Over Christmas I made a trip to Hong Kong with my mom and sister, because my grandma is unwell. We tried to spend as much time as possible with her, knowing also that having visitors was also tiring for both my grandparents. So my sister and I did quite a bit of wandering. 

The grimy streets, the humid air, the plume of exhaust every time a bus passes by on the narrow street. The palm trees, the emerald mountains, the tropical plants blooming in December. People who would speed walk right into you if you don’t make way quickly enough. The sea that always smells faintly like the sewer. 

I love every tree, every brick, every grimy sidewalk, every pedestrian bridge in this city. 

But I wonder if I would say the same if we never left. If I had to grow up and learn to be an adult in it. If I actually have to live with its various complicated political and social issues now. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I will always be able to visit as freely as I do now, with the ways the said complicated political and social issues are progressing. We’ll wait, and see, and hope. And in the meanwhile I’ll show you some pictures of this beloved city.

Porg, our travel companion, poses in front of the window at our guest house.
View from a pedestrian bridge on King’s Road with the old style tram.
Oil Street arts centre near our guest house. Folks relaxing on the lawn at lunch time.
Street market and shoppers.
Wandered into Hong Kong University, a colonial institution built in 1912.
Of course, stitching on the MTR. No one stitches on the MTR though…
Visiting Hong Kong Park. It has meerkats and lemurs. Much greenery. Also unseasonably warm this time of year.
Porg wants a photo. It’s not every day he gets to ride the MTR.
Another pedestrian bridge, another view.
A refurbished cotton factory that turned into an arts centre and retail space, with a thriving rooftop garden.
One of the many ghost signs. It’s clear that there are lots of thoughts and efforts put into preserving and showcasing the original structure. Even the benches are made from the original wooden doors.
Visited the neighbourhood where my parents grew up and met with my mom and aunt. Also where I went to kindergarten. I have a few specific memories of this place.
My parents’ families lived in small flats like these.
Toasts at tea time.
We egg tart lovers. Held on to Porg’s wing just in time to stop him from falling right in. 
Spent part of our last evening at the harbour, with many groups of enthusiastic buskers, and the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong skyline.

One of my favourite poems by Ursula Le Guin comes to mind, wherever home is for you…

May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us, 
be always coming home. 

From Always Coming Home, 1985

diana in seoul and hong kong

Finally got all the 3 rolls of film from our Asia trip developed! They were taken with a Diana Mini in lomography style (a sort of extremely low-tech photography style, the Diana is basically a plastic toy camera with no electrical mechanism in it. Even the viewfinder isn’t accurate. One would never really know how the pictures will turn out — a fun kind of surprise). Here are some of my favourite shots :D

These are from the palace in Seoul, it was a rainy day when we visited, but cherry blossoms!


I was just so amazed by how these stones have been on the ground for thousands of years.


Pictures from the traditional Korean village turned out great! It was a really sunny day.

These are kimchi urns :D


This one’s my favourite from all the rolls <3


So in love with the architecture.




And here’s a side street in Seoul we walked down to look for a market. Mopeds everywhere and no sidewalk :S quite an adventure.


Hong Kong is similar, with more high-rise!


Some sights from the streets. The sign says something about express bus stop, vegetable, fresh fish, chicken, eggs, whole sale market (reading from left to right, sentence reads vertically).



Yarnbombed on Stone Slabs Street, a street with fairly steep decline paved with stone slabs and with vendor stalls on either sides of the street. I imagine the railings are necessary especially when it rains!


Sai Kung Pier, in an old fishing village to the east of the city, vendors selling seafood from their boats.


The village where I spent my childhood. The alleyway is still the same :)


Leaving the village, pedestrian path and bike lane leading to an underpass.


To the west of the city, we visited Tai‑O, also a fishing village on Lantau Island, famous for its stilt houses, also known as “Venice of the East”.


It was an overcast day, but this picture of the red bridge turned out so great :D


And I love the light leaks in the beginning of the roll.


We’ve been back for a while now, getting the pictures back lets me relive the trip a bit and for a moment I wish I were still there. But going on that trip also reminds me that I could approach my surroundings with the same curiosity and enthusiasm wherever I am. There’s much to explore and so much I haven’t seen just a few bus/subway rides away. So, the explorations continue, and more pictures to come! :D

Wishing you much joy in your adventures this week!


HK love

This place will always be my home <3

But I haven’t been able to be there as much as I’d like in the past 20-some years. So, even though there’s so much to see and do and so much fun to be had, it always feels a bit emotional to visit. Childhood memories, and such.

