26 July 2011

Picture Post!

As promised, some photos from my first week and a half here in hong kong!

23 July 2011

Getting Acquainted with Hong Kong

The last few days I have been wandering Hong Kong, learning the routes to and from stores and the places I will be working.

Four days I will be at the Mission for Migrant Workers, located at St. John's Cathedral on Hong Kong Island. Two days during the week I will be at the Bethune House, a shelter for women located in Kowloon (close to wear I live). I have had a little training so far, and a history lesson about the Philippines as well, but I have so much to learn!

Spencer left for home yesterday and I was sad to see her go! She was an amazing guide and gracious hostess during my first week (and her last week!) here. If not for her I would be so lost! So I am wishing her lots of success as she heads to law school in DC this fall.

Services at the Cathedral are amazing. I have been at the 9am sung service the last two Sundays and I just adore it. The basic format of the service is the same as it is back home-- songs, readings, prayers, Eucharist-- with some variations. I learned today that the Intercessors write their own prayers (and the congregation responds en masse, Lord, have mercy or something similar), which I think is such a lovely idea. You have to get here early for a seat though---services fill up quickly! They have a Filipino service in the afternoon as well. I am so looking forward to being a part of the spiritual community here.

My friend Christian was here for a few days with his mom and sister. He attended the YASC discernment weekend with me in February but chose to defer for a year. It was so good to see him again!! I hadn't seen him since then (except for a brief Skype conversation that we had with him during the orientation in Toronto), but it was good to spend time with him. We went on some tours around Hong Kong and had our fortunes told on Temple street. So interesting!

Learning about the plight of migrant workers here in Hong Kong has been particularly interesting (and important for the work I am doing). People come from the Philippines (and other countries), some of them have university degrees and have been nurses or teachers, but the pay is so much better here as a domestic helper that they leave behind families and loved ones to come here and work. Unfortunately, they cannot just become direct hires, they have to go through Recruitment Agencies, and often these agencies charge exorbitant--and illegal--fees. I will commend to those interested in learning more to read the following articles:

Overseas Filipino Workers : article from a blog by the Central Philippine University

Mission for Migrant Workers : The Mission I am working for has a great newsletter with many articles about current events going on in the migrant community.

A video documenting the experience of a migrant worker with the Philippine Labour Attache to Hong Kong Romulo Salud:

Please feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. The internet at my apartment is down so I have to go elsewhere for a connection, but once it is fixed I will upload the photos I have taken so far. Thanks for all your support!

Grace and Peace,

20 July 2011

Week 1 almost gone!

What an amazing week!

I have been getting acclimated to my new home here in Hong Kong. Spencer has taken me around the neighborhood and introduced me to my co-workers and a few friends. The Cathedral is amazing and I'm looking forward to working there. The Bethune House is also a wonderful place to be--I met so many lovely ladies there, and I even helped make Spring Rolls!

I will start working on Sunday so I am taking this first week to get over my jetlag (I get so sleepy in the afternoons!) and find my way around the city. Spencer and I went to Lamma island last night for dinner--I am really looking forward to going back there to hike when it gets cooler! Such a neat place.

I really love Hong Kong so far and will share a few pictures! Looking forward to an amazing year here! I promise I will upload some pictures soon ;)

17 July 2011

Greetings from Hong Kong!

I have arrived safely (with all my luggage in tact!) in Hong Kong! I got here Saturday night around 7pm local time after a long 15 hour flight from Detroit. The flight wasn’t too bad, there were lots of movie and tv choices and I even got a nap in.

Spencer collected me at the airport and has been a very gracious hostess so far. The apartment is small but can hold two people comfortably, and after we dropped off my things we went out for sushi. I was pretty tired though so when we got back I pretty much crashed.

This morning I went to the 9am service at St. John’s Cathedral (http://www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk) and it was so beautiful—and packed! Standing room only at most services, and a wonderful blend of people. They even use incense at some of the services. I am so thrilled to be a part of this community.

After the service we had coffee with a few folks in the parish hall and then Spencer and I headed up to the mission for migrant workers. She introduced me around, showed me where things are located and we spent some time chatting with some of the ladies there. Spencer treated everyone to a fabulous pizza lunch, but afterwards I was feeling pretty sleepy so I headed back to the apartment to catch a nap.

Spencer came home around 4:30 and we went down to check out the harbor. It is amazing!! What a view. We walked down the Avenue of Stars (which is a lot like Grauman’s Chinese Theater), and I got my picture taken with my hands in Jackie Chan’s handprints and beside the Bruce Lee statue. Around 8 o’clock every night they have a light show with music, and all the buildings in the harbor coordinate a big light production. I haven’t seen it yet but it is definitely on the list.

We stopped by a neighborhood restaurant for a dinner of chicken pineapple fried rice (and octopus soup!) and came back to the apartment to eat. I am catching up on emails and skyped with my parents a bit. Looking forward to a great day tomorrow!!! Hope all is well back home, please feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions!