Monthly Archives: September 2011

Learning to live with uncertainty.

Probably the number one question Ex-Pats get asked is, ‘so when are you moving back?’ And the thing is even if you come on a strict 18-month assignment… that’s very likely to change… we’ve met many an Ex-Pat who has come for a year and stayed for 7 and counting. Similarly, we’ve also met many who are suddenly called home. I think many of my Ex-Pat friends would agree that it’s quite annoying to get asked this question all the time… mostly because we’re all DYING to know the answer ourselves, since most often it is very much out of our control. It’s sort of like how when you’re dating someone, everyone asks when you’re getting married, and when you’re engaged everyone asks if you’ve set the date, and if you’re married everyone asks when you’re having babies…. I used to be-grudge these questions, but I’ve learned that they’re really just trying to express interest. What annoys me, I’ve come to realize, is that they remind me of what I don’t know that I wish I did. For some reason just realizing this is helpful. I still try to stop myself from asking questions like this of others… but it can be quite hard when you know very little about them!

My advice to any Ex-Pat: Even if you come on a clear assignment… I’d just always leave your reply open-ended. Something like, “we’re not really sure, but we’re enjoying our time here for now,” works well.

Back in San Francisco, my friends and I always talked of the “quarter life crisis,” which we meant to mean that period in your twenties when you have no idea how your career, locale, or romantic life would shake out. Ohhh, the pain in not knowing the answers to any of the above! Back then I seemed to think that this period would be unique in my life and that by my thirties everything would be crystal clear… but, of course that’s not the case. Although I will admit that just having one or two of those things settled makes a big difference in my personal happiness.

The Mr. always tells me “You’ll be a whole lot happier once you learn to live with uncertainty,” and that’s certainly true. Not that I’ve figured it out yet.

This whole little ramble was brought on after reading this poem on Ten Thousand Places. Maggie sums it up nicely by saying it’s a “fuller appreciation of time than the old platitude ‘time will tell.’ “

The Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are all, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,
something new;

And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made
by passing through some stages of instability
– and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually — let them grow,
let them shape themselves without undue haste.

Don’t try and force them on as though you could be today
what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make you tomorrow.

Only God can say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.

Give God the benefit of believing that the Spirit of God
is leading you, forming you, transforming you;

And accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

by Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
a poem meditation on Phil 1: 3-11 via Maria
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Planes, trains and automobiles.

My friend Kelly recently tied the knot and she did a super fun board depicting all of the places people had traveled from to attend her wedding. She had to do an inset around New Jersey and New York, where she and her fiance are from.

Do you see that string going allll the way across the map to Hong Kong?! I loved that she also included her honeymoon in Bora Bora. It was a very sweet way to recognize how much she appreciated how far everyone had come for her wedding, but what a labor intensive project–to write out every guest’s name! She even tied in her Kelly green and hot pink wedding colors!

Since the bride’s name is Kelly and she went to Notre Dame the green works on many levels. 

Love the green suspenders!

Although the wedding invites weren’t minted, a lot of the other paper items were! The shower invites were: float + here comes by float paperie and the save the dates were elegant year by Annie Clark.

Kelly’s dress and veil were so elegant. Here her sister, and her matron-of-honor, puts on the groom’s gift–a beautiful pearl bracelet. Kate at 8+ months pregnant was my hero… the ever energetic bridesmaid!

The happy couple with their adorable flower girl Rose–Kate’s daughter and Kell’s niece. A big congrats to the super fun couple!!

All photos: Spark Photography

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Typhoon no. 8: Nesat

We got to experience our first Typhoon no. 8 today! A no. 8 flag (the warning levels here are 1, 3, 8, 9 and 10 ) was hoisted this morning and so the Mr. got to stay home from work. On a no. 8 everything is closed: markets, school, government offices, busses etc. Although it’s been mostly high winds and rains here, Nesat killed at least 20 people in the Philippines before landing in Hong Kong.

I took this shot from our deck during a moment of calm this morning… it’s weird how the clouds created a straight line across the horizon. There seems to be a lot of whirling about out there… calm to wind to rain to calm and repeat.

A Typhoon no. 8 is hoisted on average 1.4 times per year here in Hong Kong and it means that winds are 63 – 117 kmh or 38-73 mph.

I wonder if any American readers have even heard of Nesat? It’s funny because we heard ALL about Irene. A hurricane is the same thing as a typhoon, except for a typhoon is a tropical storm in the South Pacific and a hurricane is a tropical storm in the Atlantic.

Manilan residents struggle to clean up after Nesat.
Photo: Bullit Marquez / AP

From the AP:

“Mayor Santiago Austria of the rice-farming town of Jaen in Nueva Ecija province appealed to the government for help, saying many people in his community of 63,000 needed to be rescued but that officials there had only four rescue boats.

“Many people here are still on top of their houses. We don’t have enough boats to reach them and hand them food,” Austria said.

In all, nearly 500,000 people were affected by the typhoon in the northern Philippines, of which about 170,000 were forced to flee their homes and were in various evacuation centers. The government says damage to farms and infrastructure is estimated at 1.15 billion pesos ($26 million).”

In the past hour, the maximum gusts recorded at Cheung Chau, Tai Mei Tuk and Star Ferry were 105, 101 and 80 kilometres per hour respectively… about half of Irene’s max speed.

Although I don’t wish this type of damage on anyone, I am loving getting to do a little pantry cooking and nesting… it’s the tropics equivalent of a snow day.

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Saints for Sinners medals.

It’s so hard to find religious icons that aren’t plastic or cheesy so I literally jumped for joy when I saw these Saints for Sinners medals at Loopy Mango.

The medals are from Italy and are hand-painted by a gentleman in New Orleans.

The shop girls dished that Bridesmaid’s Kirsten Wiig had stopped by to buy a ‘Saint Philoemena,’ who is the patron saint of infants, babies, toddlers, and safe childbirth medal for pregnant co-star Maya Rudolph. And she was already wearing a medal so she is a pretty big fan! Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Bruce Springsteen are also fans.

I can spend hours reading through all the different saints available on their site. There really is a saint for everything: fear of flying, addiction and 12 steps, fire fighters, sisters, x-ray technicians… you name it! These would make a wonderful gift for anyone starting or commencing a new vocation, whether that be starting a new job or having a baby or conquering a fear. You’re even allowed to order custom medals or a bracelet full of all your favorites.

By the way, the name comes from the line: “The saints are the sinners who keep on trying.” I like it.

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Fancy presentation: the Mandarin grill.

A little while back we got to go to the Mandarin Grill for a work dinner for the Mr. I couldn’t help but snap a few pics of some of their over-the-top presentation for you.

I thought it was cool that they listed the latitude for the oysters.

The olive oil amuse bouche came with a mini olive oil tree.

The Mr.’s steak came in a Mandarin Grill cookbook.


My steak came on a bed of hay.

Lastly, there was a very cool silver claw dispenser for picking up sugar cubes for your coffee.

All in all, it was a very fancy meal with wonderful service… the steak was amazing… but thought we would rather go elsewhere (or make steak at home) on our own dime. But you had to hand it to them for taking fancy to the ninth degree.

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