After the vacation, I have to admit it is hard to get back to the routine. Bryan and I still haven’t gone back to the gym. We should do that tomorrow. I am also catching up with my recipe testing. It should be almost there. At least, we finally got the Hong Kong trip pictures ready. Woo hoo!
We arrived in Hong Kong just 2 days before Chinese New Year. It was perfect because we got to check out some of the traditional preparations, like buying flowers from Flower Market Fair, filling the candy box, putting money in red pockets, and hanging up Hui Chun (blessing words on papers).
On the 1st day of New Year, we headed to my grandma’s home with my parents in the morning. We have been doing this since I can remember. My mom has a big family. She has 6 brothers and sister. When we got there, my 97-year-old grandma was very thrilled to see Bryan and me. She held our hands tightly and gave us a big smile. Some of my uncles and aunts were already there. Some were pouring tea; some were cooking in the kitchen; some were setting up tables. Soon everyone arrived. Those of us who are married were giving out red pockets. Before lunch, uncles and aunts set up a table for my grandpa who has passed away many years ago. They placed all the food and incense on that table. It symbolized that my grandpa was also there and enjoying the food with us. For lunch, my aunts made 10 different vegan dishes, like sweet and sour wheat gluten, curry wheat gluten, and fried mock fish (made with taro). They may sound a bit weird, but they were all really tasty. With the 27 of us in that small home, we were all talking to each other. Blah-blah-blah. It was a boisterous family gathering. Some people may think that was loud and annoying, but I truly enjoy it. We can all joke around and laugh out loud. It is a loving family.
Later that night, my parents, Bryan and I went to a Chinese restaurant to have dinner with my dad’s side of the family. My dad also has 6 brothers and sisters, but 2 have passed away and 1 uncle is living in New Zealand. Back in the days, we used to cook in grandma’s home. But with the amount of people, that wasn’t an easy task. Therefore, we ate out this year. It was just as nice. My grandma was happy. The kids were happy to receive red pockets. The food was fantastic, especially that roasted suckling pig. I am so glad that I got to see and spend some quality time with my extended families.
On the 2nd day, some of my uncles and aunts from my mom’s side of the family would come to my parents’ place. They would eat turnip cakes, water chestnut cake and play mahjong for the afternoon. Then we all headed out to Hong Kong Island to see New Year fireworks. For the past 20 years, we have been going to see fireworks every year, except heavy rain. My 97-year-old grandma absolutely loves it. Even though she is old, she was still willing to walk to the location and wait for an hour. My uncle brought a folding chair with him, so grandma can sit while waiting. The rest of us walked slowly and protected grandma from the crowd along the ways. The fireworks were spectacular! It was powerful and amazing. We all had a great time!
We were in Hong Kong for 9 days. The other times, Bryan and I were going around town and meeting a lot of my old friends. We visited my godparents. My godmother looked after and took care of me for 16 years during my parents was at work during the day. She is always special in my heart. Her daughter and I grew up together and went to the same high school. We are kind of like sisters. I love them and miss them! We also hanged out with some of my high school friends. Some of them I haven’t seen since I graduated. It has been almost 12 years. It was so nice to see them. And we caught up with two friends who have left Los Angeles for a few years. We had so much to talk that we couldn’t leave each other in the subway station. It felt like old times. I hope to see all of them very soon.
Since Bryan has already done most of the sightseeing last time, we didn’t see much this time. We went to a Tin Hau (Goddess of the Sea) Temple and saw a couple old walled villages. My old high school friends, Iris and Tony, took us hiking near the East Dam of High Island Reservoir. Blue sky, clear water, unique hexagonal rock columns, and wild cows. I didn’t know this place existed at all. Very beautiful. That was pretty much all the tourist thing we did.
The other main goal in Hong Kong was eating good food. We had such a long list of food that we wanted to eat. Most of the time, we were eating and being stuffed. We had Chiu Chow food, Taiwanese food, Shanghainese food, high tea, buffet, HK style BBQ, Dim Sum, HK roasted meat, street food, clay pot rice, HK cafe food, freshly baked bread and HK desserts. Definitely a food heaven! Hopefully, I will be able to find some of these dishes in LA or I will try to make some of them.
Hong Kong is always changing. Every time I went back, there were always something new. A new bridge, a new building, a new mall, a new chief executive of Hong Kong… No matter what it is, Hong Kong is my root. I grew up there and my family and friends are there. They are the reason why I miss Hong Kong. It was a short trip this time. I am looking forward to visiting Hong Kong soon.