that I can get everything done and still have time to slow down and appreciate what little time I have left on this side of the planet.

Since my last entry, a lot has happened. For one, my boyfriend, Keith, came to visit on short notice! He stayed for 8 days, Thanksgiving included. I gave him the whirlwind tour of Hong Kong, showing him around to places I've been.  We went to Gold Coast Beach, we hiked the mountains behind Lingnan, we explored the night markets, Lan Kwai Fong, Avenue of the Stars, rode the Star Ferry and saw the Big Buddha. We also did things that were new for both of us. We dined in the Felix restaurant, located on the top of the Peninsula hotel, which is famous for it's view of Victoria Harbor. We also saw a few live bands, and went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which was a nice informative cultural activity. It was refreshing and strange at the same time to have a part of home here with me in Hong Kong. We had a good time, and it's made me look forward to coming home to the people I love, even with the excitement I'm leaving behind.

The last thing I've been meaning to talk about is my soccer team! I haven't mentioned this since a very early post, but I've been practicing and playing with the Lingnan Women's soccer team all semester. We are not very good, but I've definitely enjoyed playing again. There is only one other exchange student on the team, so being on the team has been a good opportunity to hang out with a group of local Hong Kong students. The coach and I can't talk directly because of the language barrier, but through translation and all the team talks I feel like I got to know her regardless. Anyway, we had our last official game of the Fall semester last weekend (which Keith was able to attend) and I will miss it, so here is part of our photo shoot after the last game! Now I will get back to writing that paper.. :)

^ (Lingnan vs City University & some team bonding)  v

Coach Missy & I

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Life in Hong Kong has seemed to calm down lately for me. The newness of everything is fading, and I feel that I really know this city and most of what it has to offer. It's bittersweet to think that the semester is more than halfway over, and that I'll be returning to Michigan in early January. The stress of mid-semester will end for me today, when I give my final presentation, leaving me with only a few more assignments to do before final exams. Many of the exchange students have been traveling during the past couple weeks, and their absence also contributes to the relaxed atmosphere here at Lingnan. A couple of friends, Christen from West Virginia and Lea from Paris, and I will be traveling to Singapore after exams, and from there traveling north through Kuala Lumpar and spending the holidays in Thailand. We will book the flight this week, I'm really looking forward to finalizing our trip! We will meet up with other exchange students from Lingnan in Thailand for New Years for our last hoo rah. It's strange that I probably won't see most of these people ever again, but I'll never forget them. I'm just grateful to have met so many people coming from all over the world, and to have shared our time and cultures with each other here in Hong Kong.

There are a lot of things I have learned and done in Hong Kong so far that I am proud of, and hopefully more to come. For example, I can use chopsticks! Sometimes, servers will see that I am a foreigner and ask if I would like a fork, and I always feel good saying no, I would like chopsticks. I can effortlessly navigate the MTR, the train system and main mode of transportation in Hong Kong. I've improved my bargaining skills at night markets. I've tried so many new foods, some good and some bad, but an experience nonetheless. The thing that has been my heart while I've been here is exploring and navigating the undeveloped mountains of Hong Kong. It's been my escape from the dense and at times overwhelming city, and alone or with friends, it never fails to make me feel good and re-centered. Overall, I am glad to have a sense of orientation in this city, when in the beginning I somewhat doubted that I'd ever learn how to get around.

For the rest of the semester, I would like to learn more about the culture of Hong Kong, especially relating to my field of study, Psychology and Substance Abuse and Intervention. Healthcare and medicine in Hong Kong is also a topic that greatly interests me. There is a great contrast between the western and eastern world regarding these topics, and it's one of the reasons I wanted to travel here. I will update with my findings later.

Picture Time!

 At the Peak, the most famous lookout in Hong Kong

 A local family invited us to join them at their barbecue :)

 Hike around the reservoir near Lingnan

 Monkey Mountain Hike with the girls, we easily saw around 50 wild monkeys during this trip

 Monkeyin' around

 A non-ripe banana

 Still acting like monkeys...

 This photo was taken during international day, where students represented their countries with food, games and performances. Here we are showing our love for our Turkish friend :) Photo's of the American booth to come ;)

Hong Kong Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011


It's midterm time and I have been really busy and a little stressed out lately. At CMU, I would say that grades for most classes typically depend on more than just a midterm and final exam, but that's not the case at Lingnan. Almost all of my classes here are based only on presentation, midterm and final exam grades. On one hand, there is less work to do throughout the semester, but on the other hand midterm and final exam times are very stressful. Just last week I had a presentation, midterm, and paper to turn in, and next week I have two midterms and one group project to complete. I don't doubt that I am capable, but change is a little difficult to adjust to. Had I known it would be so different, I think I would've applied for the credit/no credit option as opposed to having the grades calculated into my G.P.A, just to be safe.

On the bright side, it's almost Halloween! There are decorations everywhere and it reminds me of home, except for that the weather is still suitable for the beach. I would not have expected people in Hong Kong to celebrate Halloween, but I am really looking forward to it.

