This week was my first week back in Australia and at work. It’s felt a tad unusual coming back, and working out what’s happened in my absence.
Well, I’ve been back in Australia for four days now, and I’m not quite back into the swing of things… I think that tomorrow back at work should help, but I fear that I’m going to be swamped with a tonne of work and requests…
So what happened this week??
Monday was the last day for my sister Anna and brother-in-law Arthur in Hong Kong before they shipped out to London and Europe, so the majority of the day was spent taking care of final bits and pieces for them. We headed to the General Post Office in Central so that they could send a few bulky items back to Australia, cutting down on their travel luggage. Next stop was Cheung Hing Tailor for Arthur to try on his tailor made suit and trousers, which needed a slight lengthening. I decided to take advantage of getting measured up for another suit and some trousers, which fit better, and are cheaper than street bought suits and clothes… We took in a late lunch at Crystal Jade Xio Long Bao in Causeway Bay before heading back home for them to pack and head off to the airport. At night with just the three of us, we wandered around the streets of Causeway Bay to find a place to eat, we ended up at a very busy little Hong Kong Cafe which serves a variety of foods. I ate tomato & beef with fried egg rice and drank a very tasty and refreshing tangerine with honey and lemon, served in a wine cariff…
During my time in Hong Kong I’ve subtly learnt about leadership by means of a strange method: walking…
As I’ve wandered many a street with my family, a pack of 5 people, different people have led, or directed where we were going, and the different styles have made me realise that they are a style of leadership, and that I can learn from them.
Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re already half way through the year. I’ve felt like I’ve grown a huge amount already, but then I still have so much further to go; the growth has revealed other flaws that I’ve not previously noticed, or given enough attention to… My time in Hong Kong has been très busy, and you can see that by both the length and content of this loong Sunday Summary.
Well, I’m currently in Hong Kong where it is “summer”. Temperature is higher, but humidity is also higher. Most places you go have the air conditioning on, so the difference in temperature between inside and out is significant.
This last week has felt a lot calmer, despite there being more things to be done…
On Monday I got a good sleep-in, before spending the day relaxing and not doing particularly much. I’ve been playing Infamous on PS3, which was one of the free ‘welcome back’ games on offer after PSN was hacked. In the evening, Geoff dropped around for dinner and our final run through of Smallville. We ducked out to the shops for some ingredients to cook up a chilli flakes, thyme, lemon and mushroom risotto, topped with hot pancetta. It was pretty delicious. We watched a few episodes of Community, and ate some Mersey Valley Vintage Cheddar with cracked pepper crackers whilst cooking dinner, and then 4 episodes of Smallville. The finale put some good closure on the 10 year long series. It was pretty obvious that Clark had to become Superman, but some of the other bits were a little bit more surprising.
Tuesday being first day back at work after a long weekend, there were quite a few bits and pieces to tidy up, as well as continue to work out handover of tasks & jobs to my colleagues. At night I didn’t do much, though in retrospect there was a heap more that I could have and should have done, like pack, and organise computer files.
Wednesday I took my day-in-lieu for my Saturday server install. It wasn’t as productive as I would have liked it to have been. I got my car out for it’s 5 year service in Hornsby before slowly making my way back to Carlingford in the rain. At night for growth group, we looked at Matthew 26 with a greatly diminished group. It was a really good discussion through, especially through the Lord’s supper, and Jesus’ words in verses 26 to 29; a great culmination of old testament ideas of covenant, law, sacrifice and God’s wrath, finding their fulfilment in Jesus.
On Thursday afternoon Nicky came with me to Gary’s place so we could enlist his help in biblical theology study for our exam. It was really useful and we got to go through the history of promise diagram. After that was all done, we enjoyed a fantastic home cooked meal by Gary of roast pork, complete with crispy crispy crackling, roast potatoes, pumpkin & sweet potatoes and broccoli, with Pearl, Tomas and Annabel. Then when I got home, it was packing time; many dilemmas in figuring how much to take considering that I have a number of planned purchases on my list.
