As another one of our care group’s traditions, we try to visit each others houses every year. This year, Joseph’s (him being one of the newest HopeIslanders) and Andrew’s (going to move out soon because of EN-BLOC *kaching*!) houses were chosen. One in the east and one in the west.
The day started out well enough and the whole Kwok family was in high spirits. Ashley looked gorgeous in her purple cheongsam and pink rubber strap-on shoes. She also had a furry piggy sling bag which she decided soon enough upon leaving the house that it got in the way of her balancing properly. The bag was promptly passed on to her mum to carry.
Before today, one of my ang moh colleagues actually asked me why we give two oranges to people we visit only to take two oranges back when we leave. Firstly, he really calls himself ang moh so I take it that he is not offended by that piece of colloquialism. And secondly, that’s quite a logical question and it had me stumped for a few days. To him, giving two oranges only to take the same number back was in effect doing something with no net effect, i.e. it’s as good as not bringing anything in the first place. Alas, being a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) that is out of touch with my Chinese roots, I’m equally intrigued as to the symbolism or superstition behind this simple gesture. If anyone reading this post knows the meaning behind why we exchange oranges, do leave a comment. My ang moh colleague thanks you in advance for your explanation. 😛
Babies don’t concern themselves with such trivial matters. They just want to look cute and collect ang pows.
This year’s CNY also proved to be a very wet one. Merv was so drenched after sharing his umbrella with Juergen that he had to go home just to change his clothes. I can still remember laughing inside at his explanation about how his foldable umbrella was not designed to offer protection to more than one big stout German.
Rain rain go away, come again another day…
For half the CG, we eventually made it to Joseph’s place and got to enjoy some very delicious porridge with chicken and fish fillets. The food was pretty good and it’s a pity my stomach was already quite full from lunch before that. Christian eventually had the honour of bringing home the packed leftovers which I’m sure he will enjoy very much as it is not something that easy found in Stuttgart.
No peanuts are safe with a curious baby around!
The first batch of us arrived at Andrew’s place and we were promptly joined by half of the remaining HopeIslanders including special guests Kaidy and Dave from Sydney. Chris also joined us prompting Reina to ask loudly in jest on whether this was a unit outing. First time I’ve seen that kind of sense of humour from Reina! 😛
Andrew’s place was very nice and cozy and had a total of 4 floors, each staggered halfway into the other. There was also an indoor pond cum fountain placed on one side of the living room and a piano opposite it. Halfway through, we heard classical piano music coming from upstairs, causing a few of us to discuss whether that was from a CD player or from someone playing the piano.
Our final destination of the day was not to visit another house but to visit Ming in the hospital. Ming was very unfortunate to have his abdominal pains misdiagnosed by the first doctor he visited, causing him to bear with it since Friday, before finally checking into Alexandria Hospital on Sunday to discover that his appendix had ruptured. When I was young, I used to hear horror stories of how people with ruptured appendices would die when toxins enter the bloodstream. So, I must say Ming is also very blessed to have been operated on in time to clean up the toxins. It was also down to quick thinking from his mum that prevented his condition from deteriorating any further. Knowing how tough Ming is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had tried to put up with the pain for even longer.
For those who don’t know Ming well, he is also an avid blogger and photographer. So despite feeling weak and in pain, he could still muster up enough strength to smile and pose for the camera. Get well soon bro!
Hospital Drama King and Queen
Finally, after the exhaustion of travelling to so many places, a few of us made our way down to Holland V to have dinner. Zhiyi, me, Ashley, Mylene, Gab, Juergen, Joseph, Andrew and Merv ended the day with some nice conversation about cars over burgers and, yes, Coke.