Even though I have been working really hard these past few weeks, I have still been playing hard too. I really love Hong Kong!

 Taking a break
 Hiking above the skyscrapers of Hong Kong
 Cool panoramic photo on the Wilson Trail
 Sunset after a day at Gold Coast Beach, just 20 minutes from Lingnan University
 Working hard on a group project :)
 Japanese photo booth
 Representing CMU at the Student Exchange Fair!
Surprise birthday party for Anna on a boat!
 Trying my hand at bouldering!

Happy Valley horse races

Monday, October 10, 2011


Last weekend 6 friends and myself traveled to the Philippines! It was better then I could've imagined. We went to Puerto Galera, which is on an island just south of the main island. I think we took about every form of transportation that exists to get there, bus, train, plane, taxi, boat and last but not least tricycle. We stayed in Small La Laguna, just down the beach from Sabang, for the first 2 nights. We had 2 rooms  connected by a porch over looking the ocean. We even had a kitchen! We don't have any way of cooking for ourselves in the dorms at Lingnan, so this was a treat. I will never forget the home cooked dinners and breakfasts we had together in the Philippines.

For our third night, we migrated to White Beach, just a short boat ride away. White beach is famous for it's big waves and it's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. We got there fairly late in the day, went for a swim and got massages right on the beach for only 200 pesos (about 4 or 5 USD). That night we went out for Filipino food and dancing on the beach.

Being that we weren't staying in a resort, we really learned a lot about the Filipino people and their culture. They speak a language that is similar to Spanish, so I could pick up words here and there. Their English is also very good, even better than the general population's English in Hong Kong in my opinion. We became close with one local in particular, Miko, who was our tricycle driver the first day. He took us around all weekend, to Tamaraw Falls, scenic overlooks and lastly to a private beach. Now I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or not... but his entire family was having a barbecue at the same private beach. He invited us over and they welcomed us with open arms and food! I have to say this was probably my favorite part of the trip because it reminded me of my own family and our get togethers. They were so friendly and fun! Had we booked a package deal resort vacation ahead of time, we could've never had this experience.

On the ride back to the airport, we saw the effects of the recent devastating typhoon in the daylight. Near Manila and Clark many houses were half underwater, and people picking up the mess. It was very humbling for me, I felt too fortunate to be on my way to the airport while all of those people's homes were destroyed. The typhoon had not effected the south, where we stayed, at all.

All in all, this amazing vacation only cost about 250 USD! Yeah. I'll remember this trip for the rest of my life.

 Classes were cancelled on the day of our departure due to a typhoon warning... uh ohhhh!

Catching up on sleep after traveling all night 

 Arriving in the beautiful Puerto Galera

Our home away from home

 The view from our porch!

Big La Laguna 

Riding on top of the Jeepney 

 Tamaraw Falls

Miko's Tricycle 

Family meals on the porch 

 Leap of faith

Filipino family gathering :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beach Camping

I have been told that Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world, I think it really is true. Over the weekend I went camping with a group of friends. After a long day of traveling to our destination, I left my purse on the bus, which contained my phone, camera, credit card, cash and forms of identification. There was little I could do about it at that point, so I tried to put it out of my mind, but I really was devastated. The next day I struggled to communicate through broken English with the bus driver. With help I was able to find the office where my purse could have possibly turned in, although I had no real hopes of actually finding it. To my absolute shock, my purse was there! There was nothing missing! Words cannot explain how happy I was. So, this post is dedicated to the honesty and integrity of the people and Hong Kong and to being more careful in the future. I am so lucky :)

By the way, although I didn't have my camera at the time to document it, we had a great night camping. We had a fire in the sand and went swimming in the ocean. There were about 12 of us and we had the whole beach to ourselves. Picture perfect!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Other Adventures

Free Climbing at Shek O Beach

Lamma Island Fishing Village

Unrelated, if you would like to know more about Hong Kong birthday traditions, youtube "happy corner"

Friday, September 9, 2011


So it's Friday, which means the end of my first week of classes at Lingnan! The classes I'm taking are called "Creative and Individual Differences", "Cantonese for International Students", "Exploring Psychology in Western and Chinese Cultures", "South East Asia History" and "Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications". I'm getting more familiar with the school's website, and "Moodle", which is equivalent to Blackboard at CMU. I really like my classes. All but one of my classes contain less than 15 people, and most of the professors make it interactive. For example, in my advertising course, the teacher hands out a card to students every time they answer a question correctly and they count towards a participation grade. It's turned into a competition between groups to see who can collect the most of them which keeps it interesting.

There are also some cultural differences in the class room between the local and exchange students. Most of the time the local students are very hesitant to participate in class or interact with teacher, so exchange students will sometimes get singled out during discussions. I'm also very impressed with the local students because of the fact that they are learning in English, which is not their first language. Overall I'm really happy with my class schedule!