02 November 2011

November is here!

I am closing in on four months here in Hong Kong. The weather is slowly changing from HOT to Hot. As friends back home report record snows in October I sit back and enjoy the 80 degree sunny weather. I will take it!

November looks to be a busy month. I am still working to get my client out of custody (she already served her time, she is waiting on repatriation but has a case to file), there is a Give Care to the Care Givers event on November 13, an Anglican Alliance conference the week of November 13, English Classes with the Indonesians on Sundays, and Thanksgiving on November 24.

Edwina (Director of Bethune House) is helping me to get Teresa out of the Immigration Centre. We are trying to work with her Welfare Officer to convince them to release her into our custody so that she can file her claims at the Labour Tribunal. Her employer is refusing to pay her the wages she is due or to give her her personal belongings. (If she threw out the belongings then she should pay her for their estimated value.) Regardless of the verdict that was handed down her employer still must fulfill her obligations. Teresa has already lost so much because of this case. I will hopefully go to see her either this afternoon or tomorrow.

Earlier this year my predecessor Spencer helped to submit a project to Love Ideas HK, a public philanthropic campaign intiated by the Li Ka Shing Foundation to engage Hong Kong citizens in a united effort to improve the community. Our project, Give Care to Our Care Givers, was funded at the HK$200,000 level and will fund a series of Sundays (every other month) that provide services to Helpers in Hong Kong. Seminars, health booths, fun activities, computers to skype with family members back home--these are just a few of the ways we will give back to the people who take care of others.

The other day I bumped into Father Des(mond) at the Cathedral and he said, "Oh, Kathleen, how are your secretarial skills?" "Fantastic!" I replied. "Why do you ask?" He proceeded to tell me about the Anglican Alliance and how they will be having a conference here in Hong Kong the week of November 13. Members of aid organizations from all over the Anglican Communion (including the Episcopal Relief and Development from the States!) gather to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, to be a voice for the voiceless, to reconcile those in conflict, and to safeguard the earth. I am so thrilled to be a part of it!! I will work with a secretary from Lambeth Palace (!!!) and a man from Kenya, have dinner with the Archbishop of Hong Kong, and otherwise enjoy being a part of something really amazing. More on this as it happens!

Some of my students after class
My English classes are coming together. I have had the first class with both groups and am working on a syllabus for the rest of our time together. I'm afraid the holidays will interrupt a bit but we can make up for it. They were actually begging for homework! I wish I could see them more frequently but because there are so many and they are only free on Sundays that limits the time we have. I will just do my best and let God handle the rest. (That sounded like a bumper sticker...) I am hoping to have a Thanksgiving with them on November 20th and invite some of my friends to come so they can practice their English and learn a little about American culture. I have been scouring the internet looking for materials to use.

I also signed up to serve at the Thanksgiving service that the Cathedral has and will attend the supper that follows. Excited about that. In the past I have gone to my home church's Thanksgiving service and meal and it was always really special. (For one reason or another my family would end up celebrating earlier or later so I was usually free on Thanksgiving.) If I can manage it I will also attempt to skype with my family when they are celebrating, but due to the shift to 14 hours time difference when daylight savings time ends in the States this may be difficult.

Some other exciting news: I have an interview with Belmont (at 5am!) on November 9th. I am applying to their graduate school of education for a Master's in Teaching with a focus in English as a Second Language. I believe I am a great fit for their program and especially considering my experiences here I would add a lot. Please pray for me as I try to fulfill God's will for me in my life and to use the talents that I have.

On a sad note, it looks like I will not be able to visit with my brother while he is in the mainland over Christmas and New Year's. His schedule is such that he will not have any free time available. Sad to miss him when he is so close (and it has been so long since I have seen any family!) but so it goes. I am now making plans to visit some other YASCers in Japan over New Year's (flights to Nagoya are cheeaap). I am also still trying to find a way to visit the Philippines and Indonesia, and anywhere else I can wrangle a trip. Being in Southeast Asia is amazing and I would really love to see as much as I can.

Lastly, I was mightily surprised to receive a message from a friend from high school that I have not seen since we graduated in 2003. He is in Hong Kong for a few days on his way to Taiwan where he will teach English and wanted to see if we could hang out. We had dinner last night at a Japanese place and caught up a bit on the last 8 years. It was so good to see someone from back home (even if I hadn't seen him in years!) and perhaps I can hop over to Taiwan sometime to visit before I leave for the States.

Dear ones, thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. Your support and encouragement mean so much and I am so grateful. I invite you to share any thoughts, comments, questions, or anything else you may have, either here or in an email. I love to hear from you!

Grace and Peace,

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