On Saturday, one of Doug’s colleagues here at Lingnan invited us to go hiking with her family (she also has two boys – a 13 and 10 year old; while she’s from Hong Kong, her husband is British, and the boys only speak English), and it turned out to be a lovely day. She kindly picked us up in her car, so we were able to drive to a county park that’s not easily accessible by public transportation for us. We hiked up a trail to a beautiful waterfall (Bride's Pool); after some scrambling, we were able to get close enough that the boys could swim in the pool and climb behind the falls. We then hiked another trail almost straight up, so that her husband could do a bottle drop for a 48K trail race he was competing in that night (!). Joseph, the 10 year old, was almost perfectly matched for our boys, so while Ben, the father, ran up the trail, the boys sat around and built a dam together in a mountain stream. Upon returning to their apartment, the boys were introduced to their new obsession: Minecraft. All in all, a day well spent.
Sunday was truly my day as I got to pick the itinerary. I decided that we needed to check out one of the nice beaches (I mean – it’s October, and it’s still in the 80s here!), so we made the trek out to Shek O, which is quite a haul from us, but is widely regarded as one of the best beaches in Hong Kong. Shek O is located on the south-eastern tip of Hong Kong Island, surrounded by mountains, so it requires a bus trip over a beautifully winding road to reach it.
After a day of swimming out to floating platform, body surfing, and general lazing around, we cleaned up and headed over to the Jumbo for dinner.
There, we dined on fresh seafood and drank cocktails (okay – the boys ate pizza and mac and cheese and had sodas), overlooking the Aberdeen Harbor on a beautiful Hong Kong night.
Now, on my actual birthday, I can see that few things engender as much reflection in one’s life as a major milestone birthday. But, really – what a fabulous way to celebrate my 40th birthday. While I wish I could celebrate with family and friends too, I’m in the middle of enjoying a nearly year-long adventure living half way around the world with my family. I have two beautiful boys (whom I love dearly even when they drive me mad) and a wonderful husband. I have a job I love (and that allows me and my husband to spend a year away while still retaining job security!), in a place I’m very happy to live. And, I have a strong network of truly supportive and caring friends and family. As I look at the world around me, I realize how truly blessed I am. And that is the best birthday present I could ever hope for.