Monday, February 2, 2015

When Katie Met Sallie

You may think, judging by the title, that I'm about to tell you an adorable, charming story of a new friend I made named Sallie. This is only partially true. It's true that I'm about to tell you a story and that I met someone named Sallie, but it's neither charming nor adorable and I would be lying if I called Sallie a friend of mine.

It's been over a month since my last blog post. And I have yet to tell you all about my New Years and Christmas and everything that's been going on at work... but first... Sallie.

It was a brisk and sunny winter's day. The light beat upon my rouged cheek through the city bus window, whilst my husband sat beside me, staring absent-mindedly at the other lost souls braving the journey along side us. I peered out the window into the haze that lazily moved across the horizon, gently brushing the distant buildings with what appeared to be a blanket of thick, suffocating smog. I tried to stifle my nervousness by humming a simple melody, but my throat was dryer than one thousand deserts. For weeks we had tried to have Samuel added to my pre-existing bank account, but to no avail. We had heard about an HSBC branch, far away in Central Hong Kong, where it was rumored that the banking officers would take mercy on peasant Westerners like us, but it took until this day to work up the courage to travel such a dismal distance. But we knew in our hearts that this was our only chance at freedom. Our weariness was somehow masked by our innocent optimism, and we looked to our future with hope knowing whatever battles we would have to overcome, we would be together. But we could never have been prepared for the events that would unfold at the Lyndhurst Terrace Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Whoa. Okay. That was exhausting. Seriously, how did Margaret Mitchell write 1,000 pages of that?

Now, the remainder of the story in plain English...

Basically, we went to a branch in the city because typically you can find people who speak a little more English down there. The branch in the mall where we live was totally unhelpful and all our friends told us to just go to the city. So we did. We waited a few minutes at the bank and finally were sat down... with Sallie.

Sallie was a middle-aged woman in a pant suit and kitten heels with fierce bangs and a confused demeanor. We handed her our paper work and she had us write down our addresses and account information and such. She bumbled around on her computer for thirty minutes while we just watched in silence, wondering if she even remembered we were sitting there. In that thirty minutes, she also knocked over her cup of pencils twice, made copies of Sam's passport photo page three or four times, dropped a calculator on the floor, and coughed with her mouth open about every three minutes. She then sent us on our way, telling us it would be a week until Sam's bank card would arrive at the branch for pick up.

To a make a long story short, it took seven weeks, three trips to the bank and thirty very angry emails to Sallie for us to get the bank card. And she literally had no idea why I was mad... like as if it was totally normal for her to forget to collect the proper paper work from us the first two times (when I had it with us every time) and we should just be fine with coming in again so Sam can re-sign the same paper twice or bring in yet another copy of his passport. And three times she told me over email  her manager would be dealing with it from now on (to which I said "Fantastic. That's what I've been wanting.") and that never happened either.

Anyway, Sam has his bank card now so he can actually get paid for the job he's been working at for nearly two months. Thanks, Sallie.

Anyway, Sam and I had a lovely Christmas together (our first as married people)!

Our hotel has these weird stuffed animal reindeer all over the lobby and we're always seeing grown men taking pictures with them like this.

Sam and I attended a Christmas Party with Brittany and Jesse at a friend of their's and there was a lovely cheese platter... 

and this giant ham that was resting in the bedroom. 

It was delicious ham. 

On Christmas Eve we ate at a sort of "New Orleans" style restaurant called Restoration. We ate family style with Brittany, Jesse, Max and Rebecca and we all ate entirely too much. But the brussel sprouts had bourbon glaze and pancetta all over them. How could we not?!

After dinner we headed home and recorded an electronic Christmas card and put it on Youtube. 

If you're wondering why I look angry through out the video, it's because I was angry. 
It was late and I was feeling a bit rough. 

