Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Christmas in Thailand- Dec. 2011

Once we moved to Hong Kong we decided it would be fun to do some traveling to nearby countries. So far we had only been to Macau, a small island not too far away from HK, and Shenzen, a city right over the boarder into mainland China. So we thought why not go somewhere for Christmas and have that be our Christmas present. We thought of some options and decided we wanted to go to Thailand. We had heard some great stuff about Phuket, so we decided we would go there. We booked our plane tickets and hotel online. We got our tickets for Christmas day. So we were able to have Christmas Eve and morning at home to open presents. Then we were off to the airport. We called my family at the airport to say Merry Christmas. Of course we had to do a little bragging about the fact that we were going to spend the rest of the Christmas holiday laying on the sandy beaches of Thailand while they were stuck in snowy, cold Utah. We're evil! Muahahahaha

Anyways, we landed got to Phuket late and got into a shuttle van. We arrived at our hotel in the wee hours of the morning and headed off to bed. The hotel workers were awesome and told us if we wanted to book any trips for any tours or anything to just come down to the front desk and ask them for help. This is one thing I loved about the hotels in Phuket. You can book tours and activities (such as boat trips and elephant tours) at your hotel and then the tour group will pick you up at the hotel!! Awesome!!! This was amazing cause we didn't have to worry about finding our way to the places... so we didn't get lost!

So the next morning we went down stairs and looked through the activity brochures and decided that we wanted to go on an elephant tour. The hotel worker booked our tour for a few hours later. So we headed off to eat some breakfast and explore a little while we waited. Then we went back to the hotel and got picked up for our elephant riding extravaganza!! I was sooooo excited. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Thailand... to ride an elephant!!! Let me just say, elephants are now my 2nd favorite animals! They are awesome!! I even got to ride on the elephant's head. At first I was a little nervous because I had heard stories about tour guides being abusive to the elephants and when we got to the place, the guys were holding these rod/cane/hook type things. I thought they would be just like the stories I had heard. But once we got started we realized that our tour guide was very nice to our elephant. He used the hook thing to help lead the elephant around. I think they also used it as precautionary thing?? I'm not sure but the guide was very good and nice to the elephant. Even made sure the people running the tours gave our elephant a break even though they wanted him to go on another tour right after we were done. So yeah riding an elephant is AWESOME!!

After we were done with the trek we headed back to the hotel. Since it was still pretty early we wanted to do something else. So we looked at more brochures and found an ad for Bungy Jumping. I have always wanted to bungy jump so I was totally interested. I really wanted to do it! And heck, we are in Thailand... why not do something crazy!

Here is my video:

Here is David. I love his scream! Sooooo funny!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tam Visits Hong Kong- Dec 2011

On Dec. 14, 2011 my cousin and one of my bestest friends in the world, Tam, arrived in Hong Kong! It was a spur of the moment decision. She wanted a fun get away and I convinced her to come! I don't remember exactly how many days she stayed for but I think it was between 8-10?? Anyways, we tore Hong Kong apart! It was seriously one of the funnest weeks of my life. The day she arrived we decided to take her to get Indian food at our favorite place at Chung King Mansions. But first we went on the Star Ferry. Both of these things were bad ideas... Tam gets really bad motion sickness. She had taken medicine for it but it hadn't kicked in by the time we got on the boat. After we went across the ferry she started to feel bad. Then we took her into Chung King where it has a very heavy smell of Pakistan and Indian men and food. Then she started to feel really sick. These conditions plus the fact that she was exhausted from her flight were not a good combination. So we hurried and picked up some samosas from the Butts curry place and headed home so she could rest. Here we are on the Star Ferry: (Click on the picture collages to see the images larger)

The next day I had to work all day. So Tam had to hang out with David for a while. I think he took her to Sai Kung that morning. Then he came and dropped her off at my work. I had asked if it would be ok if she came to my afternoon class. Since my class only had a few students my boss said it would be ok. So she came and visited my class. I think she enjoyed it. The next day was Friday. I had to work in the morning. So Tam slept in and relaxed until I got off work. Then I came home and we headed off exploring. First we went to Chi Lin Nunnery and then to the Wong Tai Sin temple. Of course we had to take tons of pictures!

