It’s Chinese New Year! The city seems maxed out with people and it’s got some crazy energy. I love it. I am thankful to have a cozy bed with a curtain where I can recharge from all the social energy, and it can be overwhelming, but I really do love it too.
We spent the first part of the day walking through town and working on some planning for the rest of our trip. This was my breakfast:
So fun having fresh baked goods everywhere.
We walked over to a part of Hong Kong with a park and an aviary (as well as other things).
The aviary was amazing. I really love birdwatching, and while I certainly prefer seeing birds in the wild, we got to see a whole bunch of exciting species of birds. Bright colors, funny fluffy-looking heads, parrots, you name it. Tropical birds are incredible.
We spent the evening with Helen’s (friend of a friend we spent the day with a couple days ago) family. We took the ferry over to Hong Kong Island and met them there.
Here’s a little view from the ferry – I stuck my torso out the window as to get a good view. It’s one of the many reasons I have my phone attached to a neck strap. Also a reason that Jennifer is with me – if I fall out of the boat she’ll be there to notice! Haha.
Helen and her husband leading us through town to head towards a bus and finally her parents’ apartment!
We were greeted with traditional red envelopes and some amazing pre-dinner goodies. Apparently it was traditional to have a variety of candies, but in the past few years people have become more health-conscious and include a variety of nuts instead. I had no complaints. 🙂 We also ate some cake with a zillion layers similar to pound cake, a water chestnut cake, and a turnip cake. This was all just a side event to the enriching conversations we had with Helen and some of her family members.
Then it was time for dinner! There were obviously many dishes to choose from and I couldn’t possibly describe them all. But there were rices, noodles, veggies, meats… all delicious and I was happily full by the end.
Oh my goodness, everyone was so incredibly sweet, genuine, intellectual, and fun! And we were able to learn more about each other’s cultures. One thing we talked a lot about was what success looks like in America vs Hong Kong/Chinese cultures, and the roles and expectations of women. Americans are bent towards the American Dream – buying a house and a car, getting married, having children, etc. As a married woman, I cannot tell you how often people ask me about having kids or talk as if I’m planning to have kids. It drives me crazy. But what we learned is that in Hong Kong, that assumption is not made nor is there the unspoken belief that I’d not be complete until I have kids. Women are encouraged to become educated and to pursue careers, and success is viewed equally in that pathway as in having children. I’m jealous, but it also encouraged me that there are so many different ways people around the world view women and their success and fulfillment.
I brought red envelopes along with me – married people are supposed to give them and single people & children are supposed to receive them! Traditionally the envelopes are filled with money, but I put some chocolate coins in mine. Haha. They got a kick out of it and it was fun.
It was a wonderful night indeed! We are so beyond grateful that we got to spend this night with a local family and be a part of something so genuine and familial. 🙂 Happy Lunar New Year!