Friday, December 3, 2010

You're young and have so much to learn...

I've heard this phrase MANY times in my life especially from my mother, but I never expected to hear it from my supervisor. Let me tell you the story...

I've never really enjoyed my job. I started to appreciate my job more when my Nana sent me an email telling me that people have jobs to test butt thermometers. So I've been happy at times and there have been great moments. However, overall I'm getting a bit restless teaching arrogant students who think they can have communication skills like the best of them, which clearly..Obama wouldn't pronounce 'the' as 'da'....anyway, that's a whole other issue. Back to my story..

My office is great, everything outside of my office is chaos. I'm the type of person who likes a plan and I like to stick to my schedule. My superiors like to throw things on us at the last minute and expect us to rearrange our schedule accordingly. I could not be more annoyed by this. It's frustrating and I feel as though I'm letting my students down. Well, this happened on Wednesday and I couldn't rearrange my schedule to their liking and so I couldn't make it to this "training" session thing. To make a long story short...our 'Executive Office', Gladys, wasn't too happy about this and barged into my office, picked up my phone and called my boss. Then preceded to yell IN CANTONESE about me to my boss. She didn't even bother to speak to me about the situation first.

Then my boss calls me and tells me to go to the training thing for an hour or so before my first appointment and just to tell them I had to leave early. So I tell them, and Gladys snaps at me "AN HOUR IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT, I WILL BE CALLING DAN AND YOU CAN JUST LEAVE!!!!!!" oh. no. she. didn't.

So I smiled and said "Okay, thank you, Gladys. See you all later." (Kill 'em with kindness, right?) Anywho..the situation only escalated and I eventually got an email blaming me for the whole situation and that I have much to learn. Okay, granted, I might have been able to communicate more effectively.........GIVEN I HAD MORE TIME. However, no matter what I did, I didn't deserve to be belittled and embarrassed by a colleague like that. But apparently, "there's nothing they can do about that." I slept on it and was fine as I came to work today. Forgiven..over it.

THEN, another email from my supervisor going on and on about how I'm the one to blame.I know I probably sound like a spoilt brat, but I honestly don't understand the situation and I think it was just all a big misunderstanding. I'm just going to let it be and not fight back..even though my aggressive personality is compelling me!!!

April couldn't get here fast enough....luckily I'm taking my vacation in 3 weeks. These people are going to make me go mad.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

CHRISTMAS!! Even though it's December and I'm still wearing shorts, it's that season!! It will also be my first Christmas season away from Texas! I've learned to embrace this harsh reality and have made the most of my situation. Back in August I begged Ellison to go buy this second hand Crate and Barrel Christmas tree that this lady was selling and I'm certainly glad I did. We saved so much money, because those things are NOT cheap! Little by little I'm decorating the house and more and more I'm annoying El with my Christmas music.

Although I'll be away from most of my family..we have the most awesome opportunity to bring my mom and brother to Hong Kong for Christmas!!! It's going to be such a special time, because in the 2 years I've lived here, I've never had family visit! They arrive on the 22nd and will be staying until the 3rd of January. Only 20 more days!!

On top of celebrating Christmas we will be celebrating our FIRST ANNIVERSARY on the 19th of December (or 2nd of January, depends on which wedding, ha!) !!! Ellison will also be turning the big 26 on December 23rd! More importantly, on Christmas Day we will be having a baptizing service where Ellison will be baptizing 7 of his youth! Really awesome. We have so much to be thankful for and it will be an exciting, chaotic time for celebrating!!

Here's a few of our Christmas decorations! The most awesome thing about our decorations is they were all free. :) I love getting things for free (or really cheap) and making the most out of them!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hello. My name is: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

I wouldn't usually consider church name tags to be a blog-worthy subject but I was thinking the other day about our church's plan to create name tags. Some members including staff, deacons and their wives have already received their name tags, lucky me. I'm not exactly sure when "church name-tag launch day" will take place but as you can tell from my tone, I'm not too thrilled. To top things off, I just received a message that my name badge will be needed for our marriage retreat this weekend. I'll be leaving mine at home on purpose.

