The Jungle Above My Head

March 12, 2012 § 6 Comments

To the mold in my life

Lately, I’ve been plagued by a problem with which many people living in Hong Kong seem to be familiar: mold. A few weeks ago, I noticed a shadowy growth lurking in the corners of my headboard. Around the same time, the ceiling in my room seemed to be changing before my very eyes. I was experiencing a mold invasion, and this is the exhaustive (but not yet completed!) saga.

My life consists of only brief experiences with mold. Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, a relatively dry place, the only place I ever experienced it was on fruit — usually grapes — that had been left too long in the refrigerator and could be easily disposed of by simply tossing into the trash. Fuzzy gray grape mold was unsavory, but I never really had to confront it.

During my sophomore year of college, I stayed in an old apartment building with a weird shower that looked like a teleportation device. It didn’t drain very well, and after a few months, a layer of black mold had started to form on the floor of the shower, which I initially disregarded because I simply didn’t know what it was. It got to the point where a mushroom/flower/something had blossomed out of a nearby crevice, and my roommates and I thought it was just an errant screw until one of them finally got around to spraying everything with bleach. (Yes, that whole tale is disgusting and I just got hives from thinking about it.)

The point is, I’m living with mold. I won’t post any photos because obviously, it’s gross. Just imagine a growing constellation of spores nine feet above my bed, like the result of a fungal big bang.

It was first brought to my attention when I noticed some persistent dust-like debris on the top shelf of my headboard — I would wipe it away only to see the stuff reappear the next day. Then, from my desk, I happened to glimpse an ominous dark green patch in the corner, and subsequently deduced that it had spread all across the underside of the headboard.

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Spending Money in Hong Kong

March 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

There’s something about reading good blogging that inspires me to do some writing of my own. In this case, I recently spent some time perusing Manhattan Nest (as well as his BF’s blog), and I feel inclined to do some updating on my own life, if only so I can later reflect on my adventures in Hong Kong. (I’ve also changed my blog theme to improve readability!)

While abroad, I’ve kept stringent records of all my expenses, even purchases as small as 90¢ for a carton of soymilk at 7-11. As far as non-food purchases go, I’ve bought an assortment of things, some that were outlined in a previous post, and mostly beauty/skincare-related because now, at the ripe age of 22, I should probably start getting concerned with such things. So please join me on a little photo journey that will be split into a few different categories.

First up: Non-Food!

It was so chilly these past two months, so I was on the hunt for sweaters & cardigans. I found this one for less than $15US at Argyle, which is a mall stuffed with hundreds of small shops and hundreds of hundreds of small teenagers any given day. The tag said Zara, which caught my eye; it only came in one size, which was not labeled and looked tiny, but the fabric was comfy and it had little pastel rainbow buttons(!!!), so I couldn’t resist. At the moment, a seam is coming apart, splitting the end of the left sleeve like a snake’s tongue.

Probably a knock-off.

Before coming to Hong Kong, I ordered a universal adapter from Amazon because the plug on my travel hair dryer wouldn’t fit into the two HK-specific adapters I already had. Within a week of coming to Hong Kong, the thing stopped working. As you can see, the plastic had started melting or something…in any case, I had to buy a new adapter. This photo is technically not something I bought in HK (though it did force me to buy other things), but I wanted to show you how this piece of junk broke anyway.

The prongs won’t go fully in or out; they’re just stuck halfway (after I tried to shove them back in).

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In The Room

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I went to my first press event today. It was in Hong Kong’s most prominent building, Two IFC Tower, a luncheon for the launch of a French beauty supplement brand. Being a newbie, I didn’t want to be late, so I got there 10 minutes before the event was supposed to start. I was the first one there: The team was still setting up and rehearsing. So I found a nook and perused the press kit, which included samples of their product — a definite bonus of working in the industry. (Who doesn’t like free beauty pills & a free lunch?)

The event started 40 minutes later than scheduled, which I suppose is how things are done in Hong Kong. One thing I appreciate about Americans is how punctual they tend to be. As relaxing as it was to be out of the office for three hours, the wasted time is a bit extreme in general.

The setting was a fancy French restaurant overlooking the harbor. Lots of waitstaff flitted around pouring Evian from glass bottles as a multitude of cameramen and tech guys (yes, they were all male) prepped the room. We guests sipped on champagne flutes of one of the brand’s products, a drink that supposedly helps with slimming. (I would’ve gulped that stuff if I didn’t have to pee so badly throughout the whole thing.)

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January 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

I spent my first few days in Hong Kong stressing about how I was going to clean my clothes. Well, more specifically, how I was going to dry them. HK is one of quite a few places around the world where drying machines aren’t common home appliances. They do take up a lot of space and use quite a bit of electricity, and besides, who needs dryers when you have perfectly good windows to hang your wet laundry by?

This, my friends, was quite disconcerting for me. Never in my life have I had to do my own laundry without the use of a dryer. My history with laundry is short — I didn’t learn to do it until I graduated from high school. My parents, being the wonderful people they are, always did the laundry, and apart from being lazy, I was also rather intimidated by those mysterious machines. Pretty much the only chore I did around the house was manually washing the dishes because there’s really no way to screw that up [arguably]. But the washing machine had so many settings! Do something wrong and all the clothes could get ruined, or worse, I could end up breaking the machine and flooding the house! I probably sound like a total moron, but having a hypercritical mother does that to your self-esteem.

Anyway, when I studied abroad in HK before, our dorm had huge laundromat-style dryers. When I taught English in China during the following summer, one of the church’s prayer warrior ladies [truly a blessing] kindly did my laundry for me. And whenever we visit our relatives in China, there’s always somebody else who will take care of laundry for me. The thought of not having a dryer really flustered me.

Another thing that continues to perplex me is the mystery of my missing laundry bags. I distinctly recall packing my two pink laundry bags into the front pocket of one of my suitcases, but when I arrived in HK, they were gone. Their inexplicable disappearance is annoying because 1. who would steal laundry bags??? and 2. they were a gift from my mother [if you can call it a gift?], and I considered them her blessing to go out into the world and do my own laundry freely. And they were pink!!! Also, not having laundry bags means I can’t haul my stuff to the nearest laundromat.

In any case, I’ve been keeping my dirty laundry in the random Express shopping bag that I used to pack all my toiletries. This turned out to be an advantageous option because the tiny washing machine in the kitchen of this apartment can pretty much only hold the contents of a medium-sized shopping bag, about two pairs of pants, one sweater and some socks.

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