We crossed the harbour between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula almost daily. Usually we take the MTR (subway), but realized that we can also take the Star Ferry, so we tried that one day. The Star Ferry has been in operation since 1888. It used to be much busier when the MTR wasn’t as extensive. I remember taking it every time we visited my grandparents, and it would make me sea sick (it still does :P). It’s an excellent way to take in the views of Victoria Harbour.



Near the Star Ferry pier we could see the smiley Ferris wheel ^_^ We didn’t go on it though. It was very rainy that day.


Aberdeen is one of the neighbourhoods where my family used to live. The Aberdeen harbour is home to many boat houses, and the many people who live in them.


People could cross the harbour with the commuter boat, it costs $2.20 HKD (about $0.35 CAD) for the 3‑minute journey. So of course we went for a ride :D It was also a nice way to look at the boat houses.


The hotel we stayed at was very close to the North Point Pier. There were quite a few people fishing at the pier. This is one of my favourite pictures from the whole trip.


Springtime is very foggy.


Mike recently started reading Moomin comics and was very excited to find a Moomin Cafe :D We had lunch there one day. The server would bring over giant Moomin (and friends) plush to sit at the table with people.


And we found not one, but TWO Studio Ghibli stores! (Donguri Republic at Harbour City and Times Square)



We also found the BEST cat cafe ever!


There were cats everywhere. Right beside me curled up in a chair, on top of the tables, inside the counter…



Most are sleeping, but the ones wandering about were quite friendly :D


And in the same neighbourhood I found a yarn store! (the red framed windows with the sweaters) Causeway Bay is the place to be! I bought some discounted acrylic but exercised quite a bit of self-control — there’s only so much space in the luggage and there are so much fun snacks to bring back!!


Switching gears to see places outside of the city, we joined a boat tour to visit the volcanic rock region in the Hong Kong Geological Park, which consists of sea arches, sea caves, and hexagonal rock columns! The tour leaves from the Volcano Discovery Centre at Sai Kung Pier.


Pictures don’t do these mountains justice, they are absolutely magnificent. Here is a sea arch!


And some sea caves, and waterfalls!


As well as fishing villages…


And vendors selling seafood from their boats.


Foggy days mean low clouds hanging in the middle of the mountains and this heavenly scene.


Then we went to the opposite side of Hong Kong and visited Tai O, which is a fishing village on Lantau Island, with many stilt houses built on water.


The small streets and houses are very different from that of the city.


Residents making salt fish, shrimp paste and dried seafood.


We took a boat tour to watch for the famed pink dolphins, but didn’t see any :( maybe next time.

Going back in time, we visited a museum of a 200 year-old restored Hakka walled village, called Sam Tung Uk.


We visited partly because my sister and I have Hakka ancestry. Some of the things in the museum indeed remind me of what my grandparents used to have in their home, and still in the village where they live now, like the ancestral hall.


Back in the city, we visited the historical Stone Slabs Street (aka Pottinger Street) in Central district. Some of the stone slabs are restored, and some are original I think. Vendors keep stalls on both sides of the street. I remember being there once when I was young, and it being a lot busier back then, but this is exciting nonetheless :D



And guess what I found on these fabulous stone steps? A yarnbombed railing!


Nearby there is a Starbucks dressed like an old times Hong Kong coffee house :D


My sister took us to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she went to graduate school several years ago :D It might not be a place that most tourists would visit, but since it’s built on a mountain it’s actually a good hike, with lots of beautiful scenery, like this fountain near the top of the mountain, which seems to be built to blend with and interact with its surrounding views.


The tiles make up the words, “spread wings and fly” :)


And so we did, at the end of our trip, flew back to our other home in Toronto. But surely we will be back :)

I hope you enjoyed the photos! :D Because I have more! :D Mostly street photography using the Diana Mini. I’m still waiting to finish my last roll and for the rest to develop, but will pick some good ones to show you.

Have a good weekend, everyone!




wish list…

For the very first time I have a true wish list with one item on it — this book! 100 Felt Mascots!

I actually saw this at a bookstore while in Hong Kong. A how-to book for making really cute cellphone charms. It was translated into Chinese and I read it cover to cover twice and could not put it down. It is so. Ridiculously. Cute. But I decided to buy another more practical book at the time (sewing clothes without drawing patterns! I’m not very good at sewing, so it’s a good learning book) and thought, I’ll think about it more and if I really want the 100 Mascots I’ll come back for it — the bookstore was just around the corner from the flat we stayed at. But I forgot! There were so many things to do and places to see and people to visit, I forgot about the book! And now it’s too late! *kicks self*

Yesterday I stumbled upon it again on Chubby Hobby and I love it even more :’(
Then I found a Flickr set with lots of pictures of the book and felt so happy to see all the familiar faces of the tofu and pudding and radishes again, but it is nothing like holding the pages of the book…

Oh well. It will remain a wish until I see the book in person again.

