Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Week one in Hong Kong {aka: leaving our safe Utah tower}

The truth: At one point during our first week here Brad turned to me and said "you are just like Rapunzel on tangled, during that one part where she leaves her tower for the first time and is so happy one second then crying and sad then next."
It is true.
Especially the first week or two I really was constantly going back and forth between a state of euphoria and sobbing. I kept being overwhelmed with how amazing the city is and feeling so lucky to be able to live here for a while.
{views of the street below us, walking & from my bedroom window}
Then I'd remember we have two toddlers who are at possibly the worst age ever to safely get around this crowded, polluted place that's never designed with kids in mind. As I imagined being by myself with the girls all day I would start hyperventilating.
Then we'd eat some delicious meal that cost us 5 bucks and I was back on top of the world. Till my tummy stared aching...
Then I'd remember we were going to find a helper! The big bonus of living outside the US- how thrilling, where was this dream helper a year ago when I really needed her?  But, I slowly came to accept the fact that the helper thing wasn't going to work out for us, it's not easy (and not even technically legal) to do anything less than a full-time 2 year contract with helpers here. It was one of the things I was most looking forward to, so crushing that dream hurt a little. And as soon as I took the girls out as I'd planned to do by myself I realized it wasn't a long term solution. The girls technically haven't outgrown their baby bjorns, but my back and shoulders begged to differ.
But I did feel like wearing a superhero cape after I'd done it. It's funny to think back to how proud I was of myself that first time walking outside by myself with the girls, weaving my way through the crowds carrying a baby and navigating a stroller- not knowing exactly where I was going or how I was going to get there. It's all so normal now I hardly think about it. But the baby bjorns only lasted us a few days.
Knowing the baby carrying thing wasn't working out so well, I went on a quest to find a double stroller that was small enough for me to get around with. I saw a lady with a dreamy double umbrella stroller in the HK airport and I knew it'd be perfect for the girls in Hong Kong, I needed to have it. I made it my life's week's mission. It was not so easy to find and each day it became more apparent to me how much I needed it. I would've paid a grand for it. I can be a very determined shopping hunter when there's something I really want. And vwala- I found the very stroller I wanted and someone to deliver it to my door in Hong Kong the next day. Boo-yah. It was a game changer, I think I'd still be crying if we hadn't found it.  I was so relieved I would have a way to get around with both girls by myself during the day- LIFE CHANGING!
A couple days after we got the stroller we got off the MTR station by Brad's work, there was a huge flight on stairs that me and Brad struggled to get the girls up in their stroller (we'd done this several times). The difficulty of each step reaffirmed to me that it would be impossible to do without Brad and I began thinking about how limited I still would be, even with a little double stroller. I felt like I was suffocating, by the time we made it outside I was full on sobbing. How could I stay for so long in this crazy place taking care of the girls with no help during the day? All by myself... I couldn't even lift the stroller up over curbs without Brad in front on me to lift the front (due to the vertical design and weight placement of the babies) When I said that with tears still streaming down my face, Brad showed me that I could actually use my foot on the back wheel to make it tilt up. I'd spent 3 days trying to get it over small bumps with so much difficulty- I felt so relieved when he showed me that I started laughing and said he just changed my life. That's when he brought up the Rapunzel comment.
 Good thing I brought a blow up pool right?
So the adjustment was a little back and forth for me, but all things considered I'm proud of how I've adjusted and managed to carry on some sort of normalcy with the girls where we are right now- even if Brad thinks I was/am crazy. It could have been worse. Toddlers are crazy. Hong Kong is crazy. Combo= crazy town. Enough crazy that I almost think I could never have more children, but then I remember kids won't be toddlers forever, and we won't be living out of little more than a hotel in a wild city forever. Cause I don't think I could do this particular combo for much longer, even if it is a lot of fun.
The kitchen looks nice enough in a photo, but there is no oven and the sink is so tiny just trying to wash a plate soaks me in dirty water. The local eateries must pay them to design their kitchens like this- I prefer eating out when we can.
Good thing I brought Blow up high chairs, right?
The first week here the girls adjusted to the time change like champs. Brad and I were getting up about 3:30 every morning, but were gradually able to learn to sleep in a little more. It felt good to unpack, grocery shop, and settle in a little. The girls loved playing with some of their toys we brought from home. Because our place is so small I feel like we have more toys here than we did back home somehow- the girls are able to make an epic mess so fast.
When we arrived at our apartment we realized we forgot to grab the pack n' plays at the airport, so we had to go to the airport the next day to get them.
 Good thing I brought pop up cribs, right?
 When we got them home the pack n' plays smelled all mildewy and gross so I tried to wash them in the shower with dish soap, after they dried they still stuck so I did the same thing again with vinegar. It had been about a week by the time they were ready for the girls to sleep in and I was so excited to use them! I put the girls down for their nap and left to run errands since Brad was home. He heard the girls playing and thought I'd decided to get them up, but after a while he went out of our room it was babies gone wild all over the apartment- they decided to escape their freshly cleaned pack n' plays. They've never crawled out of their cribs at home or even tried, but I guess they decided now was a good time to escape with the pack n' plays. I got home and tried putting a suitcase between them and after a few minutes I saw the curtain moving a little funny- I pulled it open and both girls were perched on top of the suitcase!
cute little rascals..
So we went back to using the pea pods. But then they started escaping those too, those things that fully zip from the outside... June became masterful at it and even decided to undress herself while she was at it.
Lyla figured out how to escape them a little after June and that seemed to make her very proud, she came to find me while I was peacefully taking a shower- just when I thought I was safe.
We started safety pinning them shut and that has done the trick, though I still feel a little bad sometimes like we're caging in animals. But we love them and they have to sleep, and we have to sleep. (and for some reason when we moved to the smaller apartment they've let us put them in their pack n' plays and haven't tried to crawl out...fingers crossed!)
I'm glad it's not our first week here anymore. :)


kristen kathleen said...

Oh my word, Katie, you are a CHAMP! What a CrAZy adventure you are having over there. The girls are adorable as ever - it's amazing how quickly time is passing - they look so grown up. Many thanks for the fabulous update. =)

Unknown said...

you are amazing. that is all.


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