Chi Lin Nunnery:

Wong Tai Sin Temple:

That night Tam went with me to my work Christmas party. I love being with Tam! She brings me out of my shell a bit. I am goofy and more outgoing when she is around. We were goofy at the party... Doing some dancing, wearing fake air sleeve tattoos, and laughing a lot.

The rest of the week flew by. We did so much stuff and saw so many things. Since we took hundreds of photos I made collages in order to fit in a lot of pictures. Since we did a ton that week I get a little mixed up on which days we did each thing.

I think Saturday was the day we went to Monkey mountain and 10,000 Buddha's monastery with David. Saturday was the one day David could run around with us all day so we asked him to choose which things he wanted and these are what he chose. First we got on the bus and headed out to Monkey Mountain. (I don't think that is its official name but everyone called it that.) We saw quite a few monkeys that day in two different areas of the mountain. We got some fun pictures and even better videos.

Next we headed off to one of my favorite destinations in HK, 10,000 Buddhas. There are so many Buddhas with silly faces. So we had fun imitating them and taking pictures. What a fun day:

We went to Clear Water Bay beach on Sunday after church. David and I took a nap on the beach. Tam read a book. We saw some old guy swimming... he was very fit for an old guy.

Here is what went down the rest of the week:

Eating yummy breads at bakeries for breakfast and snacks:

Cable car ride up to the Big Buddha:

Visiting Tai O village and going on a boat ride to try and see the pink dolphins:

Exploring the streets of Hong Kong and Shopping at the Markets:

Going to Stanley Market and Stanley Beach:

Crazy Fun Bus Rides:

Walking Along the Harbor, Visiting Avenue of the Stars, and Taking Pics with Fat Dancers:

Eating Lots of Yummy Food:

Riding the Peak Tram and Seeing the Amazing View at the Peak

Hilarious and Fun Night of KARAOKE!!!!!

Oh man we were pretty tired by the end of her trip but it was well worth it. We had so much fun and made so many memories. I am so glad we took so many pictures to capture all of the fun times. I

Christmas at Garden House Dec. 2011

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love all of the fun events, parties, and celebrations held at Christmas time. My school held several Christmas events. Some took lots of preparation but each was fun and memorable. The first Christmas event that was held was Garden House's annual Advent Spiral. I had never heard of this before. At our Advent Spiral we put pine type leaves in a spiral shape. Then we arranged candles around the leaves. Then the parents gathered at sat on chairs. Once everyone was ready the "angel" (which was me.. mainly because I was one of the only ones with blonde hair and apparently I am angel-like haha) walked in with a candle lit. The angel then walked through the spiral and lit the middle candle. Then we started to sing Christmas carols. As we sang the kids came up with their parents and were given an apple with a candle in the middle. They then walked through one end of the spiral, lit their candle on the large candle, placed their candle somewhere in the spiral, and walked out the opposite side. It was a fun night. I love Christmas carols and this was a fun way to celebrate.
The next Christmas event we had was our Christmas Fun Day. This is an event where the families come and experience a bunch of fun activities run by the school. There were games, face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, two puppet show stories, a bake sale, a BBQ, and more. I helped with the puppet show stories. I was the story teller during the Gingerbread Man and I moved the puppets for the Elves and the Shoemaker. It was a LOT of work to pull of this event and though it was fun, we were also relieved when it was over. You can see pictures at Garden House's Facebook page.

Next came the performance our class put on for their parents. We decided to put on a Waldorf type Nativity program. Each of the kids was assigned a part. Then we all learned the songs. We worked hard for weeks and the kids did a great job! I think the parents were quite impressed. The best part about the whole thing was me bribing the kids. Right before the performance I told the kids that I would give them candy if they did their best. After the performance and after the parents clapped, one little girl named Mia called out, "Can we have the candy now?" All the parents started to laugh. I was caught! Hahaha So the parents found out that I bribed them with candy and I was a little embarrassed. But it was so worth it cause they did a great job!

After that we had our Christmas party during school hours, for the kids. On the last day before Christmas break we had a combined snack. The kids brought tons of goodies and we gathered in the kitchen of the school. All the kids wore Christmas crowns that they made. We sang some songs and then we ate... So much food... so yummy! We also did some Christmas gift giving.

