Culture Shock on Vacation

Hi everyone!

I am currently in Shenzhen, China and to say the least, I miss home!  From the moment I was in line to get through custom, I experienced quite the culture shock.  As I am getting pushed from behind by an old lady while standing in line to get my passport and visa checked, I realize that I was about to experience something new. 

At first I was thinking, “wow, how rude!”  But then I soon realized that this was normal for everyone.  They weren’t being rude or impatient, it’s just that their pace of life was quicker than what I am used to.  It’s not only how they are right up behind you breathing down your neck as you stood in line, but also how fast they walked, how ridiculously reckless they drove, and quite simply, they cut in line!

 

 They are more concerned with getting to point B then HOW they got there.  I definitely had to take a step back before I realized that I shouldn’t take any offense.

 

Don’t get me wrong… once they got to point B, they are quite similar to what I am used to.  Kids playing in the park, old men reading the newspaper underneath the trees, women picking fruit from a local vendor… everyday tasks were, well… normal.  

 

I had the absolute honor of experiencing a local bbq with one of my friend’s cousin and his coworkers and friends.  Not only were they friendly, they were hospitable (my plate was never empty), and were curious to learn from me as much as I did from them.  As I practiced my Chinese, so did they with their English. We played games and just sat back and talked.  The hours flew by and before I knew it… it was time for me to go back to my hotel. 

Despite the differences in culture, there were many commonalities that allowed me and the locals to bond.  Our respect and curiosity for one another, in addition to the emphasis of hospitality and kindness provided me and my new friends a common platform to join together and interact seamlessly without effort.

Being in this environment definitely made me appreciate home and my family.  I miss them so much and I can’t wait to come back to Los Angeles and share with them all the stories from my experiences thus far.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Please, take a step back and appreciate all that is around you… especially your family.

 

I will post pictures soon but I wanted to get this out to everyone before I went to bed.

 

love,

 

auntie k

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bits and pieces of Hong Kong

Hello Everyone!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you guys!  I’m updating my first post about Hong Kong with lots of eye candy.  Life here is, simply stated, DIFFERENT.

First off, I left sunny So Cal and was unfortunately greeted with rain, gloom, and humidity.  But don’t let the weather fool you, it is quite hot… around 80 degrees.

Most people take advantage of the wonderful public transportation system in Hong Kong. You will never see the freeways this empty during rush hour in Los Angeles.

The subway system is amazing! It is easy, affordable, and efficient. Everyone from young kids to senior citizens, professionals to students, take advantage of the subway.  I wish Los Angeles had a better metro system =( But keep in mind, with less people driving their own cars, there is more walking.  Much more than in Los Angeles where people drive door to door and park as close as they can to wherever the destination is!

The most prominent thing about Hong Kong is that it is very dense.  It is actually the 4th most densely populated country in the world, behind Macau, Monaco, and Singapore.  United States, ranked 174th, is not so much.

However with these differences, there are some things that remain the same.  One is that people love to shop on the weekends.


Another, is having a warm cup of Starbucks coffee to start the day =)

These were just a few observations I had since arriving in Hong Kong yesterday.  Tomorrow I am off to China!  I am very excited but at the same time, very tired.  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Please stay tuned as I will update you with my travels as frequently as I can.

love,

auntie k

auntie k goes global!

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Hi Everyone,

So this past week I’ve been really busy preparing for my mini vacation to Hong Kong and China. But just because I’m overseas doesn’t mean you’ll be neglected. =) I have my camera in hand, laptop in bag, eyes wide open, and Pluto on my mind.

My goal is to try to document my travels and experiences, but hey, if I get in vacation mode, who knows what I’ll talk about!

I will try my best to keep you all updated the best I can… And if I see anything worth talking about, I will definitely be writing about it.

Stay tuned my friends. I miss you already.

love,
auntie k

True Confessions of Expecting Parents

Hello Everyone!

Meet Lai Lai and Billy — I had the opportunity to interview them where they got the chance to confess their feelings about their first baby on the way!  Scared, excitement, happiness, sickness….it all comes out!  All expecting parents have the same rush of mixed emotions right?  This interview with Lai Lai and Billy just shows your not the only out there who feels like that.  Expecting parents…you’re all in this together!

What was your initial reaction when you found out you were having a baby?

Lai Lai:  I had a rush of mixed emotions all at once. Initially I thought, “OMG, what
have we done?! Are we capable of raising a child? Is our life over?” But then, I
felt really happy knowing that I created a baby with my most favorite person
in the world, Billy.
Billy:  Excited and relieved!

When did you know you were ready?

Lai Lai:  I never felt 100% ready. Even now, I don’t know if I am ready. But, I felt more
ready after we accomplished certain life goals: we were done with school, we
both worked for several years, and we bought a house. And we were in our
mid-30s, so the timing seemed right.
Billy:  Timing felt right: wife was at a good transition point in her career and
she was approaching her mid-30’s. Truthfully, it was more about her
than me.

What are some things you thought about before making the decision
to have a child?

Lai Lai:  I wanted to make sure that I had accomplished important goals that
would be difficult to do with a child.
Billy:  How many kids to have, when the best time to have one, are we
ready for the responsibility, etc.

