02 March 2017

First Impressions and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Hong Kong



The day begins at #43... sun rising to the east, behind the mountain ridge 

Good Morning, Good Evening and Hello!
Well, here we are again, on the Expat Express to Hong Kong! Many of you have been with me for the long expat haul, from our first days in Australia (pre-blog) to last days in New Zealand ( started blog) to life in England, Vietnam, Tahilla Farm and now Hong Kong. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you..from the bottom of my heart and up, it is full of appreciation!

Those early days, first impression days are probably the most meaningful to me. When I look back at our time in each country I always start with those early blog posts, when the glimmer of adventure is within reach.

Unlike the other countries, Hong Kong is a known entity to me. I travelled with Mr. H several times...the most memorable as the tag-along wife in 2014. I have the 'lay of the land' as a tourist down pat which has given me a head start into life as an expat in Hong Kong. Phew!

Speaking of Mr. H...

Good Morning Hong Kong!

Mr. H in charge
I knew the move to Hong Kong would be a challenge. I was unable to be a part of the apartment hunt and left it in the hands of Mr. H. He prioritized his list, views first. I have to say I am very happy with the views.

I was unable to be on site in Vietnam to pack up the house for Hong Kong. Mr. H. had the responsibility. We kept the communication lines open. I received many emails with photos and questions like.. "What's this?" "Do we want to keep it?" "Where is?" "How come?".  Let's just say that will be the last time he packs up the house. A role he will gladly relinquish.

I am into day five of unpacking and moving furniture and am nearly done. I am just about ready for that sigh of relief.  It's actually been nice to have the time to sort it all out. I had a leap of faith back in May in Vietnam when I had to decide which items to ship to Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire and which to keep for our eventual apartment which had yet to be selected. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. So far so good. I will fill you in on the apartment details in a later post.

View from #43...Hong Kong


More important matters first...


View to Victoria Peak...to the west #43
The Name Game
Top of mind at the moment is what to call the apartment...because a name makes all the difference. We have 'Windswept' in Australia, 'Tahilla Farm' in New Hampshire and of course...the recently vacated 'Chateau Mango' in Vietnam.

This one is tricky. Living in Hong Kong, on the 43rd floor, in a high rise apartment with harbour and mountain views opens up all sorts of possibilities...or so you would think. We have considered many configurations of words.. even translating them into Mandarin. When we translated 'view' to Mandarin and came up with 'Shìtú'...I knew it was time to move on.

Night view... #43


So I asked my Instagram friends for ideas...and here are some of their fabulous suggestions, which I love!

The Apartment
The Dove's Nest
The Feathered Nest
Cloud Catcher
Dream Catcher
Honker's Heights (Aussie)
The View @43
Sky High
George and Weezie's Place ( reference to TV show, The Jeffersons)
#lifeelevatedhk
King Kong
43 Heights (reference to Wuthering Heights)
The View from 43
House of the Dancing Dragons
Zen Forty Third
Peak view Place
Chez Chinois


They are all wonderful and a lot of fun. We are still tweaking the name and while we tweak I have been using #43... you can't get any simpler than that. Hangin at #43, Life at #43, Views from #43....

Which then left me wondering about the significance of the number 43....and it led me to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her 43rd Portuguese Sonnet written for her husband, Robert Browning, who she affectionately called "my little Portuguese".

If you have read along with me for a while you will know that I love signs, those quirky things that happen to you and leave you feeling like you have just had a sign from the heavens above.  I think I found one. Henriques is Portuguese...and we live on the 43rd floor. Surely, that is a sign for naming the apartment "#43"....or not.

You decide.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

 (sigh)

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861
Sonnets written ca. 1845-1846

What say you?
Mr. and Mrs. H and Let Me Count The Ways...to the 43rd floor?
A sign for #43?
Or should I consider another?
Do you have a favourite from the list above or another suggestion?
I am all eyes!