On Christmas morning, I woke up to a beautiful gift... some digestive problems and a nasty cold. It's the gift that keeps on giving, really. Despite my illness, Sam and I opened presents and then headed to Disneyland so I could do a show and we could spend some time frolicking. It poured rain all day, but we were determined to have a great time, which means that we didn't really have a very good time. We intended to stay and watch the fireworks but instead we left and got Mcdonalds for dinner. Merry Christmas.

On New Years, Sam and I went out on a Junk Boat with about thirty of our friends. We had pizza and made a lot of noise. We also watched people in other boats who probably have more money than they know what to do with. Our camera died so I have no pictures to show you. Instead, I'll describe what could have been really great photos...

Picture a photo of Sam and I standing on the top of a fancy boat with the beautiful Hong Kong skyline behind us. I'm looking fabulously fit, my hair flowing flawlessly in the wind and my make up is perfect. Sam is smiling at me, paying no attention to the camera because he's so in love. 

And here's a photo of us with all of our friends that took entirely too long to take because there's so many of us. 

Oh, wait. We actually have that. 

We just didn't take it with our camera. I don't even know who did.

As far as work goes, I'm still doing this stuff and I love it.

This past contract has felt a little more relaxed than the last, which is strange because I learned a new show and I've been going back and forth a bit between that and The Golden Mickeys. I've seriously been having so much fun. 

The Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show! 
I'm basically hanging out with my new gal Miss Kitty whenever I'm needed. I must say that performing with live musicians outside in the park is exactly what I needed. 
I'm out in the sun getting a little browner, I get to talk to guests and I'm singing for like nine straight minutes with my saloon girls. I also get to wear a killer costume and be sassy with everyone.

The fact that we do the Hokey-Pokey is just the cherry on top.

Mid-January, Sam's mom Tracey and his Aunt Krista came to visit us! We had so much fun playing tour guide.

Here we are at the Peak! 

And my favorite photo from the whole week...

a selfie that this lady took of us while she was trying to sell us a selfie stick!
I think between Tracey and Krista, five were purchased. Not kidding.

Sam and I have been trying to save up so we can take a trip to Tokyo this spring at the end of my time here in Hong Kong so we've been trying to avoid buying meat and instead we just eat a lot of eggs and nuts. 

As you can see, we're not getting enough protein. 

Here's something cool!

This lady is definitely clipping her finger nails on the bus. 

Last week, I went on a little walk around the area where we live with my friends Rhiannon, Donny and Katie. Sam was home studying. This area is called The Heritage Trail. It was rich with culture and stray cats. 

It's basically some of the oldest buildings in Hong Kong that have been preserved and are right around Tin Shui Wai, of all places. 

Hey, Donny. 

Some sort of shrine.

And a wonky tree. 

And the most important thing we saw on this Heritage Trail-


That was pretty much the whole thing. 

We just needed to get out of the apartment, I guess. 
Afterwards, we all ate pizza and watched Bridesmaids... we also ate a lot of candy... and caramel corn... and we got Mcdonalds ice cream.

This last Friday night, Brittany and I had a lady date in TST at the Hong Kong Cultural Center. We saw the Hong Kong Philharmonic perform with Lea Salonga! If you don't know who Lea Salonga is, I'll give you a brief rundown because she's important. 

She's a Filipina powerhouse who has perfect pitch and can belt her face off. 
Made her professional debut at the age of seven in The King and I.
Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon... she basically IS Miss Saigon... and she won the Tony and pretty much every other award ever given.... also, she was 17. Yeah.
She also played Eponine in Les Mis...
Oh, and she sang for the voices of Jasmine and Mulan. 
So yeah... seeing her perform with the HKphil was the coolest thing I've done in Hong Kong. And she did an ABBA medley for her encore. Thank goodness.

Married life is treating me well, for those of you who have been wondering. Sam and I are working hard to prepare for our return to the states in late April. It's a bittersweet feeling knowing that we're leaving this place because of the family we've got here now, but I miss home and I'm looking forward to whatever lies in store for us there. In the mean time, we're enjoying our last few months. 

And just so everyone knows...

Drug driving may be your journey to death.

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