Finally Friday rocked around, and I was pretty much in holiday mode already, but still slightly aware of the need to get things completed and not leave anyone in the lurch, yet with the opinion that leaving some things up in the air would help people more, and allow them to grow, than hinder them. My last touch for 2 weeks was pretty enjoyable, though playing on the wing always comes with sorrow and delight; having to always be on in defence, and not getting many opportunities in offence. It did pay off in the end when I got across the line for a try, thanks to Tony and Nicky for the assist.
Yesterday was my flight to Hong Kong. It was a comfortable flight, with plenty of delicious food and drink to keep us comfortable. On the lunch menu for me was a carrot and celery salad with a balsamic dressing, braised chicken with a tomato and fennel sauce and roasted new potatoes, cheese and crackers, a Lindor ball, coffee, a mango & cream Weiss bar and an organic peppermint tea.
The in-flight entertainment was alright, though there were plenty of movies I’d already seen, so I ended up watching Cedar Place and The Dilemma; both comedies. Kinda funny, but nothing lol-hilarious. and then The Mechanic. As I was talking to my family today, we were discussing what films they watched as well. Dad’s answers were the best; Just Do It aka Just Go With It and a film with no title, which turned out to be Unknown.
After touching down we made our way through customs and caught the MTR into Hong Kong central. You know those moments where you think you should do something, but don’t end up doing it and then regret the fact afterwards? I had one of those in the terminal; as I was waiting in the customs line, there was this girl standing behind me. I thought that I should have talked to her, but being an introvert, just couldn’t bring myself to do it… After passing through customs and baggage claim, before jumping on the MTR, I saw her again, wandering around, kind of aimlessly, not knowing what to do/where to go… If I had of talked to her in the line, I could have helped her get where she was going…
One of the great things in Hong Kong is how cheap the price of common things is. For the three of us to catch the MTR from the airport into Hong Kong Central was HKD$210, which is roughly AUD$30, and then the taxi from there to Causeway Bay was another HKD$50. Food is another thing that can be fairly cheap, with plenty of deals and packages available. We ate dinner last night at a local restaurant, eating chicken, broccoli and fish cakes with rice.
This morning we got to church at Tsim Sha Tsui Baptist Church’s english service. When compared to graceat6, this service was an absolute mess, and made me realise how good and well oiled our church actually is, despite seeing things not happen, or go wrong so often. The service leader was not particularly organised, we sung hymns, that were played on an organ with no song leader and were out of time and slow. The bible reading was from the good news bible. The sermon was from Matthew 18:21-35, but not preached in the normal manner that I’m used to at St Paul’s; the speaker used plenty of anecdotes at the start of each point that he was trying to make, which I think detracted from the word. He got the congregation to read through the passage relevant to each ‘principle’ he was focusing on, which he wanted to have the impact of getting the congregation to focus on text more, but the reading was not done with unity, and I was distracted more than focused. He also seemed to read in and fill out what was happening in the text, referring to the greek and trying to explain to the congregation participles and imperatives. In the end he did remind us that when we look at forgiveness, we need to be reminded of the cross; the mercy that God showed to us, and to show the same to others.
After church we hung out with some of the members at Delifrance for brunch. We have some family friends, the Chows, who have 2 daughters that we’ve watched grow up. It was good to see them, and also spend time with them. We ended up driving around Kowloon and then over to Hong Kong Central, taking in lunch at a place in IFC Mall. I got a tasty curry chicken, and a lime with aloe vera to drink.
This is my first Sunday summary post since being in Hong Kong, I’ve not worked out when to post, whether I abide by Australian time, or I post according to Hong Kong time, which is currently 3 hours behind…
So the main reason that I’m over here in Hong Kong is for my cousin Calvin’s wedding. Secondary to that is some shopping. I like the shopping in Hong Kong because things tend to be more my size, the exchange rate is usually good, there are plenty of options and the styles suit me well. I hope to refresh and reinvigorate my personal bible reading and prayer, with the discipleship journal, and a couple of Christian books, as well as work on my photographic skills, developing my eye to see and shoot some great shots.
