Saturday 3:00 AM HKT
So this "morning" I had my pick time for classes for next semester. I can't believe I've already picked courses out for the spring 2017 term. My pick time was at 3pm EST, but since Hong Kong is twelve hours in advance my pick time was at 3am HKT! I set an alarm to wake up at 2:30am so that I could check and see if my courses were still open, but I randomly woke up at 2:15am so I decided to just stay awake. Unfortunately only four out of five classes were open, but a business class I want to take "The Legal & Ethical Environment of Business" was added to my schedule by the registrar in advance. However, I did not realize that they had manually added the business course to my schedule beforehand so I panicked when I first saw only four of my courses were successfully added to my schedule. After picking classes I couldn't fall asleep again until 4am, which was bad because I had to wake up again at 7:45am!
The blue dot is where the family's house is, all the way in the New Territories. Very far away from Kennedy Town, which is on the island.
Family Sharing Program
I had to wake up at 7:45am today because I am participating in HKU's "Family Sharing Program". The program is for exchange students to get a better understanding of the culture here. I was matched with a family in which the father was a HKU alum. They had invited me to their house for one of their daughters 8th birthday party. They were to pick me up at a MTR station at 10am, and it was far away so I got on the subway at 9am.
I bought each of the two daughters a little cupcake because I did not know which one's birthday it was. They are ages three and turning eight. When I got in their car the dad was driving, the mom was in the front seat, the two girls were in the middle and another lady was sitting in the back. The lady sitting in the back was not a member of their family, but their maid. Later after talking to her, she told me she was from Indonesia and lives with the family. After getting in the car I offered the girls their present, but they were both shy and didn't say anything. The mom could tell that they wanted the food, but stated that they should not be given the gift if they would not say "thank you" with eye contact. Hmmm, tiger mom maybe?
After getting picked up, we ran some errands for a couple of hours to pick up snacks, drinks and desserts for the birthday party. Then we went back to their house, where we ate lunch (pictured above). The middle picture is what they served me with meat of course, I had to tell them that I did not eat meat. The third picture is of their condo. It had multiple floors with the lowest floor being the family room (third picture). The next floor up was the kitchen and table and the third floor was the master bedroom. After the master bedroom it was the older daughter's room and a small room that their maid sleeps in. The final floor was a messy home office for both of the parents. I thought that their condo was average in terms of quality and space, but every other car in that community (besides that family's) was a luxury car; BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover, Audi, Maserati, Porsche and I even saw two Ferrari's! In Hong Kong the majority of cars are high end, and even Tesla's are a very common sight. While I do see Honda's, Toyota's, VW's, etc. they are few and far between, and they always look brand new. The only old cars that I see here are the taxis.
The birthday party was in a public park, which was about a five minute drive from their house. About fifteen friends came and their parents stayed too. They played lots of games, and had snacks. I talked to some of the parents, as they could speak English too. One of the parents told me that this was not a typical birthday party, that they usually have them in the clubhouse of their community and they are huge events with many guests and they usually have a BBQ.
I had a good day, and the family was very nice to me. They later messaged me inviting me to go hiking with them sometime in November. The blue dot on the map is where I ended up taking the MTR back to Kennedy Town (Hong Kong Island) from. It was very far away and took me over an hour, and I had to ride four different MTR lines. I was very close to the mainland Chinese border by the end of the day. Early to bed for me tonight, I am very tired after waking up in the middle of the night!