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Monday, December 31, 2012

From There and Then To Here And Now: 2012

Dubai:  Castles on the Cloud
Photograph taken from our Fairways apartment by Weng Ho

To paraphrase Mexican songwriter María Méndez Grever (María Grever), what a difference a year makes. 

So this time last year, I was in Dubai, my home of four years, in which I saw a city grow with mad abandon, deny reality, sputter and stall, and then gingerly pick itself up with untold bailout funds from the Capital.  It was a heady time to be in the Gulf and be right in the thick of, or at least, a witness to, some of the region's more implausible wheelings and dealings.  But it was time to move on.   I was consolidating my earthly belongings - all expertly packed by professional movers into 40-something boxes - to start a new job with another luxury hotel group, in a city I've always wanted to live in since, well, forever - Hong Kong.

And what has happened in the past 12 months? 
Well, here are the bulleted highlights:
  • Started this little blog.
  • Moved into Happy Valley.
  • Created my first meme.
  • Started hiking.
  • Re-commenced surfing.
  • Gained five pounds.
  • Lost eight pounds.
  • Dog turned 11.
  • Dog got really sick.  Wasn't eating for five straight days.  Couldn't even stand up.  Spent an astronomical HKD17,000 on two substandard but well-meaning vets who threw every expensive medication and test her way. Found out later that the dog had eaten a piece of rawhide, couldn't digest it, and finally got better when she pooped it out in her own time.
  • Travelled to new cities: Ningbo (work,) Manila (work,) Kota Kinabalu (vacay) and Shenzhen (curiosity.)
  • Had my first Shanghai pedicure.
  • Lost a boss in March.
  • Gained a new boss in August.
  • Survived my first Typhoon 10
  • Made a new BFF.
  • Had a Starbucks chai green tea latte obsession for a month.
  • Interviewed by eight different people over three months and was in a shortlist of two for a regional Starbucks job that didn't eventually go to me.
  • Lost all interest in Starbucks products.
  • Reconnected with old highschool friends from KL, all of whom look annoyingly very much like how they used to decades ago: yes, I'm talking 'bout you - Cheng-Yi, Bhavani, Salina, Chick, Suraya.
  • Got my first Burberry trench.
  • Finally claimed my name on my Twitter account.
  • Ferried to Macau twice.
  • Flew to Singapore for a record four times.
  • Celebrated when Evelyn got married to a lovely Ducati-riding, chocolate-loving marathon hiker banker.
  • Binge-watched entire latest seasons (usually in one or two retina-glazing couch seatings) of Breaking Bad, Dexter, True Blood, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, Damages, The Vampire Diaries, Revenge, The Killing, Pretty Little Liars, Desperate Housewives, Ringer, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Throne of Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Survivor, Gossip Girl, The Newsroom, Parenthood, Homeland.
  • Discovered existence of buttery baked pork buns.
  • My goddaughter turned four and I was there for the party.
  • Vacationed in Adelaide and the South Australian wine region for two weeks.
  • Contracted the dreaded 100-day cough. Again.
  • Started a Pinterest account.
  • Won HKD180 on my first ever bet at Happy Valley Racecourse.
  • Quit my job and got a new one.
  • Welcomed a bumper crop of visitors to Hong Kong - more in 12 months than I'd ever had in four years in the desert (and I wonder why.) So hello and howdy: Susanne, Des, Gerry, Lisa, Seema, Stefano, Suraya, Mom, Dad, Vic, Antony, Kate, Johnny, Joe, Tony, Tina, Jason, Anton, Liviu, Chris, Sarah, Lily, Vincent, and Marion - y'all come back soon now, y'hear? 
That's it in an abbreviated nutshell. 
All glibness aside,
I'm truly grateful everyday for what I'm lucky to have in my life:
some common sense
a good life
good times
I wish you all of these and so much more.
Happy 2013.
The ceaseless churning, screeching, lurching, roar, movements and lights of Causeway Bay.
One of my favourite Hong Kong photos by Weng Ho

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