Upon receiving my name badge a couple of weeks ago I immediately thought, "HOW DARE WE STEAL THIS IDEA FROM THE MORMONS!" Our church even bought a machine specifically for making name badges on the spot so no one would miss out on the fun. I typically would feel uncomfortable at a church where everyone had a name tag on.

Regardless of my bitter rage and sarcastic tone, I do have legitimate justification for my negative opinion. But so far I think I'm the only person at our church that has any real problem with the idea. However, it's possible that none of my problems with name tags would even make sense to most of our members who are older than me (which comprise the vast majority of our membership). Our generations simply interpret things differently.

I'm sure my church sees this as an opportunity to embody the whole idea of "loving relationships" and granted learning everyone's name could be a start. I'll be the first to admit our church is quite big and with the mixture of diversity remembering 16 different Chan's, Li's and Tsang's can be quite challenging. There are people I speak to every Sunday and it's hard for me to recall their name. But whatever happened to asking someone's name and remembering it? I'm not saying I'm a rockstar at name memorization, but the principle is pretty universal. If you care enough, you'll remember it.

I think the majority of my church doesn't have a problem with wearing a name tag because they would probably just appreciate people being able to call them by name without knowing them at all. And that is precisely what I don't appreciate. Of all the things people go to church for, the most important thing to my generation is authenticity. I'm really tired of the stale taste of dishonesty and the masks people so often wear when they go to church. I'm really hungry for authentic community where people are honest about their faith and honest in their relationships. If we really cared enough and truly knew each other, why would we need name tags?

I'm truly hungry for a church that is real, one that extends further than Sunday morning. I'm guilty as charged, but am I really the only one who is hungry for relationships that go beyond the shaking of hands and reading of name tags? I don't want you to know my name unless you're interested in getting to know me. I want authenticity, so please ask for my name.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lovin' from My Oven

Made these for a friend's birthday last week..Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They definitely didn't turn out to be the prettiest shaped things, not sure what happened. But from what I hear, they tasted great!! :)

Then for one of our youth's going away party I made some Funfetti cupcakes. Slapped some homemade frosting on those bad boys and they were GONE! Thank goodness..I didn't know what I was going to do with 24 cupcakes...

I'm not sure what my obsession is with cupcakes..they are cute, personalized, and just the right amount! They are also super fun to decorate. Maybe soon I'll try something different... but I don't know.. I love cupcakes...Ellison even recently bought me this magnetic mini cupcake recipe book! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes I want to scream, "Get a real job!!"

Today, I was having a talk with a friend on Facebook Chat. Her and her husband also graduated from ETBU and in 3 weeks are expecting their first child. I often read Kristen's blog as she expresses the joys and frustrations of pregnancy. I told her that her blog has never made me want to be pregnant and not want to be pregnant so much at the same time!! But I guess we'll wait a few more years unless the Lord has another plan..but Kristen and I got to chatting about our husband's jobs. Kristen's husband, Mark, is also a youth minister and so we instantly connected on the pros and cons of being "the youth minister's wife". So Kristen, this blog is for you...

On Sunday, at church, Ellison and I were walking down to the youth sunday school rooms when a person passed us and said, "Hello, Pastor Ellison."..."Hello, Ellison's wife."....... WHAT?

After marrying Ellison, I lost my own identity. I get "Ellison's wife, youth pastor's wife, that girl with Ellison, Mrs. Ellison, Tsang tai"..literally everything except, Brittney. Now although at times in my life I've cursed my mother and regretted having the same name as a scantly dressed teen pop-star, but I've never wanted to hear my actual name so badly in my life!!

Life in ministry is definitely difficult. I think I often don't give Ellison enough credit. The Lord has blessed him in tremendous ways and he is really great at what he does. And sometimes, if I don’t watch my attitude, I find myself saying to him, “I’ve had a hard day at work. All you did was take teenagers out for ice cream and plan a lesson.”

I saw a chapter in a book once that read...