What piece of advice could you give to our readers that you wished you had
received before deciding on having a child?

Lai Lai: Pregnancy feels like being sick for 10 months, especially if you are normally
a healthy active person. I did not know it was going to be this hard. My body
never felt normal the entire time. Once my morning sickness went away
(which was all day), I experienced heartburn, which turned into a severe
bloated and breathless feeling. I would advise readers to make sure you do
all the athletic things you wanted to do before you get pregnant. (Ie. Take
tennis lessons, run a marathon, etc.)
Billy:  Enjoy your freedom and personal lives as much as possible before
embarking on your journey to having a child.
Be honest, did you want a certain sex for the baby?

Lai Lai: No, I did not. I just wanted a healthy baby. But, I thought that I would have
a girl since my mom and I are really close and I imagined having that kind of
relationship. Plus, I thought that raising a girl would be easier for me. But,
I am excited to have a boy because I see how happy Billy is, and it is neat
growing something in my body so different from me. Now we are excited
about all the sports and martial arts we will teach our baby.
Billy:  Yes, a boy.

Have you decided on a name for the baby? You don’t have to tell us, but what
were some things you considered in a name?

Lai Lai: Yes, we have a name, but we are still open to a better one if we think of one.
I wanted a name that was: strong sounding, unique, but not too weird like
mine that people would mispronounce it the rest of his life.
Billy:  The initials, how unique the name is, how it sounds with our last name.

How have you prepared yourself for parenthood?

Lai Lai: I have at least 10 child rearing books next to my bed. I haven’t read all of
them, but knowing that I have all those books makes me feel secure that I can
find any answer I need in there or on the Internet.
Billy:  Talked extensively to fellow fathers-to-be and fathers at work.

How has your life changed?

Lai Lai: I used to be a very active person. I went to the gym regularly and played
tennis with Billy, but now I get breathless just climbing the stairs in my
house. It is difficult to be productive when I feel so heavy and sleepy.
Billy:  There never seems to be enough time, my personal space is diminished.
How do you think your life will change after your baby is born?

Lai Lai: I think our life will change completely. Now, we wake up at 10 am on the
weekends, eat lunch at 3 pm, stay up late, eat ice cream for dinner when we
are not that hungry, watch really bad horror movies, and yell while we watch
UFC. Once our baby is born, we will have to watch what we say and what we
do, so that we set a good example for our son.
Billy:  #7 will be even more true.

What are your expectations for your spouse? How about for yourself?

Lai Lai: I hope that Billy will get up in the middle of the night and help me with
feeding our baby. He promised that he will play less computer games, but we
shall see. I expect to raise a healthy active athletic baby. Our dogs are well
exercised and healthy, so I hope that is reflective of how we will raise our
son.
Billy:  For my spouse, to stay relaxed and healthy. For myself, to be prepared
and a good father.

What are you most excited for?

Lai Lai: I am most excited about seeing my son’s face for the first time. Will he look
like me? I heard that sons look like their moms. So I am excited to see a male
mini-me version of me.
Billy:  Having my own family, seeing my child grow up.
What are you most afraid of?

Lai Lai: I am afraid of giving birth, even with the epidural. I am afraid that labor
will last for days. I am afraid of being told last minute that I need to have a
Caesarian. I am afraid of giving birth too early and not being ready.
Billy:  Messing up my kid. Having no time to myself.

When is your baby due?

Lai Lai: 6/14/12
Billy:  June 14, 2012.

Do you want more children? If so, how many?!

Lai Lai: No, I do not think so. I grew up as an only child so I know that only children
can grow up to be independent happy people. I do not want my dogs to get
ignored, and college costs too much. University of California costs $15,000 a
year! Imagine how much it will be in 18 years!
Billy:  Nope!

 

Thanks SO much Lai Lai and Billy for giving me and my readers the opportunity to hear the true confessions expecting parents!

love,

auntie k

Puppy Chow…for Kids!

Hello Everyone!

Have you ever heard of Puppy Chow?  No, not the food for dogs, but a snack for everyone…kids included!  This is a fast way to make a sweet delicious mix for your little ones.  This is even great for a potluck — don’t be surprised if all the guests is hanging around the bowl!  What’s EVEN better is telling everyone that it’s called Puppy Chow, I’m sure the name itself will raise an eyebrow.  Try this snack…it’s fast, easy, and YUMMY!  Did I mention it’s addicting too?

[Read more…]

a dog’s purpose from a 6-year-old

I stumbled upon this post from Steve at Bay Integrated Marketing, A Dog’s Purpose? (from a 6-year-old), and I definitely had a moment…and a few tears (you would too!)  Take your time to read this post and think about life a little.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. 

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Not only does this story make me pick up my dog and just hold him, but this is just another reminder that even the simple things that kids say can make us stop and think about life.  They can teach you a thing or two, I promise.

Isn’t it amazing how kids and pets see love in it’s most raw, pure, innocent, and true form?  They love everything, overlook differences, and love unconditionally…simple.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. “

love,

auntie k