31 January 2012

Water into Wine

Now that I have recuperated from last week's illness I am ready to jump back into work--and blogging! The last few months have been lacking in posts so I'm going to try and get more up.

Since the Taize service last week I have been thinking about the miracle of changing water into wine. The reading was the wedding at Cana, during which a reluctant Jesus tells some servants to fill some jugs with water, and then when they fill their flasks it turns into a delicious wine.
During Father Nigel's sermon he talked about changing our lives, changing them from 'water into wine', and this resonated with me.

It's no secret I am interested in All Things Churchy, so I like knowing random things (like the names for   things in the sacristy--and where a 'sacristy' is)... a couple of years ago on
a young adult retreat we had an Instructed Eucharist. We held a service (in a gazebo in Sewanee in the fall, you can imagine how gorgeous it      was) and Father Polk went through the Eucharist and explained it to us--i.e. why he does or says certain things. One of the things he told us was that the reason he pours a little bit of water into the consecrated wine   was that the water represents the people, humanity, dwelling with the divine. It is representative of Christ,   who was both human and divine. To me this was a powerful image. (there are several theologians who go more into detail about this, and I will direct you to St. Cyprian, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Council of Trent.)

Fast forward to last week and Father Nigel's message about changing our lives from water into wine. Pouring out our humanity and being filled with the divine. Letting go of our egos, our grudges, our human weaknesses, so that we can embrace compassion, forgiveness, and our fellow human beings. I probably won't be able to empty myself of all of my humanness--not by myself anyway. I might be more water than wine sometimes. But in striving to be like Christ-- water and wine--I will hopefully be just as sweet.

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. (Ecc. 9:7)

Grace and Peace,

27 January 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Happy Year of the Water Dragon!

The last week has been full of Chinese New Year activities. This year is a Dragon year so there are dragon decorations all over the place. I have learned a lot about Chinese customs for the new year as well.

One of my friends told me that on Chinese New Year's Eve it is traditional to clean your entire house top to bottom so that no "bad luck" follows you into the new year. Well, my place needed a good scrubbing anyway so I spent time over the weekend sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and re-arranging my apartment. Since my place isn't that big it didn't really take me that long.

Sunday evening I went to the Taize service at St. John's. I love Taize, the YAMs back home have been doing a couple services a year and I always looked forward to it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that several of the chants in the service were ones that we had used. Father Nigel gave a great little homily too (the reading was the wedding at Cana, and Jesus turning water into wine.. much food for thought!), and I left feeling centered and positive.

Me & Kyle in Tai Po
Monday evening I went over to a friend's house to have dinner and say goodbye to another friend of ours who is returning to the States. It was sad to say goodbye but we enjoyed a few hours together before loading her up on the bus and chasing after it to wave at her.

The Wishing Tree
The next day we all went up to Lam Tsuen to The Wishing Tree to visit some friends who live nearby and to throw wishes at the tree. You can't actually throw your wishes onto the wishing tree anymore due to an accident that occurred a few years ago (a branch fell and hit two people...) but they have fake ones set up nearby. Mine stuck on the first throw! Yippee!!

Hong Kong's Famous CNY Fireworks
In the evening we headed back to Tsim Sha Tsui to the home of Rev. Catherine and her husband to watch the fireworks from their apartment. Hong Kong's Chinese New Year Fireworks are famous world-wide, and after a good 30 minute show I understand why. It was good to hang out with some of the Cathedral clergy and other folks from St. John's.

