I wish my mother and two grandmothers a wonderful Mother’s Day filled with lots of fuss, love, yummy food and great company. I love you more than you could ever know and am so lucky to have such caring, supportive, intelligent, inspirational, beautiful role models in my life. I am truly one blessed gal!
If it weren’t for these three women, I would not be here right now to tell you what an amazing day I had in Hong Kong yesterday…
Yesterday, my Shenzhen bestie (Fortune) and I decided we deserved a getaway, as we had much to celebrate. First, we just finished a demanding module filled with endless case analyses, group projects, presentations and sacrificed sleep. Second, the two of us (and my friend Evan) successfully managed to get up at 6am five days per week for the past few months to do an intensive “bootcamp” workout on the track. Fortune insisted she take me out for a meal at a restaurant of my choice in Hong Kong to show her gratitude for the bootcamp sessions, which I organized and coached. My Shanghai besties (Jeanne and Martina) have been encouraging me to try “The Life Café” in Hong Kong since I moved to Shenzhen, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally give it a go. The Life Café is a top-rated vegetarian restaurant in the bustling Central district, which uses locally grown and organic ingredients and incorporates all those trendy “superfoods” that you know I am a sucker for. While Fortune loves her meat (she is a village girl from Zimbabwe after all), she is very adventurous and open-minded…So, The Life Café it was!
We crossed the border Saturday morning and arrived at The Life Café just in time for a big lunch feast. Traditional Zimbabwean music was playing at the restaurant (so unexpected!), which instantly gave the restaurant bonus points in Fortune’s book. The menu was extensive and overwhelming. We decided to go all out. The mushy oily campus canteen food was really starting to get old, and our bodies were craving delicious fresh food. We split hummus and pita to start. We toasted each other with berry peanut butter protein shakes. Fortune ordered a tempeh burger, and I chose the roasted sweet potato frittata. Nom nom, so tasty. As you can see below, we both consumed every last crumb. Thank you, Fortune. What a great treat!
The HK excursion day we had initially planned included a rigorous hike, but after our feast we REALLY needed to digest. It’s a good thing we are both so easy going and flexible, because our plans changed a lot. We decided to instead enjoy a HK day without any concrete plans. We would just walk around and let the day unfold. The Man Mo Temple was walking distance from the restaurant, so we made that our next stop. It is always good to get a bit of culture into the agenda. Wearing my Nike “hiking gear” head to toe, I definitely stood out as an American tourist as I snapped photos inside the temple. We continued our journey - walking and talking for hours. It began to downpour, but the rain was not a problem. We bought cute umbrellas at Watsons (a chain store in China) and continued on our journey. We walked through antique stalls, street markets, fruit stands, neon-lit streets, etc. until dinnertime, when we managed to create some stomach space for Thai curry and pineapple rice. Our “Hike Day” turned into a “Feast Day”, but it was worth it. We have been deprived of good food for way too long.
The best part about our HK adventure day was not the food though; it was the conversations we shared. Fortune and I come from extremely different worlds, but we truly feel like sisters. Fortune grew up in Zimbabwe, referring to herself as a “village girl”. Food in her village is the real deal “organic”…not just a marketing label targeting easily-persuaded consumers like myself. She told me she grew up eating rodents (rats!) and truly lived off the land. They ate what they could grow and hunt. She comes from a village that still strongly believes in and practices black magic and witchcraft. She prays so that she will be freed from spells that may have been cast on her and her family. She told me all about her university experience in South Africa, the important people in her life and the values that guide her life journey. We have a special bond where any topic is fair game. It is our sacred “judgment free zone”. We just listen to each other’s stories and share our unique life experiences. Friends like Fortune don’t come every day. My Shanghai and Shenzhen besties (Jeanne, Martina and Fortune) are truly lifelong sisters. They are the people that make living in China feel like my home. I don’t know what I would do without them. I hope you all get to meet them one day because you will immediately feel like they are part of our family.
I made it back to my dorm room last night early enough to get a good night sleep before getting up early to meet with my group for my Business Ethics class. We just finished meeting to write and prepare a PowerPoint presentation in which we offer our recommendations and implementations for a case that deals with a company’s ethical decision of choosing a safe plant location and design for manufacturing dangerous chemicals (MIC) needed in the production of pesticides. Shoot me an email if you wish to hear more! Fortunately, I have been assigned to a really hardworking group. Although I am the only foreigner in my group, the three Chinese students I am working with have a strong grasp on the English language. Typically when I am doing group projects with my Chinese peers, I am in charge of the editing and oral presentation. It is a nice change to work with classmates who are confident with their English writing and communication skills.
I am now sitting in my second home (yep, Starbucks) catching up on some reading. Today is a very exciting day because my good friend from last semester (Elinor from Israel) is coming to visit!!! Trying to get ahead on work so I can spend some time with her.
Much love and enjoy your Mother’s Days!