Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sorry it's been so long

I keep forgetting i have this thing!

Well everything here is going pretty well over all.
March was one long boring month. I only had one day off school durring the whole month so i spend most of my day's staring at my math book wondering when my teacher was going to let us out for lunch.

I did mannage to get some things done. I went to go see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. There is a 40 foot tall statue of Buddha there. They have build a cable car out to where the buddha is. It's supposed to be a big tourist attraction. However two different car's have fallen off the cable car in the 3 years since the Cable car has opened. So me and my friends took the bus. Also the bus was 4$ US and the cable car was 20$ sooo...

The buddha was fun. I Also reciently went out to Churn Chow Island. Hong Kong is made up of many many islands. the two biggest are Hong Kong island, where i live, Lantau, where the Airport is. There are a number of smaller islands where people live. You can get there by going to the Ferry peir under the IFC in central. Churn Chow and Lama islands are two of the bigger out laying islands. Churn Chow has a Bun Festival once a year that it is quite famous for. However it wasn't that time of year. We went there to go swimming there were a couple of beaches there and we picked one and went for a swim. It's still pretty cool here it's not quite full blow summer but it was still nice to go swimming. The islands are a really nice place because they are so different from HK Island. Here there are always so many people running this way and that and it's all tall buildings and concrete in every direction. The islands have a bit slower pace of life there are beaches and trees and trails to get from one place to the next so you need to either walk or bike. There's no MTR or Tram or Busses.

I know i haven't put up many photo's lately and i'll try and get them up soon. there are jsut soooooooooo many of them.

Right now we are on the easter Holidays and AFS Hong Kong has a trip to Beijing. I will be leaving on the 16th and getting back on the 19th i'm really really excited!!!!! i'll take ton's of pictures and try not to get arrested for sedition.

I Hope your all doing well

Write me.

Patrick Belenky!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hola from the far east

Hey all!

Life here is going pretty well!

I've been very busy. I've joined my school debate team just too help them crush the opposition for fun! So I've been doing practices with them. The proposition is that "Class sizes in Hong Kong secondary schools should be limited to a maximum of 30 students." we are against...

That's coming up on Thursday.

I've also been preparing for the AFS Intercultural fair. That's this Saturday. Seeing as how I'm the only American this year I get to run the America booth. This also means I get to decide what is American culture!

I've decided that TV, Football, and Budwiser are NOT what America is all about America is infact about pulling on that pair of cheap sunglasses turning up your favorite band and rocking out on your AIR GUITAR!!!!!!!!!!!

that's right I'm going to be teaching a room full of Chinese kids how to solo on their imaginary AXE!!!!

I'll get some pictures and videos for you guys.

Another recient even of note

I WENT TO TOP GEAR LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*disclaimer if you don't like cars stop reading*

Top gear as the rest of you know is a ridiculious car show on the BBC with Richard Hamond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James may. Though James may didn't come it was FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(sorry i think china is rubbing off on me i'm using exclamation marks way too much now. i'll try and stop.)

There was a car show, with all sorts of super cars and a few old cars as well.

and of corse the live show where they had foot ball soccer. the stig, precision driving, drifting, stupid challenges, and many other things.

along with a procession of super cars INCLUDING THE BUGATTI VEYRON!!!!!!!!!!! yes i got to see one.. it was pretty!

so that was basically my weekend...

the pictures will be up on myspace soon.

Hope your all well


Friday, February 6, 2009

A bought of Sickness

Hello all,

Still here in Hong Kong,

Thursday I went back to school, where I failed a chem test.
Thursday night I went out with a friend and we wandered the Streets of Mong Kok looking through all the interesting piles of crap they where selling.

I got home and went to sleep, at 4 am i was up getting water when i realized i was probably sick. so i turned off my alarm and spent yesterday at home sitting around.
It's nothing that serious. Lot's of sneezing and a low fever, but enough to keep me out of school.

other than that thing's have been going spiffingly. I downloaded "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman" on Book on Tape and listened to that this week. That book is a whole lot of fun.

that's about it for now... i really can't think of much else note worthy that's going on. so yep

take care of yourselves I'll be back this summer.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Pictures!

Same place as usual! I've posted about 600 new photos.

My Camera has a 4 gig SD chip so I went a bit power crazy. There are pictures from A trip I took to Lamma Island with some friends. We came across a Brush Fire at one point which was pretty spectacular. I've been keeping busy over break running around Hong Kong with friends!

On a sad note one of my friends has headed home. Jessica from Switzerland was here on a half year not a full year program and went home last night my time. Luckly there was only one student here for a half year, the rest of us are here together till the end!

