Monday, January 31, 2011

Rough Day

Not feeling well due to a lack of sleep. I wasn't myself today.

All I have to say to describe today is:
A small act of kindness goes a long way.

Something as simple as asking if someone is okay or putting your hand on his/her shoulder when he/she is feeling down can make a huge difference.

Get some rest, Honza.

Going to catch up on some "Zzzzz's",
Lina 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reunions

It was a day filled with seeing some familiar faces again.

I started out the day by inviting Caroline and Jonathan to meet my friend, Eric. Eric attended UT last semester on exchange and was another buddy I showed around Austin.


From Left: Howard, Eric, and I at a UT Volleyball Game
I spent a lot more time with Eric during the fall (compared to Howard) simply because our schedules coordinated better. I also invited him over to my house for the Thanksgiving holiday, so he met my family. He really hit it off with my Asian grandfather! Haha :)

Unfortunately, Eric does not attend HKUST (like Howard). He attends another rival university in HK: the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). However, he is currently taking the semester off to intern!

I decided to meet up with him at Choi Hung Station, so Caroline, Jonathan, and I took the minibus from campus to the station and met up with him inside. It was great to see him again!
It's funny to think that he was in my hometown having me show him around, and now, the roles have switched completely!

After meeting Jonathan and Caroline, Eric took us around the APM Mall (open in the AM and PM, get it?) in Kwun Tong and then suggested we eat dim sum at a local restaurant he goes to with his friends.
It was OUTSTANDING... A++.
Seriously, I could have eaten there for the rest of my life!

Caroline and Jonathan Chatting with Eric

APM Mall

New Year's Decorations in the Mall
Year of the Rabbit!

Dim Sum Restaurant :)

Waiting for a Table

Inside

Explaining Each Dish

Deciding What to Order

Ordering
(You Check the Dishes you want)

1st Round of Dim Sum


Round 2
The "Yellow Thing" on the Right was my FAVORITE!
After saying goodbye to Eric... Jonathan, Caroline, and I decided to go see the light/laser show with Lika Lieka (Netherlands), Honza (Czech Republic), Jared (Michigan), Mike (Canada), and Nancy (Maryland) in downtown HK. It was basically a reunion with the folks we hung out with last night :)

Just so you can picture it, downtown HK looks a little something like this at night:

video

Pretty sweet, yeah?

Well imagine adding lasers and music... you basically get a beautiful light show! I am still wondering about how they coordinated all the skyscrapers to light up in a perfect rhythm with the music they play.
Take a look for yourself:

video

That was the grand finale.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The light/laser show is a very famous attraction in HK and occurs every evening at 8PM. If you are ever visiting, it's definitely something you should check out!

As we made our way back to the MTR station, we suddenly became really hungry. Mike and Nancy decided to lead the way to popular hot-spot known as "Mr.Wong's." The general concept of the restaurant is that it's all you can it and drink for $40HKD (less than $6)! Mr. Wong basically cooks you random dishes and puts them on your table until you tell him that you are full. IT WAS INSANE... but delicious, and probably one of the places I will be visiting most often this semester. Another A++.

Mr.Wong Preparing a Table for us

From Left: Honza (Czech Republic)  and Caroline

Nancy (Maryland)

From Left: Jonathan (UT), Me, Lieka (Netherlands)

"You have boyfriend?" - Mr. Wong

From Left: Lieka and Jared (Michigan)

Lieka Getting Called Over by Some Other Dutch Exchange Students

"CHEEEESSEEE!"

Talking

Group Picture, of course :)
After some delicious cuisine, we decided to look for a karaoke club. However, the only one we found was VERY expensive and was about to close. It was a major let-down! We wanted to sing some Lady Gaga :)

Outside of the Karaoke Club
With nothing else planned, we all decided to get back to campus before the MTR closed and ran into Yenz Jens (Sweden), Marc (France), and my new suite-mate! Her name is Mud (spelling is wrong, but it sounds like "mud") and she flew in from France this afternoon. She really sweet, and I can already tell we will get along well :)

Mud and I
We all didn't want to end our little "pow-wow," so we decided to try sneaking into Mike's dorm past visiting hours. At HKUST a security guard is standing by the door waiting for you to show them your residence card to prove you live there... however, we decided to just walk in and pretend we could not understand what the guard was asking. We all kept straight faces and Mike said "oh sorry, we don't speak Chinese" and led us to the elevator... IT WORKED! The guard didn't even try to stop us. Haha!

