Thursday, May 14, 2009

'YA YA'...It's Happy Birthday Time!

Today is the Bear's birthday! I am so excited to share with all of you some of the wonderful things we love about this daughter of ours.

Several years ago, Kara coined the phrase, 'YA YA,' in our family whenever something wonderful was about to, or had happened. She had everyone saying it, from little 2 year old Ellie on up! (Well, okay, not her dad!) So this Ya Ya is for you, bear--the third Ya is how the chinese would say it! (this is my tailor's sewing machine)

She loves her sisters and they are the best of friends! They get a little crazy at times when they are together, but the predominant theme is always lots of love and laughter.

Kara lights up a room with her witticisms and humor. She manages to have everyone laughing whether they want to or not! Brett has always been her biggest fan--and she his!

Of course, we cannot forget her 'little fan club." Kara dotes on them--they are so lucky to have such a darling aunti!
You may know that she is a budding seamstress. (See? A mother's dream really can come true.) How would it be to sew one's creations on a pink and white sewing machine AND one that Project Runway endorses? That is so Kara!

Add to that her knitting skills, her gift for writing, her decorating talents, her 'luck' in finding incredible shopping bargains and you begin to see what a multi-talented gal she is!

Her enthusiasm for travel is becoming legendary. She has a book about a 1000 places to see before you die...which she is diligently checking off. She has been to Hong Kong, China, Japan, Bali, England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and the list continues. YA YA for Kara!

Kara has always loved animals. We had Patches, (her cat) Twinkles, (her bunny), and a stinky little white mouse called Mickey. When we went to Thailand, we had to walk down to the baby elephant pen, so Kara could exclaim, 'Oh, look at the cute widdle babies,' and other baby talk anecdotes that had the mama elephant a little worried!

We adore her! We love her bear hugs! We love her beautiful smile! But most of all, we love that she is our daughter. Happy Birthday darling Kara! YA YA!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It Made Me Tear!

A view from the streetIn December of 2005, we had an exciting event happen right outside of our building. Right up the street from where we live is the Hong Kong Convention Center. It is a wonderful looking building that hosts many conventions throughout the year.

This particular event was the World Trade Organization Conference. Because of the sensitive nature of the talks, it was expected that there would be lots of protests during the days that they were convened. Sure enough, the protesters didn't disappoint, and the streets around Gloucester Road were cordoned off and filled with approximately 10,000 protesters--3000 of them from Korea! Because it took place in front of our building, we could neither go in or out during the 3 days that they were camped outside--AND church was cancelled for our building. Basically, we were under house arrest!

Most of the time, the protesters sat peacefully on the road!

Of course, where their are protesters, you will also have the police! Several news stories reported that there were 9,000 police on duty. I am not sure if that is accurate, but I do know that a lot of them were outside of our building.

Some police standing in the alcove of our building!

Here is a quote from a news story about what happened on Saturday night... "On the Saturday of the summit the protests escalated as a concerted attempt was made to shut the WTO. Faced by lines of police the demonstrators tried to push their way into the conference centre. They but were met by vicious attacks by the police who used pepper spray, riot shields and batons to beat them back. At one point the police used a water cannon and fire extinguishers against the demonstration. Then without warning three rounds of tear gas were fired into the crowd melting it back away from the police lines. Another five rounds were later fired at the remaining protesters until all were cordoned off on a main road."

We were witnesses to the tear gas. When the melee erupted, it was a confusing mass of uniforms and protesters shoving at each other. We (Dad, the Garns, and the Oakes) were standing on the 12th floor balcony, watching this unfold. When the tear gas was released, it took about 40 seconds for it to reach us. It was unbelievable how fast acting it was! My eyes were smarting and immediately began tearing. My throat was raw and I began to cough. We quickly ran back into the apartment and closed the door--not venturing back out for the rest of the evening. It took about 15 minutes for the effects of the tear gas to go away. I learned first hand what a powerful weapon it can be. I would highly recommend wearing a gas mask if at an event where tear gas is on the program!