konnichiwa! Oh wait, I am in Hong Kong…so


ni hao!

If you haven’t figured it out already, I am in Hong Kong this weekend! Well, extended weekend really. Saturday-Wednesday. I was of course very excited to find out I would be coming for an inclusion conference-and only slightly apprehensive that it was on my birthday (mostly this summer I felt apprehensive because I didn’t know if Paul could/would go and I didn’t know the other people yet).

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The view from the plane was magnificent! The islands are amazing. 
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But, it’s been great. I miss my hubs and my family and friends whom I would normally spend my day of birth with, but I also kind of like that I spent it with total strangers and new friends who tried to make it special (and they succeeded!)

Leaving Japan for Hong Kong was kind of weird because this kind of starts my first international experience. I know that sounds weird…like, hey Kelli, you just MOVED to Japan…isn’t that an international experience? Well, yes it is. But that was the move. This is travel. Here, when asked where I am, I say I live in Japan, and originally from ATL. So the fact that I am traveling outside of Japan, and saying Japan is my home, is weird. But I love it! I love people asking me about it, and comparing it to HK. Speaking of comparing, I still prefer Japan.

HK is a lovely island-the mountains surrounding the city are breathtaking-the water is green-it’s so tropical in a not Caribbean way. I am used to FL/Caribbean/Mexico tropical. This is different. Beautiful, and still painfully hot. It’s started cooling off in Japan (a bit early I believe), so here it’s very hot!

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This is the view from our hotel-I’m on the 16th floor. I can’t even explain how many of these high rise apartments there are in the city. It looks like this in pockets everywhere. All different kinds! It kind of reminds me of a sci-fi movie! I mean, how many people live in this block alone??
Hong Kong dollars are pretty…and it’s really hard to convert HK$…like a dessert is HK$48. What? It’s strange.
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Downtown Hong Kong Island views. Our hotel is in Kowloon…on another island. We can
take the subway on the Island Line to central station where the ferry is and these wonderful night views!
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It’s also a bit dirty-the smog isn’t as bad as other parts of China, but it’s worse that Japan…so I keep coughing and sometimes I get a sour taste in my mouth. Maybe it’s the car exhaust from the old taxi that just went by?

I still prefer American style Chinese food. At this moment anyway-

Our first day was exciting as we explored via taxi and subway (preferring subway-traffic!), shopping, harbour cruise, bottle of wine on a rooftop deck looking up at the amazing skyline-a light show and touristy shopping (I have gifts people!). I also ran out of money…due to said wine and shopping spree for gifts 🙂 But it’s worth it! Buying gifts for people is a WHOLE lot more fun now that it’s ever been.

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The school, Hong Kong Academy (conference location) is about 30 minutes from out hotel up the mountains, on a beautiful coast line. The building itself is gorgeous and brand new, built specifically how all the teachers envisioned learning to take place. It’s amazing. So is the view. Walls of windows and playground area overlooking the scenery. Please see pictures for full breathtaking views.

The conference is going well so far and I am so lucky to be here. There is loads of great conversation happening and I think we are really able to take away from this conference. Plus it’s at a school so we can see inclusion happening. Plus, it’s really cool to see another international school.

Last night was a brief orientation and we planned on leaving early before the social to have dinner and drinks to celebrate my birthday. I am glad we didn’t (couldn’t really…the bus was taking us home at 8 and it’s too far for a taxi). They provided dinner at a restaurant-we thought we chose from the menu they presented us…nope. They brought all 13 dishes on the menu. They were huge portions!

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shrimp with heads and everything (eewww), lobster and pasta, scallops and broccoli (I tried lobster, not a fan. Scallops were good and headless/tailess/legless shrimp also good).
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so….this ^ is what was outside the restaurant. That’s someone from the restaurant, collecting the fresh fish
for someone’s meal. The tanks were huge and there were TONS of them. This is kind of creepy. Just saying. The other picture above shows a vegetable plate, chicken, and razor clams, which I also tried. They aren’t too bad.

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we were served beer and water, so beer I had. It wasn’t too bad! I had maybe 4 glasses…the most beer I have ever had. at once. Damn shrimp. Those antennae…getting caught on everything!
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I want these round lanterns! They are gorgeous!

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Why???? Poor chicken!

The restaurant was on the waterfront of the small village which had breathtaking views, and culturally was such an experience. Also, please see pictures for full effect 🙂

I do have one question though…

why do people keep bring me food with heads? EEEEEK. I can’t handle it. However, my table mates made my evening fun and enjoyable as we celebrated my birthday together, with lots of beer, toasting, and questioning the questionable food.

And, my hero of the night, Erik…who cut off the heads and peeled the legs/tail from the shrimp and put them on my plate!!! They were then normal enough to eat. I am still wigged out by the long antennae that kept getting stuck to other shrimp…:/

Tomorrow is our last full day-I will have breakfast at the hotel (included, yay), catch the bus to the school, visit classrooms, eat lunch, drink lots of coffee (love free coffee), get inspired, and ride the bus home at 4. I will chill out in the room for about an hour, then we will get food. Where? Not sure yet. Still need to try traditional dim sum. I will call it a night and catch the plane home Wednesday morning.

Hopefully this plane ride is as great as the way here…row of seats to myself, I could spread out, I watched a great movie (Noah…good job Emma!!), and a fairly decent lunch. Cheers to Cathay Airlines.

So, without further ado, please enjoy pictures…and I might tell you the story about “Monsieur peepee” whom Luci and I had the opportunity to avoid whilst enjoying our crisp New Zealand wine!

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View from the 47th floor rooftop bar! So scary that high up and the railings were clear glass! Yikes!

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Crazy Howard street market/ladies market. We were so overwhelmed by street dancers, singers, shop owners…we took a quick lap, which didn’t even cover a fraction of it…and left. This is china town extraordinaire…on crack. and why was michael jackson so popular? Everyone was dancing to michael jackson…from the old lady who used to be a clown, to the man balancing a giant pottery vase on his head. these folks are strange.

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wan nan!




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