Wow, this week has been really busy and intense…
Monday was the double act of N E X U S and the aftermath of the server upgrade. I was pretty much non-stop G.O. from about 8am. It wasn’t a stressful preparation for the conference with some last-minute sign-making, nametags and final room setup. The other side of the coin were questions relating to the use of our computer network, which had gone through some significant changes, for the better, over the weekend, but weren’t totally complete. I had the great opportunity to say “No” to various requests and questions, passing them off to Craig. I got out to have lunch with some of the guys before entering zero-hour as guests started turning up. The talks from the day were really good, looking at what the church is, and ways in which we can improve and make changes. Last year for dinner, I went and ate by myself, and I made people aware of this fact because it was such a disappointment. This year I had 5 groups of people ask me to eat with them, a significant change up from last year. I ended up going with Gary and Pearl with a few older guys up at Carlingford Court.
On Tuesday morning, there was again some computing issues (something that would ‘plague’ me all week), but we got to discussing a fair bit of the things that were said at N E X U S, especially at graceat6 meeting. One thing that was of note was the church and it’s mission: whether evangelism, and holding an evangelistic meeting, was part and parcel of that.
Tuesday night I went home to pick up my dad, before heading out for dinner at Fook Yuen in Chatswood via Macquarie Uni to pick up my mum. We were out for my sister’s 28th birthday, which was happening on Wednesday. Dinner was tasty; dishes of note were the spicy & salty pork chops, and the pigeon.
Wednesday night at growth group, despite intending to start at 7pm, we got going at 7:30ish and read through a great chunk of Matthew; the main concentration being on chapter 24. We split into groups and creatively worked out ways to explain the passage as well as come up with questions for the sections we were assigned. To be honest, I found it detrimental to the study, as I’m not a fan of the creative, and I’d prefer that we just go through the passage and discuss it as a group. I do see the reason why our leaders are doing it though; it gives our less vocal people a chance to interact and speak up, whereas they may not do so whilst the main group is together, either because they’re a bit shy, or more vocal and opinionated people constantly speak up, something that I think need to be addressed, or they need to be made aware of…
Thursday night was the last night of lectures for college for this semester, and sadly the last night of college with Nicky. In the lectures, Peter spoke about preaching biblical theology, something that is commonplace at St Paul’s, but apparently less so at other churches, by the way people were asking questions. There were some interesting (practically pointless) questions asked by some of my classmates again… I’m really going to miss Thursday night college with Nicky, she is a great sister in Christ and always helped to calm me down, listen and talk through things over the last semester. I really really value her friendship, but at the same time need to be quite cautious in how much I tell her/rely on her since her main male relationship is, and should be, with Steve. If God does bless me with a significant other, I hope and pray that she is as kind, caring, thoughtful and loving as Nicky (And no, I’m not writing this just because I know she is reading this).
Friday was a long long day. More computer problems, quite demanding ones, which I still managed to avoid, before talking to Rose and Toni about some of the duties they may need to cover in my absence over the next three weeks. At the end of the day, I got onto the usual touch footy. Numbers were down, I think a combination of long weekend absentees and ‘wet weather’. We ended up with probably 13 people. I managed to score 4 tries coming from a few intercepts and a few well timed runs. At SALT we had Pat Jones from Menai Anglican come to speak for an evangelistic talk from John 3. After SALT I headed out to The Argyle with Nicky for Random Soul Recordings’ first Sydney party called Takin’ It Back. Yogi and Husky AKA Random Soul pumped out a great mix of funky, deep and jackin house tunes, warranting some great dancing.
Saturday morning I got a good sleep in, something that is rare in my world… After a little bit of room organisation, I headed down to the bowls club in Denistone for part 1 of Hamish’s bucks. It was a good bit of fun, and I got to rekindle some of my lawn bowling skills. We wrapped up mid-afternoon and I snuck in a quick nap before heading out to the Red Oak Brewery in the city for part 2 of the bucks, aka dinner and drinks. Traffic in, and parking were a bit chaotic; I took a good 40 minutes to make it from Milson’s Point to parking the car. For dinner I had the bread board, quite the tasty light meal consisting of 4 types of breads with a pumpkin dip, avocado dip, Asian marinated olives and garlic oil.