In the meanwhile, seeing images of the book again has inspired a craft, but that deserves a post of its own. So stay tuned! :D

the travelling zumi

Finally got around to uploading pictures to Flickr — feel free to visit! :D They’re all pictures from the Zumi. Some I have posted here but there were a lot that I didn’t post but would love to share, like the one above. It’s so claustrophobic yet strangely attractive. At least I find it attractive.

(oooh, I just realized how until January snow will be falling on this picture, and how bizarre it would look because it never snows in Hong Kong!)

There was a lot of experimentation, taking pictures of the same scene with different angles. Because often with the Zumi the overall tonal value of the picture would change even when the angle is only a slight bit different. So it was really fun to see what it comes up with. There’s also no viewfinder so I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of. That’s why majority of the pictures are slanted. I might fix them later.

Feel free to visit the Hong Kong set here and the Malaysia set here :D



Our plane arrived at sunset yesterday. Mike had window seat and we marveled at the blazing clouds and city lights as we landed. It was such a gift. What a wonderful conclusion to our amazing trip! :D

I will be uploading more trip photos to Flickr this week, will keep you posted!

Also, my shop has reopened! :D Order before Dec.6 (ready-to-ship plush) or Dec.4 (custom order plush) for Christmas delivery!

Have a wonderful week! :D

last day…

Today is our last day in Hong Kong. Time flew by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday that we were busy packing to leave for the trip. Today we’re busy packing again to return home.

In the past week we tried to squeeze in as many sights as we could. We went to the Hong Kong museum of history on free Wednesday. There were tons to see, and even on regular days the admission is only $10 HKD. I was most fascinated by the exhibit about the boat-dwellers.

This teahouse look strangely familiar

After the museum my sister took us to a 13-story mall, where we scrambled down some ramp along with Peppermint Patty and the gang.

The next day we went to the Kowloon Walled City Park. It was a place we really wanted to visited because we heard a lot about the Walled City from a friend who used to work with the people living there before it was demolished and converted into a park. Zumi took some pictures of the parts that were preserved, like the bureaucrat’s office…

… and remnants of the south gate.

The Walled City looks nothing like the way it was, when people used to live there. There was a bronze sculpture in the park capturing the state of the area moments before it was demolished.

I’ve actually never seen the Walled City in person while growing up in Hong Kong. I would never be able to fully comprehend what it was like to have only 3 running taps and 3 elevators serving thousands of people living in small quarters. It feels a bit ironic to walk through artfully designed courtyards with mini waterfalls and artificial ponds while thinking about the struggles of the people who once walked these grounds.  Thought I do believe that the park is definitely a positive transformation. I wondered what the former residents think about the park and whether their lives were a bit easier now.

Yesterday we visited my uncle’s fish farm, which could only be reached by boat. My lack of swimming abilities and poor sense of balance made the boat ride and even time on the fish farm a bit nerve-wrecking (as you can see, there’s no railing or rope or anything to hang on to while walking on those planks! : S), but we had good fun nonetheless.

Underneath the planks were nets inside which the fish live. It feels a bit surreal, just because it was quiet and not a high-rise in view — it’s hard to believe such a place exists within the city!

After the fish farm we went to the local fish market, where people where selling seafood and such from their boats off the pier.

From one of these boats I bought some succulent dried cuttlefish floss :D

This lady was selling some starfish. Not for eating, I hope. For aquariums, perhaps? While walking around the pier I overheard that someone bought hundreds of dollars worth of live fish and other sea life to set them free.

And so that was pretty much the end of our adventure. We’re now getting ready for another 15-hour plane ride home, where real life awaits. While feeling sad, I’m reminded of a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip Mike once gave me, in which Calvin laments the end of fall and playing in the leaves and Hobbes said, if special things last forever then they wouldn’t be special anymore.

I wish I could find that comic strip online and post it here because it’s so fitting. The 20°C Hong Kong autumn is indeed ending for us and we’re about to return to that sub-zero Canadian winter. But if I were to stay living in Hong Kong I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. Life is always more fun as a tourist. Real life in Hong Kong is definitely not peachy keen all the time, and snow can be fun some of the time. If only the TTC can be half as efficient as the MTR. Seriously, I’ve taken the MTR dozens of times while here and haven’t experienced one single delay, where I run into at least one delay per day while taking the TTC. Sheesh.