As youth pastor's wives we often think.. "My spouse gets to go to amusement parks and take kids out for pizza during his workday, while I’m lucky if I get to eat a granola bar at my desk in between phone calls, e-mails, and my boss’s increasingly idiotic requests upon my time. I don’t see how I can even pretend that his job is harder."

Yes, but I guess he's not really going to an amusement park for his amusement. He’s balancing 25 permission slips, trying to keep PDA to a minimum, making sure no one gets kidnapped, trying to figure out what to do with a kid who just puked on a roller coaster, and trialing phone calls from parents whose children aren’t answering their cell phones.

Oh, and two kids forgot towels and will have to ride on the bus home for 2 hours in smelly clothes, and that kid with ADHD drank five energy drinks on a dare, and the “it couple” in youth group broke up at the amusement park so the whole youth group is taking sides, and the kids are complaining that the PG movie playing on the bus is for babies, and the bus driver is warning your spouse that if anyone else spills on the bus he is leaving the entire youth group in a ditch and driving away. And parents are calling because the youth group is running thirty minutes late thanks to the ADHD kid; one parent is charging your spouse for their child’s canceled piano lesson and complaining to the board of elders that the youth pastor doesn’t keep his promises.

When it's put that way, I see that being a youth pastor is exciting at times, but it's not always fun and games. I'm finding there are many ups and downs to being a minister's wife and I'm surviving..possibly even thriving. And although I don't always have the energy of a 12 year old, at the end of the day I still count my blessings and am truly thankful for a man who is working hard for the glory of His kingdom and I'm happy to join with him in that purpose.

More Lovin' from My Oven

I really love to bake, however here lately I've run out of reasons to make things. It's dangerous to just make things for the fun of it because we'll just sit around and eat them all ourselves and for the simple fact that my Nana told me "You're going to be waddling..." But here are a few things I have baked over the past month...

Maltesers Cupcakes (British version of Whoppers)

My Great-Grandmother's Peanut Butter Cookies

Blueberry Cream Muffins

YUMMMMMMMMYYY!! I'm going to be baking something for a friends birthday this week as well..we'll see what I come up with.

Much Needed Update (1 of 1237 for September)

I can't believe I've become one of those people who let you wonder what's been going on for weeks...geez. I'll fill you in with a few pictures. Sorry it's been so long..

Work has been super busy, a nice change from my previous post. I've been having to work late on Tuesdays in order to organize English related learning events in the Library. This was my first event, English Board Game Night. I had 6 students and I even was able about to talk about Christ to 3 girls from the mainland. I love using my job as a ministry opportunity..

We've been super busy with the youth as well. Every Friday in September we've had an event. This past week's event was really amazing. Ellison rented an open-top double decker bus and we rode around Hong Kong going to the difficult schools of the youth on board. At each school we stopped outside to pray for this school year. It was a really amazing experience. To top the night off the driver drove us down by the harbour for an incredible night view (view picture below).

We recently were hit by a typhoon, although it wasn't a direct hit we got rain and wind for days! (My kind of

Speaking of's been super hot this past month. Here's a disgusting picture of Ellison covered in sweat to prove that. He only had gone for a short walk outside.

Saw this car as we were leaving Ruby Tuesday's...I think this person likes Hello Kitty a bit too much. It's even on the license plate!!

Since I've moved back to Hong Kong I've been begging for a Christmas tree. I love Christmas time and enjoy decorating for the holiday. I had been searching on a website for a second hand on for months and finally found the perfect one!! It's 7 foot and actually from Crate and Barrel in the US. A lady was selling it here in HK and it also came with a whole HUGE box of Crate and Barrel decorations. I got the whole lot for $500HK (or $63US)!! I put the bottom part together just to get a feel of how big it would be! YAY!

A lot more things have been going on, but I'll make separate posts for them as they are definitely blog worthy! :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Perks of being Uni Staff

Lately, I've been day dreaming about what it would be like to be in university again. With Jud and Cassy being here, I'm often jealous of their late nights and sleeping in routines. I feel old when I want to go to bed by 10 and don't want to go out on the weekends because I FINALLY get to sleep in one day. I guess that's what they call being an adult. I'm married and have a job now, which I guess calls for higher priorities...

