Now that the kids are older, we’ve been doing something new with them every weekend. Over Chinese New Year, One weekend we did a hike in our extended neighbourhood. It was beautiful. Another weekend I took the kids to the India by the Bay family day, which was a series of India-themed activities. Another weekend, we decided to go fly a kite. This is not as simple as it looks because kite flying is not permitted everywhere in Hong Kong. In fact, to avoid disappointment, I identified a country park with a ‘designated kite flying area’. Unfortunately, when we got there, there was little wind. However, the park itself was beautiful, and we hung about, the kids climbing trees, then chasing people with dogs and asking if they could pet them. And finally, the wind picked up and we did fly the kite – V is a veteran in this regard, and I must say I think he enjoyed the activity the most.

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about what comes after the PhD, seeing as I’m in the final semester. The unfortunate thing in Hong Kong is that a permanent teaching position at the university level seems unlikely the first year, and I’m probably going to have to scramble with part-time positions, and probably earn less than I did when I was a student. Which is patently ridiculous. But it is what it is, so I’ve been scrambling to put together a CV and references and teaching portfolio and what not, when all I want to do is focus on writing my PhD. And of course, writing a CV makes me feel inadequate because I feel like other people have more attractive things on their CV. Hmph.

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Since Nene graduated from kindergarten, the playdates have eased off and I have to say I’m relieved. Well, towards the end it was helpers and kids going for playdates which suits me, but I did feel guilty about not inviting the moms over. Well, last week, Nene started asking for a playdate with his new friend, and here we go again. Of course, he had to pick a kid who lives in a big house, has a car etc. The kind of kid whose parents think using the MTR is an adventure and not a regular mode of transport, and then arranging it so we can take a car instead. The mums are always nice about it, but I feel poor in comparison. I become conscious of the size of my house, the fact that we have a cupboard in our living room that contains a mix of clothes, toys and even some food. That I do not possess matching sets of tea cups. I struggle to think of what food to serve etc. I cannot seem to present things in the proper twee way. Like buying pre-packaged cups of fruit instead of just chopping up fruit at home and putting it in an extant plastic container. I always feel like I should have done something more gracefully, while being in the end unwilling to drum up the requisite enthusiasm to actually do things gracefully. Right now I’m blaming it on my house not having enough space to be a graceful host. Bah.

***

I have finally come to agree with what V has been saying for a long time. We have way too much stuff (for our house… and thereby income… size). I finally reached my own bottomline, and began a massive clean-up. I realised the collection of books we’ve accumulated for the kids over the years had to be pruned drastically (my own collection I am selfishly hanging on to, but to be fair, I have shipped off some books to my mum, and might send others to my in laws). I sorted through, advertised on our neighbourhood and to my surprise, they were taken eagerly and quickly. Next, I sorted through and ruthlessly culled their collection of arts and crafts from school over the past two to three years. I realised that what looks too precious to dump is much easier to let go off three years down the line when you’ve accumulated a garbage bag of similar stuff. So now we’ve down to a few largish folders each. Finally, I took a critical eye to my own collection of books and found at least 10 I could let go off. Next stop, the toy boxes.

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