Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Outings and LineUps.

What an interesting week!! Paul , Sam, and Lizzy had scout outings, we visited the Hong Kong science museum and John was in a police lineup.

Starting with the most unusual happening of our week....I received a call from a friend of a friend who has teen boys, too. Her sons have often worked for a talent agency doing various extra type work for commercials and print ads when they need Anglo boys. So she received a call from the talent company asking if her sons could be the extras in a police lineup at the Mongkok police station the following day. Apparently an Anglo teenager committed a crime and a witness needed to ID him in a lineup. Her sons couldn't go because of a prior commitment, so she thought of John. I contacted the talent person and got all the details. Steve and I discussed it and decided to let John do it if he wanted. He did! Especially when he heard it paid $800 HK (about $103 USD). He called his friend Oliver and Oliver fit the bill, too, so they went together. I believe it was worth it without the money, because all afternoon whenever someone asked where John was...I got to say, "At the police station....doing a lineup".

Paul and Sam spent Saturday doing a modern navigation exercise. The troop is divided into 4 patrols consisting of 5-6 scouts each. Paul and Sam are in different patrols. The patrols are led by an older scout. At their last meeting, each patrol chose a museum in Hong Kong and they made plans to go together the following Saturday. Pauls patrol went to the Hong Kong university museum of art. Sam's patrol went to the Hong Kong History Museum. They each had to meet their patrol at the nearest MTR station then navigate together to the museum and home again safely. Steve and I spent some time going over the route with each one and making sure phones were charged, etc... They each got off at the appointed time and both returned safe and happy. Whew...

Lizzy and I boarded a bus in the Discovery Bay north plaza and rode for about an hour till we arrived at the Pak Tam Chung park about an hour later. We met hundreds of other scouts from our district (the 29th Silver Jubilee Discovery Scouts) for a fun day. Lizzy and her fellow Beavers participated in an orienteering activity, an activity about explorers, a cookout, and a campfire. We sang songs and watched skits...Very similar to scouts back home...some of the same songs, some of the same skits, and lots of the same scout fun. Pretty cool! Lizzy and her friend, Lucy had a wonderful time together. Lucy is the daughter of a missionary couple who are now ministering as full time pastors of a local English speaking church, while the pastor husband attends seminary for his D.Min. Nice young couple who've been in China for 6 years, Hong Kong for mom of this couple grew up in Deatsville, Alabama! Nice family and Lizzy and Lucy at two peas in a pod. This family homeschools, too!

Here are some photos of the scout fun day:

Lucy and Lizzy on the bus.

Discovery Bay Beavers waiting instructions with other Beaver scout troops
Playing during a break
Lizzy is writing down the clues for her group during the orienteering scavenger hunt

Climbing wall


Not quite a real challenge for monkey girl

Getting ready for the campfire

This is only one side of the crowd. There were 300 scouts total there.

And because it was so cute...here is a picture of a dog waiting on its owner outside a shop in the plaza the other day. Lizzy and I laughed and laughed at it.


And here is a picture of our sweet Dixie playing ball in the grassy area outside our flat.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Scouts, Library cards, and other stuff...

This was a big week for the Glenn scouts. They were all invested into their respective groups and became full members of the Silver Jubilee District 29th scout troop. Lizzy is a Grasshopper, while Sam and Paul are scouts. Not Boy Scouts...just scouts. Each group is coed.

Lizzys group reminds me of Tiger Cubs in USA cub scouts. They have lots of fun and learn through playing games. So far they have covered map and compass skills, learned about airplanes and learned cooperation and sharing with large group games, scavenger hunts and a paper airplane assembly and launch. She likes scouts a lot.


Lizzy beginning invested into scouts

Paul and Sam are in the older scout group for 11-16 yr olds. All their meetings are outside in a nice playground area of one of the local schools. The activities are similar to BSA (Boy Scouts of America), the promise and law are similar. It was founded based on Lord Baden Powells British boys scouts, so much is very British. The troop comes in full dress uniform to every meeting. They learn to stand at ease and at alert (attention) and they are very rigid about procedures during the meetings. The scout master leads the meetings (different that Boy Scouts lead the meetings in the USA) and older Boy Scouts called patrol leaders help. There are four patrols in the troop, each is a group of 5-7 scouts led by an older Boy Scout. The boys like the troop very much. Paul likes the strictness of the meetings. Sam likes the uniform and the military way.