My job has been pretty stressful lately. My boss just keeps laying it on me and one of these days I'm going to be so overloaded I'll crack...just waiting for the day! But as stressful as my job has been lately, I do get some pretty awesome perks. Students and staff members of HKBU get discounts at Festival Walk (the mall located closest to campus.) We not only get discounts at most stores but also at some restaurants near by as well. I also get full access to the library and gym here on campus. Working accross the street from Ellison, we get to come to work together every morning and have lunch together most days as well. Seeing him at times through the day really helps when things get chaotic. But one of the greatest perks of all came to us the other day..

We've been needing a new computer. We have a desktop, which is in the office, which is serving as a storage room right now. But even if it was plugged's all in German. I can't even begin to change the German windows because I can't read enough German to even know where to CLICK! Then there's Ellison's laptop, or lack there died on us about 3 months ago. Oh, and then there's my laptop. I bought it about 4 or 5 years ago and recently had to delete everything and restore the computer back to factory settings. It's still decent, but needs a lot of work. It doesn't even have Microsoft Office anymore. So Ellison has been using the church's laptop for studies and work, but it's about time we give that one back. We talked about getting a Macbook because it would allow Ellison to design things for his ministry with ease. Neither of us know much about using a Mac, but we checked into it. We looked at them in some of the electronic stores around Hong Kong and then checked out the Apple store online. We finally decided to get a Macbook Pro and found out that even STAFF MEMBERS qualify for the Education discount. So not only did we get the computer for a couple hundred (US) dollars cheaper, Apple is having a back to school promo and we got a free Ipod touch. On top of that, we also got a free printer/copier/scanner. And we were able to get incredibly great deals on the Iworks software and Microsoft Office with the discount as well. Altogether we saved about $600US on our new computer and components! Pretty sweet perks I think...

Thanks Apple for great service and awesome promotions and Thank you HKBU for giving me a staff card.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Santa came early this year...

Well, we picked Jud up from the airport on Thursday night. He will be studying at HKBU this semester but couldn't move into the dorms until Monday so we let him crash at our place for a couple of days. Katrina (our summer house guest) left on Thursday and so Jud's had a room all to himself (not sure if he'll want to leave anytime soon..!!)

Before Jud left Texas he asked if there were a few things I wanted him to bring over from the US. It started with one thing..and then another..and another. The list kept growing and growing and growing. I'm pretty sure I'm the one to blame for his overweight luggage!! Here are a few things he brought El and I..well, me really.

We've got Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch (my favorite cereal.) It's practically already gone. There's 3 boxes of Funfetti cake mix. I've already made a batch of cookies and cupcakes. There's 7 bottles of B&BW hand soaps! A container of REAL vanilla from Mexico. AND 2 new red plates (since 2 of mine had chipped!) I love great friends! It was like Christmas Thursday night.

Since Jud arrived our hours have been jammed packed. Friday night we went up to The Peak for dinner and desert. Did a little shopping and rode the ferry back across the harbour. Then we went to our favorite Jazz pub for some great music before hoping on the bus to take Katrina to the airport for her midnight flight. However, on the way down from The Peak our minibus pulled up on an accident that had just happened. A speeding taxi going down the hill had just hit a pedestrian. The guy was laying there with blood pouring out and he wasn't moving at all. Lucky the ambulance pulled up behind us and the paramedics didn't even start CPR they went straight for the defibrillator..add that to the firsts. I've never really seen a dead body before.