Caroline and I were crying from laughing so hard! It turns out that Honza was the last person to get on the elevator and he actually turned to the guard and said "Thank You! Have a good night!" We couldn't believe we got in! It would be something we would all never forget!
6 people getting into a HKUST hall past visiting hours? Piece of cake :)

We ended up spending the rest of the evening laughing and talking about movies and music. It was nice to see the different tastes different countries have.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stay long because we are planning a big New Year's shopping trip with Mariel tomorrow morning. WAIT! We have to be at the bus stop by 10:30AM... 5 hours.
Ohhhh mannn!

Power napping from Hong Kong,
Lina

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Getting Acquainted

The day started with a nice run around campus with Caroline (Jonathan overslept). The track is right by the bay and it makes for some awesome scenery!

Afterwards, Caroline and Jonathan met in my room so we could head out to Canteen 1 for lunch. We decided to sit next to a few other exchange students to meet some new people. It's crazy how many people from all over have come to HKUST. I'm meeting people from all over!

From Left Front: Kristin (Wisconsin), Jeff (Wisconsin), Jonathan (UT), Jason (Australia)
From Right Front: Dan (Canada), Caroline (Michigan), Malte (Germany)
We sat and talked at that table for a good 3 hours! It was nice to see some new faces :)
They are all very sweet and funny.

Jeff and Kristin decided to go to the supermarket on campus (yes, we have our own!), so we all decided to tag along.

Malte and Caroline

Malte Trying to Find Some "Hard" Bread
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Malte was explaining to Caroline and I that (in Germany) the harder the bread, the better! They also have different shades of bread to describe how brown/grainy it is (Grey bread, Black bread, etc). 

We really hit it off with Jason during lunch and the supermarket trip, so he invited Caroline, Jonathan, and I to his room (Hall I) to see what "we were missing out on."

YIKES! What a difference to Hall VII! The rooms are wider, but smaller. The beds are shorter and they have bathrooms/showers that residents share with the entire floor. However, it is a clean dorm and not as bad as we had heard. We enjoyed the tour :)

Afterwards, we invited Jason to Hall VII to hang out in our rooms. We sat and talked in Jonathan's room for another 2 hours about everything you could imagine - mostly about Australia.

We checked the facebook group for our exchange program and found that there would be a bar-b-q down by the beach in an hour, so we all decided to grab some dinner before heading down. We returned to Canteen 1 and met some more new kids along the way:

From Left: Jason (Australia) and Josh (Illinois)

Lika (Netherlands)

We all Ordered "Rice Noodles with Sliced Beef."
 Delicious! A-.

From Left: Igor (Massachusetts) and Caroline
We sat for a while and chatted about our schools and majors, until we saw it was getting dark. We made our way down to the bar-b-q site on the beach and mingled.
Check it out:

Local Students Grilling

From Left: Jens (Sweden), Mariel (Washington DC), Caroline, Mike (Canada), Jason

Mike and Jens Enjoying Each Other's Company.
Mike took the "BYOB" Rule Very Seriously. Haha!

The Group
The bar-b-q was almost over, so Caroline, Jonathan, and I rallied everyone up to go to the Night Market on Temple Street. It was a success! So many people came and the rest of the night was a blast!
Take a look:

On the Double-Decker Bus to Diamond Hill


2nd Floor. HOLLAAAA!

Diamond Hill MTR Station.

Temple Street

Hangin' Out.

  
Late Night Snack
 
"Egg Crate" Dessert?

Malte Posing with his Meatballs

Caroline and I Sharing "Egg Crates."
They tasted like Banana Donut Holes Mixed with a Waffle.
Outstanding! A+

Grabbin' Some Tea

Late Night Bargaining in the Market

Small Shish Kabob Stand Outside of the Choi Hung MTR Station
AMAZING! A+.

Posing :)

Mike and Jens Chowin' Down

Hangin' Around (Literally!)

Waiting for the Bus back to Campus
 The days just keep getting better and better here! I can't wait for tomorrow :)

Recovering from a fun night,
Lina