Anyway. I digress. Will write again when I’m on Canadian soil! Take care!

impressions of Malaysia

Greetings! It’s been a while! My family and I joined a bus tour to Malaysia, so I’ve been away from the internet for a while, which was a rather refreshing experience, actually! I didn’t miss the computer one bit throughout the trip because our schedule was packed with so many places to go and so many things to see! Here’s Malaysia, viewed from the giant metal bird!

But of course, with a bus tour we only went to touristy places and I wish I had experience more of the culture… but here are some memorable moments from our short trip!

Impression #1: food!

We ate three square meals everyday of delicious Chinese/Malaysian food, with various local food-tasting tours in between. This is our first meal in Malaysia. The orange plate with the banana leaf in the top left is grilled stingray :S and in the beer mugs are lime and sour plum drinks.

Another day we had a tropical fruit and dessert buffet at the zoo.

Impression #2: beautiful architecture!

In the city…

… and on the river.

Many buildings we went in had beautiful floor tiles!

Impression #3: lovely beaches!

Here’s Jorge, having a Kodak moment at the beach while I went beach-combing.

There were lots of buried treasure to be found at the beach! Though I was worried that I couldn’t carry corals onto the plane, so I had to leave them. But I took many pictures of them and picked up lots of lovely, colourful rocks! Will have to show you those later.

Zumi took this amazing picture of a beautiful piece of coral.

Impression #4: tropical plants!

I was particularly drawn to these fuzzy red ones…

… and these pink flowers that grow on trees.

Our tour also included half a day in Singapore. It was at the end of the tour and at that point I was too tired to properly appreciate it (plus we had to get up at 5am to cross the border from Malaysia). And so I really didn’t see much of Singapore, but I’m rather pleased with Zumi’s picture of the Singapore landmark/symbol, the Merlion.

Actually, the highlight of Singapore for me was finding the giant Peeps in Sentosa!

It was sitting in front of a giant candy store, where I also found the marshmallow peep bunny plush! It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!!!

So I brought it home :D

Last but not least, I want to show you this video I took of a sea turtle swimming at a zoo we visited in Malaysia. Though I’d rather see him swimming in the sea, he looked rather content behind the glass. Happy, even. And so very graceful.

That’s it for Malaysia! Would love the opportunity to visit it again, and Singapore as well! And final week in Hong Kong! I think I’m going to miss it when I leave.

Until then, more sightseeing! Will keep you posted!

Hope you are well!

greetings from the beach!

Gone swimming with my grandparents a couple of days ago. They go swimming in the ocean every morning at 6am! Jorge and I were too busy collecting and watching the sunrise and forgot to take a picture of Jorge at the beach, but here he is with our bounty of treasure!

And behold, the sunrise!

There was an overwhelming amount of sea glass (note that they’re real sea glass, not beach glass from the lake!), I could hardly contain myself. This appears to be a bottom piece of a bottle, but not yet finished tumbling, so I put it back, but not before taking a photo of it :D

I even found a piece of ceramic with blue patterns on it (look for it in the picture with Jorge!). The shells I found were bigger than I expected. When I visited 9 years ago the shells were the size of my fingernails, if any. But this time they were at least an inch wide. I do hope that it means pollution’s been reduced a bit in recent years.

Rocky shore! (The sand was smooth in most parts of the beach though.)


Amongst the rocks we found barnacles! They looked striking on the red stone.


Algae dressed the rocks with threads of emerald green.


Grandpa caught 2 crabs underwater and brought them out to show us. I took a video of them shuffling away. A lady walked by and started watching them with us, saying “Run! Run! Run!” in Chinese near the end of the video clip.

I’m a bit sad that I might not get a chance to go back to the beach during this trip. But I know that I will think of this place whenever I go near the ocean, with the barnacle-covered rocks and the salty ocean air.

Will be traveling to Malaysia and a bit of Singapore for the next 5 days! Not bringing my computer, so you won’t hear from me for a while… but there will be many pictures when I return!

Until then, take care, friends! :D


While shopping at the supermarket with my grandparents the other day, saw mount of dragonfruits! 4 for $9.90 HKD. That’s like 4 for around $1.30 CAD!!

Me: WHOA! You know in Canada they’re like $4 each? *stuffs dragonfruits in grocery bag*

Grandma: Oh. That’s expensive.

Me: I mean $4 Canadian, that’s like $28 here!

Grandma: WHAT?! Then we should buy 4 more! *stuffs dragonfruits in grocery bag*


So we’ve been eating lots of dragonfruits in the past few days. We still have one left I think. They’re delicious! Delicately sweet with a consistency similar to that of strawberries. “Like strawberries with a bunch of kiwi seeds thrown in,” reports Mike.

My grandparents have a large banana tree and numerous papaya trees in their yard, plus a mango tree and a starfruit tree. Yay tropical fruits! :D