Anywho, it's been a great weekend and I'm now back at work. Even busier than usual. It's going to be a fun semester having Jud here!! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There and Back Again

Ellison and I having been hosting our friend Vy Nguyen at our place for the past couple of days. Vy was an exchange student here in Hong Kong at CUHK. She attended KIBC and went to the Philippines with us in April. After the semester ended she went to Vietnam for the summer to visit some family. Vy's family lives in Houston and Vy goes to school in Boston. She needed a place to stay for a couple of days during her lay over in Hong Kong. For the past couple of days Vy has been doing nothing but packing. She has SO MUCH stuff to bring back and had no where to put it. So after rearranging and throwing a whole bunch away, she finally condensed it all to 2 "mainland china bags" full of STUFF. Hoping that they wouldn't be over-weight, she got in the taxi and headed to the airport. After arriving at the airport and dragging the bags everywhere she realized that she missed her flight. The flight left at 12pm and she thought it left around 2pm!! She called Ellison and I from her computer at the airport asking if she could say with us for another night. We called her another taxi and now she has to drag all her stuff back to our place and back again tomorrow. Each bag weighs 50 lbs or more and they don't roll! Vy is even shorter than I am!! POOR THING!!!
She should have just tried this...a woman in HK airport misses her plane and goes insane!!

Jud comes in tomorrow to stay with us for about a week and Katrina (our summer house guest) leaves on Friday!Busy busy week for the Tsang's! We enjoy having people around and happy God has provided a nice place to live and the opportunity to open up our home!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lovin' from the Oven

So, I kind of have this new passion and of course it causes damage to my New Resolution (see previous post). But it's something that not only brings me joy, but everyone else who I share with so I'm going to keep trying. This new passion is BAKING. My mother said, "I never thought I would see the day that you were addicted to baking." But, I am. Well trying to be at least. I wouldn't say I'm that good yet but I enjoy doing it. And thanks to my WONDERFUL husband who showed me the incredible DIY Cake Shop down the road, I think this might just become a permanent activity in the Tsang house. Now of course I'm not going to quit my job and move off to Paris just yet...I consider it more as a hobby. This weekend I made a batch of Cookies and Cream Cupcakes and although I'm allergic to chocolate and can't try them, everyone else said they were YUM! :) I also made some Raspberry Tea Cakes to take to a friend's on Friday night. They are some of Ellison's favorite cookies.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our New something Resolution

Inspired by my mother's recent 22lb weight loss (she now wears the same size jeans I do *puke*), I wanted to find a way to be more healthy. I asked my mom about her secret and she said I don't think I'll be trying that one out. But today after a heated lunch debate at Lok Fu McDonald's, we're going to make a change! Ellison was expressing his opinion on how unhealthy McDonald's is and while I agree 100%, he also needs to recognize my desire for things that are truly American. I mean I'm not asking him to cut out RICE for heaven's sake. In the end, I proposed the idea to cut out ALL fast-food, whether American or Chinese. A more reluctant Ellison finds this idea impossible. However, whether he can "stomach" the idea or not, we're going to make it happen. I'm determined! While we're at it we added a couple of more rules to our new health challenge:

1. No Fast-food. (American and Chinese) Being a youth pastor, I realize OCCASIONALLY Ellison will have to eat at a food court. So I won't hold that against him.)
2. No soft drinks. (Including my precious Dr. Pepper, which is often toasted our of champagne glasses that's how priceless it is in Hong Kong. Sad to see this one go.)
3. No cheese. (I think this is probably going to be one of the hardest. I cook a lot with cheese. This is going to mean a lot more creativity on my part for our meals.)
4. Home Lunches. (Bring our lunches from home will not only allow us to eat healthier meals, but also opt for cheaper way to dine!)
5. Gym 4 times a week. (Of course we should go everyday, but we also walk a lot.)

It takes 21 days to form a habit, so we're going to start out with a month. Until September 15..! We'll see how it goes..!! Bye Bye McDonald's!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Dog Sylvia...or Suevee..or Soviet.

Other aliases include: Sylvee-pops, Saliva, and The Water Bottle Dog. but more on that later..

A couple of months into our marriage I was begging Ellison for a dog. Growing up in Texas, I always enjoyed canine companionship. We always had a dog..there was Cole, Sunny, Sadie, Cookie..etc. But I thought a dog would be a perfect addition to our little two person family. Now we had been warned. Our dear friends, The Bells once had a dog in HK and they would tell of their tragic stories of dog ownership and how the dog eventually had three legs instead of four. Nevertheless,we continued to search for weeks for what I thought would be the "prefect" dog. I wanted a small dog. One that didn't shed, didn't bark, didn't chew on anything, and didn't pee in the house..