In the run up to her departure there where many parties (similar to my departure from Seattle). Jessica was a bit different from the rest of the exchange students in that her mother is from Hong Kong and she came her with more than a cursory knowledge of the language. While maybe not completely fluent she was definitely conversational in Cantonese. So at the various parties for her departure there where many of her classmates as well as exchange students.

Her classmates as you can imagin3e are more prone to speaking Cantonese than English, and I've been practicing my Cantonese with them. I have learned a lot in the last few days and it's nice to feel that i can communicate basic ideas at least.

I'm hopeful that i'll be able to speak some by the end of this year though Chinese has proven harder to tackle than I originally anticipated.

Hong Kong is much as it ever was. Full of people rushing this way and that. I'm starting to get very familiar with the different parts of the city. Hong Kong island where I live and go to school is very easy for me to navigate now. I'm still amazed by the efficiency of the public transportation here, being used to the convoluted mess that is Seattle's bus system.

All in all Things are well.

Back to School on Thursday.

More later

Hope you are all doing well


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong Hey Faat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Years from the far East!

We have a whole Week and a half off school so I'm not complaining! Chinese New Years is serious business around here. There is a massive Street fair going on in Causeway Bay in Victoria Park, It's part Flower Market part Random Crap Fair!

They have All sorts of different flowers each supposed to bring their own brand of luck in the new year. There are thousands of orange trees lined up everywhere (not big orange trees small orange trees like Clementine size oranges and small shrubs for trees) they are all for good luck as well.

There are pin wheels that are supposed to change bad luck to good and red everywhere. Tomorrow is the First day of New Years. You are not allowed to clean during Chinese new years or you will sweep the luck away. You are supposed to buy new pants because Foo the word for pants sounds like the word for Luck. There are many many other traditions as well.

This up coming year is the year of the ox. so there are all sorts of things floating around that are cow related. I bought a pack of cards that looks like a chocolate milk package. All the cards have cows on them. I'll put up some pictures soon.

That's all for now

Gong Hey Faat Choi (much wealth in the new year!)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Circle Desk Nights!

Hello all.

It's been another week in Hong Kong and many new things have happened. This Tuesday was the School Sports day. It's an all school track meet. I participated (your required to participate) in discus i was about average. The whole thing was rather boring and took all day. Besides that it was cold. it dropped to 8 degrees C so like mid 40's a bit chilly. Of course this means that all the Hong Kong people where out in Full battle gear. they all had on multiple sweatshirts underneath giant down jackets. with scarves and gloves. it was obscene. the funny bit is that for you events you had to change into your PE uniform (shorts and a t shirt!) it was pretty funny.

Wednesday we had off because of the sports day. I went to Mong Kok with a friend from Switzerland and we walked around. I picked up some random stuff i'd been meaning to get. That was nice. Then I went home and cooked Chicken Enchiladas for my family!
That came out really well, although the kids didn't like the olives or the beans in it. Everyone else liked it. It seems really weird to me that they didn't like the olives or the beans. Cause to me they are totally normal flavors. but i suppose they like tofu.

Thursday was school. In English we are doing speeches and Debate. we are starting with some famous speeches. They are all pretty obvious. but the really interesting part was the ignorance of my class mates...

We started with Jesse Owens. This was met by a chorus of "huh's" and "who's he?'s"
Understandable i suppose growing up in Hong Kong. but we move

They knew Winston Churchill.

Then came John F. Kennedy. yes my friends. my class was at a loss to identify this American president. They didn't know any of the others from the list either. Nelson Mandela, and Martian Luther King Jr.

Things that are common knowledge for Americans just aren't known over here sometimes. I forget this from time to time because everyone over here speaks English so I assume they know about all the things that we know in US.

Another funny thing happened in School. The kid who sits next to me was drawing a knight. he draws all the time. So he turned to me and asked if I knew the circle desk Knights.

So I told him yes i know the Knights of the Round Table.

However I think this would be a great band name

anywho.. that's about it for now
hope your all doing well


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hello All,

Happy New Years everyone.

Life here keeps rolling inexorably forward. It's the 11th and we are drawing closer to the half way point. On the 23rd i'll have been here for 5 months.

After being here for 5 months i really feel like i'm starting to get to know the city a bit better. I know my neighbor hood much better than i did a month ago (thanks to the copious amount of time off I've had) I've gotten better acquainted with Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.

A change has come over me recently, I find my self thinking not about what food and things i'm missing in America but what food and things from Hong Kong i won't be able to find once I've come back.

This was my first week back at school. I did go back on friday the 2nd because my school is insane but this was my first real week back. The good news is i passed all of my Exams! Even pure maths where i only got 35 out of 100 marks (that was the passing grade i got an E (yes they have a grade E here)) I got D's in both Chemestry and Physics, and of course the highest grade in English.