My Fellow Hikers

Rev. David invited me to go on a hike with some other folks on Wednesday, so even though it was kinda cold and rainy I suited up in as many layers as I could manage and headed down to the pier. There were five of us all together and they were much better suited for a cold rainy hike than me--mainly, waterproof jackets... We rode the ferry to Lantau Island and took a bus to Pui O where we then got out and walked along one of several trails. After about an hour or so of a soggy hike we stopped for lunch near an abandoned prison. Rev. David's wife had brought along some delicious hot soup which she shared (although the rain kept spattering the soup!). Since my feet were getting soaked and she was also getting cold and wet, we decided to head back and wait for the others in Mui Wo. We warmed up in a cozy little place with hot toddies and when the others met up we took the ferry back to Central.

mmm soup! it was so good

Cloudy Lantau
On the trail

cold and wet on lantau

It may not have been the greatest idea to hike in cold rainy weather but it was fun and I had good company. But, sadly, now I am dealing with a resurgence of tonsillitis and have spent the last couple of days at home snuggled in blankets. I saw the doctor yesterday and she prescribed some medicines for me (thankfully I got this one early so it wasn't as bad as when I had it last fall). Hopefully I will be back on my feet tomorrow. Your prayers are appreciated!!

Next week: preparations for the next Give Care day on Sunday and a visit from Peter Ng! Looking forward to both events :D

Grace and Peace,

12 January 2012


Plans are underway for upcoming events in the next few months! We have had staff meetings about things that will be going on as well as data gathering from last year. I will be putting together a booklet that will give details on the number and types of cases that the Mission handled last year. 

The next Give Care to Our Caregivers event will be Feb 5 at St. John's. It is only going to be a half day this time due to space and time constraints, but it is still going to be an amazing event. I will be putting my cosmetics experience to use (before I came here I worked at a skin care/make up counter in a department store) at a make-over booth. I am so excited! One of the best parts of that job was giving women a boost of self confidence and helping them feel great and I am excited to do it for such a great community of people.

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts-Schori, will be visiting in late February and I am very much looking forward to meeting her. I met her once when she came to the Diocese of Tennessee and I really enjoyed her sermon. I don't know what all she plans to do while she is here but I hope I get to spend some time with her! Accompanying her will be my "bosses", David and Peter. I haven't seen David since the orientation in June so I am also excited to spend some time with him. 

The Mission's 31st anniversary happens in March and there will be several events going on that day. We are partnering with the Equal Opportunities Commission on some events about the Sexual Discrimination Ordinance. 

Life is busy--mostly compiling data from the database and tweaking the new database that I created--but wonderful. I'm so thankful to be here and ready to tackle the next six months. My friends who went home for the holidays are back in town and we have lots of things planned to do together. Time is passing so quickly!! Thanks to everyone who has helped to make this experience possible.

Grace and Peace,

07 January 2012

Akemashite Omedetto Gozaimasu!!!

 After a crazy, crazy trip to Japan visiting fellow YASCers Katie and Nicole, I am back in Hong Kong!

Some highlights of the trip:
1. Spending time with Katie and Nicole!
2. New Year's in Nagoya -- we went to a Buddhist temple where they rang the bell 108 times and we got little fortunes for the new year.
3. New Year's Day traditional food with one of Katie's friends
4. All those crazy train rides where we got lost, went in the wrong direction, got on the wrong train, left a backpack (she got it back eventually!), talked to Japanese people, watched movies, or conked out.
5. Genbaku Dome and Peace Museum in Hiroshima
6. Free upgrade at the hostel in Hiroshima to a private 3-person room with tatami and futons!
7. The Floating Torii Gates at Miyajima
9. Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) in Kyoto
10. Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto (they have a famous rock garden)
11. GION! And the fake geisha that let me take a picture with her... It's been a dream of mine to visit Kyoto/Gion since I was 14.
12. Meeting a couple of Katie's friends who let us hitch a ride with them back to Nagoya
13. Getting stuck in a snowstorm on the drive back to Nagoya--3 hour trip took 6 hours!! But we passed the time with English lessons and naps.
14. All the laughs we shared despite the frustrating situations we encountered
15. Meeting a guy on the plane who, turns out, knew one of my clients!!

and now, some photos! back to work here in HK and lots going on this month. Stay tuned for more posts this month! <3 Kathleen


Three Amigos

Soba Noodles!

New Year's Day Traditional Food

Genbaku Domb in Hiroshima

Torii Gates at Miyajima
Kinkakuji - Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Nicole & Kinkakuji

Buddha Statue at Ryoanji
famous rock garden

you have to attain enlightenment to see all 15 rocks

Okiya in Gion