Finally we decided to adopt and we made our way to Wan Chai SPCA. We played with a couple of dogs and then we saw "Eva"..a little tan mongrel about three months. We asked to play with her in a pin and she completely ignored us the entire time. She was completely opposite of what we were going for, but somehow Ellison convinced me she was the one. (I kind of thought so too, but I'll never admit it to him..) We brought her home a couple of days later. We gave her the name Sylvia, after the last comedy production I was in at Chapel Hill about a taking dog who came between husband and wife. I don't know what it is about the name Sylvia, but Chinese people CAN NOT pronounce it properly. Sylvia became best friends with our guard lady downstairs at our old apartment and everyday you'd hear "HEY SUEVEE!!" While moving to our new place, the guard lady teared up when saying goodbye to Sylvia. I was a bit sad too. She eventually had to wear the cone of shame for two weeks...Luckily I missed out on that one while I was away in the US. Our new place isn't so dog friendly. Our first week there a lady complained everyday about our dog (even though she was on a leash.) She claimed "My son is scared of dogs!!" One day she started yelling at Ellison because Sylvia didn't have a muzzle on. It's a bit ridiculous. For the most part, Chinese people tend to completely avoid dogs, often walking all the way around to avoid coming close. Having a dog in Hong Kong is very difficult. They aren't allowed in any parks unless it's stated as a "dog park" (very few)..they are only allowed to ride in taxis and you have to scoop up their poo every time you walk them! :/
But in the end, did I get the "perfect dog" I was looking for? NO!...she's not small, She sheds a bit, and chewed a couple of things as most dogs do, but the worse thing of all..she has an excitement pee problem. She's gotten better, but every time she would get excited PISS everywhere! I can't keep any rugs in the house in case she has an accident. We've done our research and she honestly can not help it, but they say that puppies tend to out grow it. We'll see!! But other than that..she's a great addition. She loves a cuddle, she NEVER barks, eats well, plays well...she's really a great dog. Over the past couple of weeks she's become pretty popular up and down our road, because after she goes to the bathroom she gets to carry her water bottle back up the the flat. Ellison took her for a summer haircut a couple of weeks ago and she came back looking like a Chiwahwah on steroids. Yesterday, Ellison had a couple of the youth boys over at our house for a bible study. One of the boys, Ho Ching, could not pronounce Sylvia's name either.. he kept yelling "Soviet, SIT! SIT, SIT SOVIET!" But she's been really great and we're definitely looking forward to more wonderful moments with Sylvia, Suevee, Soviet! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saturday's Alright for Baking

It has been so hot in Hong Kong lately. Apparently, it's been hot in many places around the world. Even Russia is burning. Saturday is my only day off during the week
(hard to relax on Sundays when your husband is a minister) and we thought about going for a dip in the pool, but I haven't been feeling too great lately, so we decided to stay indoors. Here recently I've been on a really big baking/cooking kick and so Ellison came up with a great idea for us to have a baking competition! We took the train one stop to Citysuper because they had everything we needed and began gathering our ingredients. Ellison decided he was going to make an Apple Pie and I decided on Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. We had lunch and then made our way back home and got started. My ingredients for the cupcakes.
El's ingredients for his pie. (Please note that he used a box mix for the crust!! haha)

After a couple of hours of prepping and sharing the oven our desserts were finished! I ran out of Strawberry jam, so I opted for Raspberry and I have to say, I think I liked them more! :)
Ellison's delicious Apple Pie! He did pretty good for a dude ;)
My Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes! So moist and sweet!! Loved them!
We couldn't really choose a judge,and Sylvia had watched us do the whole thing so we figured we'd let her decide... Turns out, she'll eat anything! So I guess we're both winners!!