This morning, Nic and got to read Acts 16 and talk about a number of different things, including Hillsong and the way that we approach it as Anglicans… In the afternoon I headed to the movies to use up another movie ticket that I had, due at the end of June, to see X-Men: First Class. It was a good film, looking into some great X-Men lore. Some of the effects were a little off, I don’t recall seeing Stan Lee, and unfortunately there wasn’t a post-credit scene. There was also a scene in which Raven/Mystique is speaking to Hank/Beast about living in the world, but not being a part of it, which I thought rang true with the Christian experience.
Tonight at graceat6 I tried to do as little as possible, quite a difficult task really, hopefully to gear up everyone to ‘cope’ in my absence. I got to sit in the ‘pews’ with the regular people and experience church without tasks or jobs to do. I managed to hold myself back and not touch any equipment, or get up to correct errors, in the hope that people would learn to fix things themselves. Our preacher tonight was one of our overseas ministry partners: Kent. He spoke from Mark 1, which, after introducing Jesus, goes on to speak about guilt and shame in the healing of a leper and a paralytic. There were some great insights into the text, drawing out the deliberate actions of Jesus, and helping us realize/remember the relational nature of God.
This week will be an extra extra short week with tomorrow being a public holiday, and I have Wednesday off as a make up for the Saturday server install. I have quite a bit to do, and I’m flying out to Hong Kong next Saturday for just under three weeks. I’m looking forward to the time off, but then I am also aware and a bit fearful of the fallout that this will cause and I’ll have to sort out on my return.
Currently I’m sitting aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 161 in a blacked out Airbus on my laptop making my way back to Australia. The time is 5:49AM AEDT. I’ve spent the last 12 days abroad in Hong Kong and it’s been quite an enjoyable experience. I’m still to post about the majority of my time there, and will eventually get around to doing so, backdating accordingly, but I thought a summary is in order since I’m not asleep on this plane.
For the most part I ate; Yum-Cha and banquet dinners would have to top the list of meals consumed, but won-ton noodles and semi-fast foods would run a close second. I also managed to squeeze in congee, McDonalds, Szechuan food and a buffet in as well.
I also spent a fair bit of time with my family, immediate and extended. Most of it was with just the immediate, then my Dads side of the extended, with my Mums side on only 2 occasions. Immediate family time got fairly frustrating quite often, but as the trip draws to a close, I think we’re a bit closer. I also got to see a friend whom I started at NAB with, she just happened to be in Hong Kong; we met up for lunch and Ice-cream, which was good.
And then there was the shopping…. I didn’t actually buy as much as I would have expected, but then with the exchange rates lower than normal, it was difficult justifying prices. I spent most of my shopping time limited to the Causeway Bay area, but I also managed to get out to Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, IFC Mall in Central, plus some small arcades and Garden Road around Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei. All up there’s a few pairs of shoes, some pants, shirts & tees, watches and PS3 games.
Now in terms of the things I’d planned to do before I left for Hong Kong, I got through say 40% of them….
My CHONGLAND custom theme is still in the oven, but well underway, which I’m quite pleased about. I’ve learned a few things along the way which was one of the aims.
I got out and shot plenty of photos!!! Now it’s a matter of culling and refining the images that I did take. I’ve quite a number that I will try to stitch together to compose a larger image, kind of like panoramic shots, and then I’d also like to animate some of the shots I took as well, after being inspired by what David Hubert did in his video for his time in London. Hit the play button below to check it out, it’s très impressive!!! When/If I get around to doing mine, dependent on how I feel about the photos I took and if they’ll work together, I’ll post it up here. Also keep an eye out on my Flickr page for Hong Kong photos.
Today is the first day of my Christmas holidays. As I type, I’m on an airport shuttle off to catch a plane to Hong Kong. It’ll be the second time this year to Hong Kong and the sixth time in my life. The main purpose of the trip is to attend my cousin Bonnie’s wedding, which takes place on Saturday. I’ve not got to see Bonnie too many times throughout the years, the difficult being that she grew up in Canada and now lives in Hong Kong, but when we did get to speak earlier this year I found out that she had travelled a similar career path to me.
Apart from the wedding, there’ll be plenty of shopping and eating, but I would like to get out and shoot quite a lot of photos as well as get some design work done like editing a short film we shot at tafe years ago, designing the SALT website and re-theming CHONGLAND with a custom theme.
Do you have any extra holidays over Christmas and New Year?? And what plans or projects will you undertake??