Thursday, October 6, 2011

Random Observations of the Week (10/6/2011)

  • It’s funny how one word can have a totally different meaning in another culture. When we first landed, we noticed all these ads for the “$6,000 scheme” and thought – how sketchy. But as it turns out, the scheme is essentially a rebate check the government is giving to all adult HK residents. In other words, it’s totally legit, and scheme is an acceptable word to use to describe a program like this. So not true in the U.S. Can you imagine if Obama unveiled his jobs scheme? Or Romney told us about his immigration scheme? Instead, that’s a word that talking head would use to deride such a plan. Interesting.
  • On the other hand, politics everywhere seems to be pretty much the same. You run for office, you press the flesh. Here’s what I mean: local elections are coming up, so everywhere you turn, there are campaign signs. In addition to this, I regularly see candidates outside the market, shaking hands and talking to voters as they pick up food for dinner. Not so much different than a candidate stopping at a restaurant or pressing the flesh outside a public transportation stop. Around the world, it seems that few things move votes as effectively as personal contact.
  • The other day, Doug and I went for a hike then stopped at the bus stop to pick up the boys. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, our neighbor came out to say the bus company had changed the route, and the boys had come home ~20 minutes early. That’s it – no warning, no notice – just dropping the boys off without us there. Now, luckily our neighbor was there to collect them, and this may have had something to do with the fact that no one at the bus company speaks English, so they couldn’t have told us if they wanted to. But I couldn’t help but think that this would never happen in the U.S. I have several friends and relatives who serve on school committees; for them, can you imagine your next school committee meeting if you just changed the bus routes without warning?
  • For those of you who didn’t see on FB, Doug and Berkley got stuck in the elevator the other day. Since we live on the second floor, Doug and I don’t usually take the elevator, but the boys love it. For some reason, Doug decided to get on with Berkley that morning – thank God – as I can’t imagine how Berkley would have survived 30 minutes in there alone. For us, the whole situation was a minor annoyance (Doug was almost late for a meeting, and I had to take Berkley up to school via public transportation as he missed the bus), but for Berkley, it was awesome. He got to sit in the elevator and play ipad Yahtzee with his father, then he got one on one time with me. All about perspective I guess.
  • I jotted down notes to myself about random observations (trying to work on that system), but can’t decipher my notes. Most of them I understood fine when I came back to them, but one of them cryptically says FB. Hmm. I guess I wanted to post something about facebook? On facebook? Clearly, the system needs work.
  • The boys’ less than cleanly behavior in the bathroom has led to ants (I guess they like the sweet toothpaste the boys use). So what used to be a minor annoyance to clean up has now become a major issue. In fact, bugs in general are a problem here, especially mosquitos. And the thing is: we can’t look forward to a frost for them to go away. I’m a bit fearful we’re stuck with them the whole time we’re here.

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