Here's the recipe for my cupcakes if you would like to try them for yourself. I got them off a website given to me by a friend. Sorry about the awkward measurements..we do everything different here. Might have to use some mental math!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (makes 9)

* 100g butter
* 100g caster sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 100g self raising flour

For the Strawberry (or Raspberry) Cheesecake Frosting

* 125g mascarpone (at room temperature)<----Cream cheese will do!
* 50g butter (at room temperature)
* 225g icing sugar
* 2 tablespoons strawberry jam <-- Raspberry blueberry or whatever you like!
* a little pink food colouring (optional)
* 2 digestive biscuits (optional)<---Also known as graham crackers!

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 9 holes of a muffin tray with muffin cases.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl, and cream together until pale and fluffy, with an electric mixer.

Continuing to beat, add an egg, until incorporated, then a spoonful of the flour, incorporate, then the final egg, and incorporate that too. (Adding the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour between, reduces the chance of the batter curdling.) Finally, add the vanilla and milk and beat some more.

Add the flour, and mix in well, but briefly, either with your mixer on a low speed or by hand, since overworking the batter once the flour is added may affect the rising of your cakes.

Divide the mixture between the waiting cases, ensuring they are not more than two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20, until the sponge is lightly golden, springs back if you gently touch it, and/or an inserted skewer or similar emerges clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, or even while they’re baking, make your frosting. Put the mascarpone, butter and icing sugar into a bowl, and beat together, slowly at first, and even if completing the job power-assisted, I would start of with a spoon to avoid the dust-cloud of icing sugar you may otherwise get. Once combined, turn up the mixer and continue beating until quite light and fluffy.

Add the jam to the frosting, beat it through, and then taste, and add a little more jam if you think you need it. If you wish to add a little pink food colouring, do so now, and again beat, until you have an even colour. If your frosting seems too runny, add a little extra icing sugar, and then chill in the fridge until your cupcakes are completely cold and ready to be iced – this will also help the frosting firm up a little after all of the beating.

When you’re ready, top the cupcakes with the frosting. Bash, whizz or otherwise pulverise the digestive biscuits into crumbs, and scatter over to decorate. These will keep in a sealed container, in the fridge if its warm, for a couple of days, although do please bring them back to room temperature to eat.

Hope you enjoy them! This week I'll be baking a Marble Brownie Birthday Cake and a Caramel Apple Layer Cake! YUM! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Allergic to Hong Kong

Well, it's official. After months of intense sinus pressure in my face and a couple of severe allergy/sinus infections earlier in the spring, I finally gave up and went to the doctor. My head was pounding so bad yesterday. The pain was right in between my eyes and I couldn't even look at the computer. So for my lunch break I walked to the hospital clinic (which is located directly beside the university)and got in the queue. I waited for a couple of minutes and had to do my least favorite thing, step on the scale. I won't go into too much detail because that could be another whole blog post. The nurse asked me a whole bunch of irrelevant questions and she finally said go wait by door number 9. DOOR NUMBER 9?? OH NO! That's Dr. Lai Tat Chau, Douglas! The same doctor who admitted me into the hospital a couple months ago for stomach problems and was convinced I needed to have my gallbladder removed. A night at the hospital, CT and thousands of dollars later, he says he doesn't know what's wrong with me, but I can go home. Great, so I'm going to see this doctor again.

Anyway, doctors in Hong Kong have their own "office/examining room" and you go to them, they don't come to you. It's quite strange. So finally they called my name and I go sit at the doctor's desk. Luckily, I don't think he noticed me because I colored my hair and all white people look the same to the Chinese. I explained my symptoms and he looked here and there and said, okay you can go sit back outside. I leave, still wondering exactly what's wrong with me, because the doctor said nothing. As I walk back outside, there's a hospital employee taking a survey and asked me for my opinion on a couple of questions, one being "Do you feel as though you are well informed about what's going on when you see the doctor?" UMM HELLO, NO! Ironic considering Douglas over there didn't even give me a diagnosis or anything. The nurse later came out with my papers and the diagnosis: Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever. My prescription list was a page long and I feel like I could overdose any minute. All the medicine was apparently non-drowsy however, I fell asleep after returning back to work. I've NEVER had allergy problems, not even in the Texas springtime so this is all new to me. Needlesstosay, I'm allergic to Hong Kong.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do Opposites Attract?