Hong Kong itself has changed over the past week. Yesterday we dropped below 10 degrees C it made it all the way to 8 degrees and i got to pull out both a coat and hat for the first time since landing here.

Me and my friends went around yesterday as usual from one point to the next without any actual aim. We ended up somewhere new this time. Instead of going to Kowloon Tong or Mong Kok we ended up at the IFC in central. The cool thing is we found this little area with wicker furniture where you can hang out and no one bothers you. Your right under the IFC too.

I've been enjoying having a computer again, Even though i'm probably spending more time than i should be on it. But what else is new.

Today was Hoho's birthday so we just had a party. I gave him two magnetic board games. Tuesday is my host mothers birthday so I need to figure out another gift for her.

I can't believe we are already in 2009. Me and Adrian have already finished teh first 4 books of harry potter. It doesn't feel like i jsut got here but it doesn't feel like it was very long ago either.

Anywho. Life rolls on.

I'll go put up some more photos on Myspace now.

Hope your all well.

I would love to hear from you guys feel free to shoot me an email or even better a real letter.

I'll post again Soon


Monday, December 29, 2008

well it's been a while and a lot has happened.

god my last post was Dec 8th. that seems like much more than a month ago.

Well i'm out of school I took all of the exams and they weren't quite as bad as i expected. English of course was boring, and Physics and Chemistry i'm fairly confident about. Math however i don't think i did so well. i think i'll pass but i doubt i'll get a good mark. this wasn't due so much to the difficulty of the test but to the lack of studying on my part.

the math test was on Thursday the 18th and i had the two days before it off during which i planed to study all of the strange theorems involved in finding the limits of sequences. however on the morning of the 16th of December my life was interrupted by an Email for Reed College where i applied Early Decision, i didn't get in. With this on my mind studying took a back seat to my more philosophical musings. needless to say 2 days slipped by without me giving more than a cursory glance at my text books. This is my excuse for my poor marks... anywho....

After said test my classmates where quite excited to be out of school for break! We all went out to Karaoke, i was surprised because it was the first social thing i'd seen them do since i got to the school. i had fun never the less. there was a decent selection of pop songs (not my favorite but good enough to make a fool of your self!) and they sang mostly in Chinese but there are random words or sentences in English in all of the Canton pop songs so i got to sing along for that.

19th we had Christmas service and class photos. that all went smoothly and then it was Holiday time!

I've been really enjoying my holidays. I arrived in Hong Kong 1 week before classes started so i barely had time to get my bearings. This time has been really good for exploring and things. Also without my classmates eager to talk to me in English. Over this break I've learned a lot of cantonese (nogh haw gong ho daw gongdongwa)

I've been wandering around with different friends. and spending alot of time with my Host family. I went and saw the Twilight movie which wasn't nearly as bad as i though it would be. I also visited the "hong kong brands and products expo" yes an expo for brands and products, god how much more vague could you get... but it was fun there was all sorts of crazy stuff there. from every type of Chinese food imaginable to vacuum cleaners to rice cookers.

I also went to the hong kong Book Fair. where i picked up a bunch of books for really cheap! Thank you all by the way for sending litterateur along. however Space is limited in Hong Kong and with the approximately 20 books i've received i'll be set with reading for a while. but if i need more book's i'll let you guys know.

Christmas was surprisingly uneventful. My family though Christian didn't have any big plans for the day of. We went to yum Cha (dim sum) which was really good but spent most of the day at home. I lit the Chuannuka candles with them and handed they all presents which they all seemed to like!

The lack of Christmas plans can be partially explained by what we did immediately following Christmas. on the morning of the 26th we woke up at 5:something AM to start our trip to mainland china!

We woke up early and caught a bus from Wan Chai to the Chinese boarder. We got there by 7:00 by 7:45 we all loaded onto a tourist bus. I joined the crowd for my first Asian bus tour! we drove 2 hours into china to a honey farm. There they proceeded to try and sell us honey. after the sales pitch we went off to lunch. My first chinese food in CHINA was good but not what you'd call amazing. it's quite different than the food in Hong Kong you wouldn't think that less than 100 miles could cause such a change in cusine but it did.

After lunch we got to the main purpose of the trip a Massive Zoo! We saw many many many many different animals. and i took 200 something pictures that day of every type of wild life you can name. I've posted the pictures to Myspace so go check them out!

