Month: November 2014

My mom is coming to visit in three weeks, which means I suddenly have the urge to 1) hang pictures on the currently bare concrete walls, 2) buy ingredients for every family recipe of all time evereverever, and 3) pin quilts…because every time I start to actually sew a new quilt, it’s like a mess that can’t go away for about six months. (Hi Leigh! Yes, it’s been almost two years since I started your quilt. I promise it’s coming.) Anyway, now that we live in 800 square feet, there’s nowhere to hide the mess.


Here’s what I want to curl up with, when it eventually drops below 80 degrees.

Image: Potomac Fiber Arts

Image: BGelhausen

Image: Berlin Quilter

Image: Jenna Brand

Image: Cloud9 Fabrics

Image: Connie Carrington

Let’s hope Mom takes this very public hint and brings me a Pinterest-worthy item in her suitcase! Can I get an amen?



I have tried not to pretend that adjusting to life in Hong Kong has been easy for me. Because I just don’t feel like I need to pretend. I don’t think culture shock means you can’t appreciate and respect a culture. I think it’s okay to admit that maybe we don’t understand it completely, and that’s frustrating, and working on understanding it a little at a time is the name of the game.

Plus, for all the million cool opportunities we’re having — and the consistent encouragement we’re receiving from new friends here and old friends back home — there are also a million headaches and OMG PLEASE PICK UP YOUR DOG POOP moments. Moving abroad, even to “the easiest place to be an expat in the world” is not as sexy as it sounds most days. For me.

But I do think that I’m getting better at being grateful for life here, and this week was full of the good stuff that is making it all feel like the right thing. There is a lot to love, and a lot I wouldn’t change at all.

This dad, who doesn’t think a night with his own kid is babysitting. He calls it being a dad. He was good at it in America, and he is GREAT in Hong Kong.

holly and brent
Meeting fellow SPUer Brent Cunningham at a Hong Kong Young Life dinner this week — almost two years after I interviewed him for Response! Running into people I know in places I don’t expect is the BEST. This might be in my top five best run-ins.

cowboy duncan
The relief that comes with knowing no one will ever call my kid boring. How’s that for shallow parenting? I am not ashamed. I wanted an interesting kid and I got one.

hawaiian beef
Braised Hawaiian beef and pineapple in my new red dutch oven. Man, eating this makes me feel like myself.

colored pencils
A world where every kid can find himself in the box of colored pencils. (A world where we market the crap out of that? Errr, maybe not as much. One thing at a time.)

family christmas
The obscene number of Christmas lights on every building in Hong Kong, and it’s only the day after Thanksgiving. The holiday spirit doesn’t mess around here. Thank you, last wafts of the British empire!

So…Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And enjoy all the stuff my neighborhood is shipping to America for you to buy this holiday season. Every time a cargo ship passes our kitchen window, it brings a tear to my eye.

queen e
Let’s begin with my favorite photo of Queenie, whose accent inspires us all. Via rebloggy

Reading up on the election results this week, I looked around the lunchroom where I perched and realized there wasn’t a single American around to celebrate and/or lament any of the issues with me. Not one!

That’s the fun of Hong Kong. There are a zillion expats, yes, but many of them are from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, India, and Canada. Many of them do not give two shakes about whether Republicans just took back the Senate, one way or the other, and it’s kind of refreshing. You know what else is refreshing? Their accents. And also, their lingo, which I am putting to good use every day.

That’s total crap. Also, the word the toddler in our house uses for the trash can. Such a cosmopolitan child.

As in “good grief”– but who has time for the good part?

Good on ya.
Good for you! Well done! General praise and affirmation!

That’s good luck.
Anything that happens, ever. I think the British empire is a little confused about what luck actually is.

Garter belts.  Yes, my poor husband sent his female colleague an email asking if we could borrow some racy lingerie for my Halloween costume. Except we were NOT looking for racy lingerie, we were looking for what the Brits call “braces.”

Plait your hair.
This is the Downtown Abbey way to say braid. Does it make me want to look like Elsa? Of course it does.

Uni (yoo-nee)
Again, who has time to say the whole thing?  I can’t be bothered with those three extra syllables. I also feel this pronunciation makes higher education sound a lot easier than it’s supposed to be when you’re in the thick of it. Like, oh hey, I totes just studied at Cambridge and ran a marathon in the same afternoon. I’m casual and cool about everything, including uni.

I’ve heard all of these before (except the suspenders one, that was new), but it’s fun to hear these in daily life and try to keep a straight face. Because I am always ALWAYS tempted to stop the conversation and point out how quaint and cute people sound. You British colonialists, you’re so darn CUTE.

I want to build a little catalog of fun phrases from English speakers around the world. Any favorites to add? I’m all ears, blokes.