Mr. and Mrs. H looking up to the 43rd floor

Day Five- Hong Kong

At the moment I feel like the High Priestess from my perch at #43. In my quiet moments..when I give in to an insufferable case of procrastination, I sit and take in every nuance of the scene above and below me. There is a nest of Kite's (think Eagle) in the mountainside behind us, they soar between the high-rises with absolute grace. I imagine reaching out and gliding along with them. Being one who gets wobbly knees and a bit dizzy at the mere thought of looking down from any height...it amazes me and Mr. H that I have not plastered myself, back up to the wall in fear. I am so mesmerized by the birds and the anticipation of photographing them that my fear of heights has vanished...at least for the moment.

Graceful Kite...(a bird, not a plane...or superman)

As for seeing Hong Kong, it will come in good time.  Mr. H took me out for afternoon tea on Sunday...one of my secret guilty pleasures. I have made a few trips out for errands which is not as easy as I thought it would be. It involves a bus that has a rigid time schedule, something I did not have at Tahilla Farm. Ah..life in the city, I will adjust, I always do.

Until then, I have to pack for Sydney. We head off tonight to catch up with the kids...

It's been a wild and dizzy five days but I am ready to fly...in a plane. ;)

Until next time, you can find me hanging out on Instagram here.

Wishing you all the best for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx


Sunrise from my perch at #43...






PS..if you prefer to write to me, please do!
jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

32 comments:

  1. Jeanne...
    Greetings from windy NH. March has arrived as a lion, albeit a warm one! After reading your news from Hong Kong, I must cast my vote for Perch 43 especially after seeing your sunrise photos from your "perch".
    Looking forward to experiencing Hong Kong through your wonderful eyes.
    Michelle

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    1. Thank you Michelle...and a big hello back at you! I can see from the news that it is pretty nippy in NH at the moment. I can't belive I am saying this...but I miss shovelling! Someone should slap me now! ;)

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  2. Jeanne- I just love~ #43. It has a sophistication about it. Can't wait to see what you've done with your new abode. Your photos of Hong Kong are breath taking. Have fun with your family and I'll catch up on instagram ! Safe, happy travels.

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  3. I think I'd pick Sky High Jeanne, it somehow sounds more like elegant you! The views are unbelievable, just showed Bob and he seemed to recall much of that skyline from his visits there - I've never been. I'm looking forward to you sharing photos of day to day life in HK, such as the markets.
    Glad you are getting settled - even though you're already leaving town, haha! Not surprised though, you do stay busy. Hope you and Mr. H enjoy your time living in the city - I just know though that you will love heading back to the NH countryside when the time comes.

    Stay safe, travel well, and enjoy each day.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Thank so much Mary...Sky High! Love it!! xx

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  4. I think of myself as being flexible, but I don't know if I could adapt at many times as you have and you do it with grace. I hope Mr. H knows how very lucky he is. As in all places, I know you will find and share the best of Hong Kong. BTW, the trip to India with Jean is a go and I do wish you were joining in. We have a wonderful group of ladies going.

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    1. Your trip to India sounds wonderful Linda! I hope your you are well and truly mended by that time. I am sure you will be. As for Mr. H...you are right, LUCKY indeed! Trying to imagine a life..retired. Seems a million years away at the moment. Take care Linda! xx

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  5. I have an old OXEN DRAWN CART from the VILLA where ELIZABETH BARETT BROWNING stayed outside of FLORENCE!!!I passed it for two years before getting the courage to ask the FARMER if I could BUY THAT CART!He said YES, and made the delivery by pulling it up the steep hill by tractor.
    The last time it was used was 1948 as it has the TAX LABEL still in place........
    I ADORE YOUR NAME.............GO WITH THAT!

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  6. Hello Jeanne, Here I thought that you would be somewhat permanently ensconced at Tahilla Farm. You are a brave one to so willingly move from one part of the world to another. I love having my feet securely planted on terra firma. Living in a high rise would not be an option for me. I admire your courage.

    A name? #43 sounds just perfect.

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    1. Thank you Gina...I am feeling courageous...that is true! So glad you like #43...still working on it but very close. :)

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  7. My votes: Nǐ hǎo 43 or Nǐ hǎo cháo or Nest 43
    Happy New Home! Gorgeous views
    Spring is a perfect time of year to be transitioning, finding news parts of Self and the World.
    Chinese is a beautiful language. It is on my list of languages to learn.

