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! :)