Paul being invested into scouts


Sam being invested into scouts

All three of our Hong Kong Scouts

All three want to continue participating in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. So we have signed each one of them up as lone scouts, even John. Steve and I are also signed up as leaders. This way each of them can continue progressing in their respective programs and earn merit badges and patches along with their groups from home. Sam especially was saddened at the thought of "falling behind" his friends. This reassures him he can and will keep progressing. It also helps that Paul is willing to teach Sam rank advancements. They worked on lashing yesterday together for a long time. John will join the Order of the Arrow group here in Hong Kong. Not sure yet how active it is or where the group meets, but he will begin as soon as his registration for the lodge goes through.

We've really missed our library visits, so I made it a priority to learn about the library system of Hong Kong. Started the process by visiting the Hong Kong Central Library.


It is a beautiful building near where the boys are taking a music class, so that helped to spur me on! We arrived and talked to the registration folks and like everything here...there are lots of forms to fill out and many items of personal ID are required. So we got the forms and left. Today, Lizzy, Sam, Paul, and I set out on a quest to find the nearest branch in the nearby town of Tung Chung.


Everything begins with a bus ride...


Short walk and we found it! Hooray, it is bigger than I thought it would be and has nice facilities.


First we did schoolwork.



Some of us more diligent than others...


They processed our paperwork...took some blood of the firstborn...ok, maybe not, but we finally got our cards! Hooray!

We checked out books
And more books...
So comforting to have familiar favorites to read.

And now this is what the bus ride looked like going home. Ahhh...success.

And just because he is so funny so much...a few pictures of RickyBobby.
Lizzy and I were watching Aristrocrats and RB jumped up and tried to catch the images on TV.

His favorite perch. The cat tower Paul built sitting beside a nice sunny window.

Now, I'm going to go enjoy my afternoon. School is done, supper is in the crockpot and my new helper came today and the house is sparkling clean!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hiking Lamma Island

Hong Kong has a fair number of homeschoolers. But there is no requirement for us to be registered or to be involved in a group, so it's hard to say exactly how many there are. Homeschooling is not illegal here, but it is not common. We connected with a group of homeschoolers prior to coming to HK and they have been a great resource for us. However, we were amazed to find that most of the people coming to activities were those with very young children. Very few families with teens were doing any activities together. So, I emailed the leaders and asked if any teens were interested in meeting up. Turns out they all were! Ha! But all thought no one else would be, so none asked the question. So, since that first email, our teen group has had a get together in a local park, met for a music jam at a local music studio, and hiked Lamma island. So, I would say the homeschool teens group is doing ok! It is a mixed group of folks, some Americans, some English, some Chinese, some Singaporians and even a French-American family. John is out tonight with a couple of the teens and is developing friendships with a few of these teens. We are so thankful for this group. They are adding much to our experiences here in Hong Kong.

This is Lamma island ferry terminal...where we arrived. We started by taking a ferry from Discovery Bay to Central and then a ferry from Central to one side of Lamma island.

Arrived in the village of Yung Shue Wan to begin hiking the family trail.

Lots of shops along the beach



SanSan, Tiffin, John, and Yzang

The beach outside Yung Shue Wan

The trail is paved the entire route and goes up and over the island between the two main villages, Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. Both villages have a ferry pier, so most folks arrive on one side or another, hike over the island and then take a ferry back to Central. The hike takes about an hour and a half and is about 3.5 miles and quite hilly in places. Lizzy was a trooper and we managed it fine. But we were tired and hungry by the time we arrived on the other side.

A rest stop along the trail.

Nicely paved trail the whole way

The views were worth the hike!

Lizzy saw this little house and immediately said,"It's just my size! Take my picture!!"
Rounding the bend and seeing the other ferry stop.
Paul and the other long haired American 13 year old boy.
American Thomas and his French wife, Flo. He is a music teacher and organized the music jam for the group.
This is the hiking group. There are several more teens who couldn't come this day, but we've enjoyed hanging out with them at different times. Most of these teens are from America and Singapore with only one young lady being a Chinese citizen. Two of the girls are twins, Indian by race, but American by birth. One young man has dual French and American citizenship. And one brother sister pair hold dual citizenship in Singapore and the U.K. Quite a group!

The streets of the village Sok Kwu Wan

An awesome sea food restaurant!
The village from the ferry pier.

Waiting on the ferry.

Lizzy happy to be heading back to Discovery Bay.