What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

Definitely ideas from all the non-fiction I have been reading. I feel like I have learned so much this year. The growth that happens through fiction is more emotional and macro; non-fiction learning is very specific.

But since this series has a lot of prompts about books, I’m going to talk about the outdoors. I spent a lot of time outdoors this year, partly because I have a toddler. So mornings every weekend, we go outside to some playground and I occasionally slide down slides.

The playgrounds in Hong Kong are quite amazing, though people here of course complain about them. Our estate, a private expensive-ish one, is connected by Hong Kong’s warren of overhead walkways to two public housing estates on either side. While the outdoor playground in our estate is basically a manicured patch of grass, the two public estates have the whole swing-slide-jungle gym set up outdoors (in our estate, this is indoors because wealthy parents prefer to have their kids indoors, I’m assuming. Boo!). Not sure I am allowed to do this, but I freely use the other two playgrounds and I find the lower income kids there, from the much-reviled Mainland no less, more friendly. I even have a regular old Chinese uncle who I chat with, which doesn’t sound like much, but in Hong Kong it’s quite amazing.

We normally do a walk around the estates, during which Benji marvels at buses and tries to touch the odd dog. People here are strangely averse to their dogs being touched, probably fearing that the dog might do something that causes us to complain but this goes against the grain of dog-owning I think. And I have gotten sick of accosting people and demanding to be allowed to touch their dog while they try to slip away. Then we might nip into the bus interchange to marvel more at buses.

In the evenings, I try to take him to the park in our estate, even though it can be a little boring because I want him to be outdoors. This weekend we took Mimi too and let her crawl on the grass, only she put some mud in her mouth and I scared another kid by yelling “No!”

Apart from that, we end up doing at least one jaunt with the kids, carefully chosen to fit the various naptimes, and getting some sunshine. One weekend it was the farmer’s market, another a Chinese garden. We have begun to take Mimi and she loves being outdoors. We end up getting a lot of exercise on these outings. And I like being in the fresh air. And V has been more amenable instead of putting on a you-are-dragging-me-off-couch-again of late maybe because the weather is better. I’m generally in a good mood after it.

As Mimi grows older, I only envisage more these. Specifically trip to the beach.

When I finished writing this post, I realised it was probably more appropriate to the next prompt in the series. So I’ve decided to combine them. Consider this my response to this too:

exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

What will I change? About this, nothing. Except more of the same. Today we went to the zoo and it was glorious fun.