I pulled a shard of glass out of my hair at the dinner table tonight. Running my hands through my hair, I thought I had found an odd patch of dandruff, but came away with a rather sharp piece of broken window. I’d been happily sipping a glass of wine but that moment sent a shockwave through me.
In the aftermath of the biggest storm of 2018, I looked out and it was sunny. After everything that happened in the last 24 hours, it didn’t feel right that the day could be bright and cheery. I was sad about the trees that fell, and how scared I had been and knowing other people had been more scared, and lost so much more. Dozens have died in these storms.
When things are crazy, and they have been crazy, it’s even more important to me and harder for me to find the good in things. So this blog is going on eleven days of drafting. Of opening and staring at it. Closing. But here we are. Here we go. Onward towards some goodness.
100 very specific things I am grateful for. In not much order at all. But just the next 25 right now.
74. Knowing that I have an HK family that I will get to celebrate Thanksgiving with. I made my grandma Susi’s potatoes last year and they were such a hit, and now I know HK well enough that I don’t have to stress out about where to find the obscure ingredients like sour cream and Chex mix.
73. Mini buses and all the fun things you see on them. Like once I saw my driver pluck a neck hair in the mirror at a stop light. I’ve smelled everything that has ever died on a bus. Today I was that person though. Today I bent my big toenail all the way back on the bus because he slammed on the brakes, and I ran into the seat in front of me, which snapped my toenail dang near off. I said some choice words, then had to speak Cantonese through sobbing for my bus stop. Even more fun because Asians do not do public emotions and that is what I am. Anyway. I started bleeding out, had to then walk down 11 flights of stairs to work. The school secretary performed some surgery on me, I limped through the day, and it’s all kind of funny now.
72. All the stairs in HK – including the six flights I take up to my apartment every day. Surely my body will be showing some more of the benefits soon. Or just like any benefits.
71. The constant pollution and humidity that must be doing wonders for my skin. Or bringing me closer to when I’ll meet Jesus. Either/or situation there.
70. My job provides me with excellent health and dental insurance. Three years in Brazil without were terrible. Here I know I am taken care of in event of any health anything.
69. Opportunities for me to lead worship or do open mike nights because that is the stuff that fills my soul.
68. The way my coworkers get so excited when I bring in baked goods, because it’s very American but also most people don’t have ovens here. I am baking up some blueberry muffins right now and it smells like growing up with my mom and makes me happy.
67. That our landlords painted our apartment this summer and also replaced our camper stove top and I no longer feel like I’m going to burn my eyebrows off every time I turn it on.
66. Trips to look forward to in my very near future . . . Macau with the girls and South Korea with my bestie in October! I feel like Korea is going to be a very interesting trip . . . hang out with Laura Fitch, visit the DMZ, possibly scouting for my next employment opportunity. Who knows. Also FOOD.
65. The website rainycafe.com. Weather in Hong Kong always looks so dreary outside, so you think it’s all cold and snuggly, but it’s hot as heck and you’re inside with the air con on so you can be under a blanket. On rainycafe.com you can play a combination of rain sounds and cafe sounds to promote productivity and to match the clouds outside. I heart it.
64. Junk boats. They are these party boats you can rent in Hong Kong and get out of the city, sail around to coves, trying to avoid jellyfish, busting out your cheesy floaties, and pretend none of you are ever growing up.
63. The cats of Sai Ying Pun. A recently started instagram has highlighted an adorable quirk of SYP, where I live. This area is also known as the dry seafood market area. Which means it smells to high heavens. And most people have cats to keep away….don’t want to think about it, but they love their cats and they’re so cute cute.
62. Fresh markets where I can pick up anything I need without using plastic, haggling with the cranky woman who always upcharges me for avocados or sampling something weird with Tao at his veggie stand.
61. Getting to coach softball as an after school activity. These kids growing up in Hong Kong have never seen a baseball field (we don’t even really have lawn anywhere I can think of) and most haven’t seen or been to a game. I’m not sure why they signed up as they can’t catch or throw or hit but man my heart was full in that hour, sharing something I love with kids I love.
60. The fact that I can’t really fit into any clothes here in Hong Kong means that I save a lot of money on unnecessary shopping. No mindless shopping at Target, when I go in for Qtips and come out with a new duvet and groceries. I channel all this money into my travel fund, which is better for me anyway. Because I was going to travel anyway.
59. The incredible instaworthyness that is my neighborhood. Its old brick buildings and funky store fronts make everyone with a wedding dress or a pair of sneakers think they’re a model and I love it. There is also some super cool legitimate murals around, dedicated to women and to Bruce Lee and the concrete landscape.
58. Steamed pork dumplings in paper bags, steam rising, burning my hands, burning my tongue, delish as anything, cheap as dirt.
57. The growing movement towards a zero waste lifestyle here in HK. We are on the brink of a revolution! I can feel it.
56. My “Not today, Satan” shirt that I got off Amazon. It’s comfy. And says what I need to say.
55. How it’s finally become really socially acceptable to wear Birkenstocks and other comfort shoes. Praise be that my flat feet problems and the shoes I require for them are now so trendy.
54. Two days off work. Honest to goodness I was beside myself through that typhoon. Our power going out early, our roof being destroyed, leaks and high winds, watching the world fall apart out our way too many windows, and then my roomie probably needing to go to hospital but us being stuck with no way to get there did me in. I have been so so grateful to just sit and zone out and let the adrenaline exit my body after Mangkhut.
53. The absolutely epic cleanup crew that has been going through Hong Kong, chainsawing their way through all the fallen trees starting at 1am the night of the storm. I can’t believe how quickly the city has been able to come back together. The teams are incredible.
52. New Simple Modern bottles from our delicious friend Ben, visiting from Oklahoma. Honestly they are the most amazing product. Better than swell, yeti, and whatever else combined. And also BEN IS HERE!!! A lovelier human would be hard to find.
51. The massive outpouring of love and prayers we received through the typhoon. Whoa. I know some of the greatest people on earth and that’s for certain. It was really truly scary, especially with the power out, our rooftop being torn up, bits falling off our house, and then Suz getting her hand sliced open. And I do NOT do blood. So to be able to throw out texts and a Facebook message in response to all the queries we were getting and then receive so much advice and encouragement and prayer was awesome. We live in a beautiful world yeah we do.
50. Speaking of awesome angels in a storm, I have to end with our neighbors who are now friends. Desperate for power, air con (it’s still very very hot in a typhoon), and to charge our phones to stay in touch with family, we wandered through our building and knocked on the door of what happened to be a very lovely couple from Christchurch. They let us in, I became their dog whisperer, they shared maple sausages and I made hash browns. We charged devices and exchanged life stories and then they helped us get power on again in our apartment. All four of us were unshowered and in pajamas and clearly in tiny states of panic. Their lovely dog peed all over our rug, but let me cuddle him like a baby and that did wonders for my heart. Our time together was helpful and cozy and community. It made the afternoon pass quickly and I was so thankful. They always say to look for the helpers and we found them. Harriet and Lawrence – cheers to you.
If you haven’t heard it yet today and you need to – I’d sit through the biggest storm with you.