After our jaunt around the zoo which included Hoho (littlest brother) and Adrien (other brother) taking pictures with a baby white lion. we went to the Circus! The circus was part of the same complex that the zoo belonged too. It was more Ringling brothers than Cirque du Soile but still very good. That being said they weren't a normal circus. There where many acts that included the animals of the zoo. (dozens of bears on bicycles) After all the Excitement and dinner it was getting close to 10 o'clock we drove another hour to the Hotel, by this time Hoho was asleep and everyone else was very tired.

The hotel was very nice. The best part by far though was the beds. They had real soft mattresses. I'm not saying my bed here in hong kong is bad i find it perfectly adequate, but it's not what you'd call soft. think something like a pile of bamboo mats and you'll get the idea. It has some give to it but not and nice as those beds.
needless to say after the long day i slept well.

the next day wasn't nearly as exciting though we went to a beautiful garden in Shenzen. the trip ended in the early afternoon and we were home by 6 o'clock.

there was an AFS BBQ yesterday with the other students which was a lot of fun. though some where missing with their families off to mainland or Macau.

That brings us about up to date. I'm sure i've missed somethings, like the fact that i got a computer! but that's all i got for now.

Now that i have said computer i'll be updating more frequently.

Hope you're all doing well over the holidays. Have a happy new years.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Hello everyone!

So it's coming up on exams...

I was off monday and i have today and wensday off too. I didn't do any studying yesterday so i really should get on that. anywho.

Life here plod's along nicely. After exams comes the christmas vacation. We are having a chirstmas party for the exchange students at my appartment, i will post pictures of that.

It is rather strange me putting on a chirstmas party but whatever. I suppose i should set up a little thing for Haunaka and explain what it is to people. (one more thing to do!)

I've been Reading like CRAZY! one of the good thing's about being here is i really have gotten a chance to make a serious dent in my reading list!

Since here i've finished Atlas Shrugged, War for the Oaks, Siddhartha, Cathcher in the Rye, 1984, Watchmen, and Drums of Autumn. Those of you who were around durring the packing phase of this journy remember the Stack of books i wanted to bring and the ones that made the finial cut. But after 3 months of reading. i've made it through 90% of my books (the rest are loaned out to other exchange students).

On saturday i bought 2 books from Page One (one of the few decent english book stores here) "the unbearable lighness of being" by Milan Kuendra and "The Road" By Cormac McArthy. In the two days since saturday I've already read 2/3rds of "the unbearable lightness of being" needless to say i will soon run out of books again. I was hoping some of you might happen to send me some books that you enjoy.

I would be most greatful!

and i would then have your address and the ability to pester you with leters!

I hope all goes well back in the states.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving in China

So as you are all aware Thanksgiving was last thursday. As you might expect, here in hong kong they didn't bat an eyelash. Other than a brief segment on tv about George Bush Pardoning a turkey there was nothing.

Except at my house. I decided that i was going to have thanksgiving this year anyways to share some of american culture with my family. This is after i was walking through taste (a grocery store that imports alot of western food) and saw forzen turkeys. So I set to work. I collected recipes from my father, and last tuesday i went to taste and bought all the fixings.

Seeing as how i don't have 3 days off for thanksgiving, i decided to hold mine on Saturday as opposed to the traditional last Thrusday in November. I started cooking on friday night. I made the cranberry sauce(easy), Pumkin Pie, and the crutons and most of the mix for the stuffing. That took a long while seeing as how my 4 year old brother wanted to see how EVERYTHING was done. Luckly he had to go to bed so i finished before midnight.

With all the preperations done Saturday was here.
I woke up, walked down to the one bread shop near buy that sells baguettes and bought 4 for our feast (i wasn't about to let it be served with rice). I cooked the stuffing in a casarole, and then turned my attentions to turkey. Origionally frozen it had been thawing for 4 days in my host families refrigerator. even so i decided to err on the side of caution and i soaked it in cold water for 1/2 an hour. My host brothers where facinated at this gigantic chicken. However eventually i was able to get it away from them and into the oven.

While the turkey cooked i made Salade, and Mashed potatos. Everything was coming together beautifully. My exchange student friends from Europe and South America all were interested in what this thanksgiving thing was all about so i invited them over. Dinner was to be served at 6:00. The turkey came out (perfectly done) at 5:30 I made gravey and EVERYTHING was ready and on the table at 6:00 sharp. Everything was there, except for my friends who showed up 30 minutes later. They did call me ahead of time but for those thirty minutes i was quite annoyed. But it all worked out. with 7 guests and 7 of us we finished everything except for some turkey and a slice or two of pumkin pie.

The night was a sucess! 2 days of cooking but it was all worth it!

here are some pictures of the food i made.

My host brother looking at the turkey in the sink

So this is what i did yesterday. Hope you are all well