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    1. Thank you May...it has been an intersting language to explore. Learning it is another matter.. I wish I had the gift for languages. All your suggestions are wonderful..very uplifting! Feeling the Nest at 43. Thank you! :)

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  8. What a great post. It sounds like the first thing to do is find some good places to have some tea. Or have it in the apartment: at the Tea Top House

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    1. Tea Top House...that's great! Thanks Swift! ;)

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  9. Oh I do love the sound of #43....especially with that poem! I admire the fact that you can so easily pack up and go...just like that. At least that's the way it appears. I thought Tahilla Farms was it...guess there's more to the story. Enjoy the time with your kids in Australia! ;)

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    1. Thank you Donna Mae! There always seems to be more to the story these days...it is anything but dull I can tell you that. Tahilla Farm will be a permanent destination one day...lovely to know it is waiting. :)

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  10. Hi Jeanne, now you have inspired me. I am presently caring for my mother who is dying. I have made all funeral arrangements, organized catering, flowers, written obit for newspaper etc., but I have yet to know how to express to our family and friends the love my mother had for my father. You see my father died just 6 months ago and my Mom missed him terribly. She told me recently that she would like to die this year. I was shocked when she revealed this. I asked why and her response was that she had nothing to live for. In my mind we, her children, grandchildren, good friends and siblings would count, but we were not what she needed. Dad is. Everyone is amazed at my mothers good nature in accepting her recent diagnosis of untreatable cancer. She is radiating knowing that she will be will my father again. When I read Brownings poem I knew that this was the sentiment she would like to express and most especially the last 2 lines. This is the poem I will read at her funeral. Thank you. xob

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    1. Brenda...thinking of you and your mother, I hope this message find you both well. I am just so touched that this poem could bring a glimmer of hope and peace to you and your mother. Peace, hope and prayers from across the seas to you both. xx

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  11. Jeanne,

    I am in love with the views from #43, and frankly I like that name as well, although I did enjoy reading the list of suggestions from Instagram.

    I have never lived in an apartment much less a high rise, I cannot wait to hear your views on that. I think it is a little exciting, as there are so many interesting goings on and people in your building.

    Have a fabulous and safe trip to Sydney!

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  12. How lovely to read about your latest adventures Jeanne. I don't know how you keep up. You are certainly an inspiration.

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  13. Nest @43.
    Your views are beautiful. And the sunset.
    Safe travel to Sidney.

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  14. #43 is perfect. Are you close to the University, just beyond Sheung Wan? At least that is by guess from the pictures. Hong Kong is fascinating. Happy kite watching.

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  15. Love Honkers - my spiritual home. As for names my two favs would be Cloud Catcher or Dancing Dragons. I hope the settling goes well for you both xx

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  16. When I viewed your photo of the artifacts on the window sill, I was immediately struck by the sea of trees and you're up so high, so maybe Tree Cloud! It's kind of fun trying to be inventive, but after a while it gives you a headache. ;) ;)

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  17. Your view is amazing. I haven't been in attendance much here lately. I am so happy I decided to browse a bit tonight. My favorite name "View from #43". I look forward to returning soon and finding more posts on your newest adventure. Safe travels!

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  18. How lovely to see these pastel coloured skies Jeanne. 43rd floor sounds very very high, but if you get to fly with kites then it's certainly a good thing :)
    The ease with which you adapt to new surroundings is always lovely to watch, and I'm sure it will be the same for HK, and that in no time you'll be leading us through street markets and along ocean shores ..... if you are still looking for ideas for names , I think I'd just go for Number 43 :)
    much love to you

    Sharon

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  19. Since you are nesting with the Kites, perhaps The Eyrie would suit. The Chinese is Ai li. Ai li 43 has a ring to it.

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  20. Great post and Boy! what a view. My Daughter was in Hong Kong a few years ago. Looks fascinating. yvonne

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  21. Jeanne I am so behind on your wonderful posts. I did not know that Hong Kong was your new home. I am looking forward to hearing about your exploits. I am sure having and apartment in the city will be such a fun contrast to the lovely Tahilla Farm...and that view....

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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