A few considerable differences between Ellison and I...

I've been thinking about this recently, how God really does have crazy ways of bringing people together. Although I believe we have free will in our choice of mate, it's amazing how God can bring two VERY DIFFERENT people to the same place.

City Boy vs. Country Girl

Ellison grew up in Hong Kong. A city the same size as Titus county, Texas but has over 7 million people. Mount Pleasant population signs only read about 15,000 within city limits!!

Chinese vs. American

Now, I'm not just speaking of race. Culturally El and I are extremely different. Chinese tend to have different views on family than Americans. For instance, after University it's not uncommon to move back home and take care of your family. You might even live with your family after you're married! American parents change the locks on the door the day after the kid moves off to college and only invite you home for holidays and special occasions! :)

Pigs Stomach Soup vs. Fried Chicken

As Ellison always says, "Inside, my stomach is Chinese." However, he did know this before marrying me. We like to eat different things. He needs rice or noodle at least three times a day and I rather have something battered and deep fried. My favorite is my momma's fried chicken, whereas he prefers his grandmother's pig stomach soup. GROSS...!

Bradfield vs. Chapel Hill

Ellison went to boarding school in England. Literally straight Harry Potter stuff. Sometimes they even had to wear capes. He played football against Prince Harry and lived in a house with other school mates. This is all something I would have never thought of growing up. Boarding school was just a place parents sent their bad kids to when they didn't want to deal with them anymore. I on the other hand went to your typical American small-town high school. Graduated with a whopping 60 people and had a prom just like everyone else. Definitely different.

I chose East Texas Baptist University for my undergrad. Basically a small liberal arts school located an hour away from my home town in nothing Marshall, Texas. Don't get me wrong, I loved etbu. A lot of opportunities there and it was perfect for me.

My better half however, attended University College London in you got it, London, England. The difference in our two schools, well, UCL is now ranked 4th in the world and etbu has never been heard of... Ellison majored in History and Philosophy of Science.

Pronunciation and Spelling
Ellison being educated in the UK thinks he knows the proper pronunciation and spelling for every word and I like to say things like Y'all and Fixin' too. We're often getting into arguments about whether its basil or basil (pronunciation needed), rubbish or trash, trousers or pants,lift or elevator, etc..the list goes on and on...basically for the sake of our marriage, I've had to conform for the most part.

These are just a few of our biggest differences. Many of these are difficult at times, but we've learned that these differences make us a more unique couple. It's so amazing how God brings people together and I'm very thankful to have found Ellison! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Already Need a Vacation

Unfortunately, my new job only allows for 2 weeks paid vacation, one of which I will be using to spend time when my mom and brother come to visit in December!

I've technically only been working for two weeks today and I am already needing some time off. After being a domestic goddess for nearly 7 months, getting out of bed before double digits is almost unachievable, but somehow I make it happen.

I started on the 19th and it's an yearly contract which can be extended. Most people are curious as to what I'll be doing working for a university, but the truth of the matter is I'm not really even sure what I'm doing. Most of my days so far have looked a bit like this...

My position is called "English Language Ambassador"..apparently when the students come back in September I will be meeting with them in order to improve their written and spoken English. I'll also be promoting English enhancement programs on campus and assisting a couple of professors with classes. But until then I work in a cubicle 8 hours a day...

It isn't too bad. I'm really excited for the fall and right now I get to blog and facebook and watch 20/20 videos and transcribe them into English. A lot of my colleagues are mainland Chinese and two girls are new C's and hopefully we'll be starting a new lunch study. Fun right? Well the other day the blue wall behind my chair FELL ON TOP OF ME AND CRUSHED ME!!!! My colleagues had to come pull it off of me..luckily the chair broke its fall and it didn't land on my head. But we called the main office to tell them to send someone to fix it, their reply.."We don't have the parts to fix it. Prop it up with something."

So for five days it's been propped up with a folding chair and a large bottle of water. Occupational Hazard? I think so.