I think it was later that day we had a staff Christmas party. We all came back to the school that night and celebrated with lots of food and a gift exchange. I was lucky enough to get this scarf that I am wearing in the following picture. What made the party extra cool was that my cousin Tam was in HK and she came with me! We had so much fun.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanksgiving 2011

Of course Hong Kong doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving but since a lot of the people we went to church with were from the US they did celebrate. So they organized a Thanksgiving pot luck dinner to be held at the church. Of course we wanted to go! Thanksgiving is the best and we definitely wanted to eat yummy homemade foods on this wonderful holiday. So we went to the dinner to celebrate. There was so much yummy food! Lots of amazing cooks in the branch so of course it was all delish! We filled ourselves to the brim! Awesome celebration... unfortunately I don't think we got any pictures.

Days at the Farm 2011

One thing I liked about working at Garden House was the farm. I would have loved that as a kid. The kids really enjoyed getting to pick veggies, plant, and dig. The farm also has a small pond with fish. I have lots of my own pictures of the kids from school and pics from our outings. I didn't want to put any pics on my blog for privacy reasons. Since my first year parents posted pics on my facebook of their kids I felt they would be fine with me posting pics. I didn't know if my Garden House parents would feel the same but... Garden House has a facebook page with pictures of us on it so... if you wanna see some you can go to their facebook page and look at them.... The kids are adorable!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011 was awesome! We went to two different Halloween parties. One was with a bunch of our friends at Hayley and Derrald Stice's house, the other was our Branch party at the church. First came the party at the Stice's on Friday Oct. 28th. All of those who came were:

Matt and Michelle Wright

Betsey, Richard, Nora, and Calvin Hawkins

Scott, Brooke, Drew, Taylor, and Olsen Gordon

Hayley and Derrald Stice

And us!

So the night started out with watermelon carving. Pumpkins in HK are quite expensive. So instead of carving pumpkins, we carved watermelons and ate the insides as part of our dinner. We got the idea from Derrald. His family lived in HK when he was younger and they used to do that on Halloween.

Next we had a yummy dinner full of sausages. It was technically a sausage party so we ate a variety of sausages. We also had some other side dishes and desserts. I remember Brooke brought some very yummy carmel apple dip and apples. We had such a fun night. It was our first time meeting the Gordons. We became good friends with their family and ended up hanging out with them a lot.

So next came our branch party the following night. Of course it was a costume party so we had to dress up!! David and I wanted to dress up as something the kids would love. We thought it would be fun to be an angry bird and one of the piggies. Since Angry Birds was extremely popular we thought they would enjoy that. So I made some costume pieces out of felt and this is how our costumes turned out:

The costumes were a hit! Of course everyone knew what we were right off the bat. Well the night started out with dinner. We filled up on food and then it was off to the games. In different rooms of the church were different carnival type games. David and I were in charge of the nerf gun shooting range. At first we set up the vest targets on chairs for the kids to shoot at. Then David got the great idea to put on the vest and have the kids shoot at him instead. So the kids started shouting stuff like... "Shoot the piggie!" Of course David got really into it and of course the kids loved it!! From then on David was known as piggie. Mainly it was Drew and Taylor who called him that. The night ended with trick or treating. Kind of like a trunk or treat but the kids just went to different rooms and knocked on the doors. David and I helped pass out candy as well. What a fun night!

Friday, February 8, 2013

BBQ With Friends

Whenever we hung out with our friends in HK we usually went to their houses or out somewhere. We figured we needed to invite our friends over to our place. Plus we had an awesome deck with lots of space so we decided to have a BBQ. We invited the Rockin' Hawkins and the Stices. I think we may have invited other friends too? I don't remember. But they came over and we had some yummy food. We also brought out some toys for the kids to play with... You will see in the pictures below what our living room looked like after the kids got done with the toys. Haha David showed Nora and Calvin his remote control helicopter. We also had some chocolate cake for desert. Calvin and Nora were a little crazy with the cake and got it all over the place... All over the floor, couch, other furniture. It was so funny! It was a fun get together!