Sunday, June 21, 2009

Our bags are packed and we're ready to go...

It has been four amazing, life changing years. We have traveled all throughout Asia and witnessed so many things--Acts of faith, saints of faith and the increasing of our faith. We have seen many of the marvels found in Asia and we were fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world.
Here are just a few of the things I shall miss!

Adorable children!

The Star Ferry...a delightful 8 minute ride across the harbor.

The gorgeous flower stalls that make having fresh flowers so affordable!

This view from The Peak showcasing Hong Kong's spectacular city lights !

Our spectacular round window--what a glorious view!

Our unique building at 118 Gloucester Road--home for the past 4 years.

Tuesdays at the temple--serving with my dear Chinese sisters.

Teaching Friday Institute class--the senior couple sisters are pure delight!

Bus #260 that takes me to Stanley for shopping and brings me back home--dropping me off right in front of our building!

The many changing faces of the 'Ding Ding'!

Funny little cars and vanity plates that cost...well, you really don't want to know how much vanity costs in Hong Kong!

Watching the charming San Pan make it's many harbor voyages from our big window!

Glimpses of beauty in unexpected places!

Sheer amazement at how many people will buy their meat from the wet markets...especially on hot, humid days!

Trying on saris in Bangalore India--('cause if I didn't live in Hong Kong, this wouldn't have happened!)

Then posing with my sari dresser!

Familiar dear faces--Irene, Matthew, Christy and Connie.

Mary and Glen's visit--remember how they came with two suitcases, went home with 5--oh, and they have a very large box in our shipment!

Bamboo scaffolding...just watch it go up! (so they are not the fastest climbers in Hong Kong, but at least you get the idea of how it is done.) :)

Sharing Asia with Brett, Julianne, Emma, Ellie and Ryan--Erin, Kara, Adam and Bri and of course, Laurel--watching them all fall in love with Hong Kong!

Impromptu video moments by Erin and Laurel! AND fixing dad lunch every day...(just kidding on that one!)

A sendoff that will never be forgotten!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Material Girl!

Going to the Lo Wu Commercial Plaza in Shenzhen, China, is an adventure. We (my friends and I) fondly refer to it as the great and spacious building. It is five floors filled with hundreds of shops selling anything and everything. As you walk down the isles, hands reach out to grab you and the refrain is always, "Missy, Missy, you take a look?" The first time I went, I was so overwhelmed and scared to death to stop and browse for fear of being pressured into buying something that I didn't want! However, with experience, I conquered my fears and found it to be a fun challenge!

Sandi, the gal in the navy blouse and red necklace, introduced me to Rosie, our tailor. All of us go to her!
Rosie is a marvel and her skills have created many outfits--jackets, pants, skirts, coats, pajamas are just a few of things she has made. A custom tailored jacket and skirt, including the fabric will cost about 40 dollars US. However, the real fun begins when you go to the 5th floor to choose your fabric.
The selection of fabric is so so...what do you think?

These two pictures give you a glimpse of the fabrics available! Most yardage here goes for about $3.00 US /meter. Of course, if you really want to save money on fabric, we go to the fabric district in Hong Kong. It is strictly a street experience, with very few fabric stores. My best price per yard? $1.00 US. The choices are not the same as in Shenzhen, but you can find some wonderful bargains! So. Much. Fun. Fabric shopping at home just can't compete!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We're on the move!

Almost all of the Manoa Hallstroms, (as we used to be called) have been on the move these past few weeks. Erin moved from Denver into our home in North Salt Lake. Brett and Julianne moved from our home into their new home in Woods Cross, Bountiful. Adam and Bri moved from their apartment in Pleasant Grove into their new home in Lehi. And now, we are moving from our apartment in Hong Kong back to our home!
It is amazing how much one can accumulate while living in the shopping capital of the world!

Needing to be packed:

The packers and Gail--who sat and supervised their packing!

The crating and boxing--everything completed by 4 pm.

Now all that remains is the unpacking and finding places for everything--that will begin on June 30th! Oh, what fun!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Killing Fields...

I have wanted to post about this for a long time--but not wishing to offend anyone, I kept putting if off. However, I strongly feel that a visit to Cambodia is not complete without visiting that part of history that cannot not be ignored. In 1973, Pol Pot overthrew the government of Cambodia and established a military controlled regime. (In 1973, I was a young mother just starting a new life in Hawaii...absorbed in my life, not realizing what was happening in Cambodia.) Pol Pot was brutal. He had the same convictions as Chairman Mao and believed that all who were educated or of an upper class needed to be repatriated--which he did through work camps and death squads. Almost everyone living in Cambodia today has suffered the loss of family and friends.
Just outside of Phenom Phen, there is a quiet grove of trees that at first glance looks to be a small park. In actuality, it is one of many groves where thousands of Cambodians were taken (many after being tortured), to die a brutal death. When approaching the grove, the first thing you see a large Stupa.
It is a memorial to the dead, and houses the skulls of over 8,000 people. The brutal methods of killing are irrefutable when gazing at the remains. Scattered throughout the grove, you can see mounds of dirt and holes. The mounds are the remaining mass graves that have been left in peace. The holes signify that the bodies have been removed
. As you walk along the path, you are touched and horrified by the bits of cloth and bone that has worked it's way to surface. Then you realized that the path is only for today's walk--back then it was a part of the mass graves.
Their brutality was chilling. Trees were used to hang loudspeakers to muffle the cries of death. Trees were used as killing instruments on small children--they didn't want to waste their bullets.

These groves are called 'The Killing Fields." Today, they are the caretakers of their dead, standing as a witness against man's inhumanity to man.