Friday, May 11, 2012

Farewell, Hong Kong!

Perhaps it was good that when we blinked our eyes, it was time to leave.  We left behind so many dear friends.  These last few weeks, we had had so many going away parties that Elwin gained 4 pounds and he generally watches what he eats.  The goodness of the people was precious.  Imagine all the dinners we went to:

April 2:  Family Home Evening with the Senior missionaries - had lunch at the Salisbury YMCA, a buffet lunch, then went to Lam Lian Gardens for a stroll.

 April 9:  Temple outing to visit Yun Chun Buddhist Temple in Fanling, had a wonderful vegetarian lunch with our temple friends.
Ashley and Shirley @ Yun Chun Buddhist Temple
April 9:  Went to Aberdeen to visit the Wan's and had a wonderful pizza dinner, and banana split for dessert. 
the Davis' and the Dean's at the Wan's
April 10:  Visit from our Zhong Shan friends who brought presents for us to take back to the US.  Even those who didn't come sent presents to us.  It was such an overwhelming of love shown to us.

The Wong sisters, Angel Wong (from Zhong Shan) and us in front of the temple
 April 14:  Sister Chin took us to an afternoon tea at a Taiwanese restaurant at Kowloon Bay.  The cook was from Taiwan and when he found out I was from Taiwan, he brought me a rare dish of fresh tomatoes with dipping sauce.  It was so good.  番茄切 — fānqié qièpán  Let me know if you want the recipe.

April 15:  Henzer and Wendy came to Hong Kong to attend church with us.  They brought us a beautiful piece of art with bamboo cross-stitch.  It is very nice and thoughtful.  We had dinner together that night at the Liu's, another family that are dear to us.   

Wendy/Henzer and the Davis'
the Liu's with their daughter and the Davis'
 April 16:  Hong Kong Disneyland for P-day activities - who says missionaries can't have fun?  We had a great time there with the sisters riding "Space Mountain" to start the fun day.  It rained a little, but it didn't dampen our spirit.  We didn't have to line up either. 
Hong Kong Disneyland
April 20:  Lunch with Brother Lai (Elwin's friend at the Hong Kong Temple) at the Camino, the Excelsior Hong Kong Hotel - 281 Gloucester Road Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.  It was a wonderful buffet lunch with food spread across the whole perimeter of the humongous hall.  We sat looking at the Hong Kong bay and enjoyed it very much.  
Bro. Lai and us at the Camino
April 20:  Dinner at the Law's - Sister Law and I work on Thursday shift together.  She is one of those people that you would want to be friends with forever.  She invited us to dinner and I told her we had to take the Rhyasen's (the new senior missionaries) to get some clothes made and would not be able to come back early enough for dinner.  So she invited all of us to come and told us she would wait until we got there.  What a lady!  It turned out that Sister Law's son-in-law was the Rhyasen's Cantonese tutor at the Missionary Training Center for 3 months.  What a small world!  Sister Law is quite a cook.  Everything was so delicious, even Elder Rhyasen, who was not quite used to the Chinese cuisine yet, said so.  :-)  
April 21:  Mandarin Branch Temple Day - Many members came and we were so happy to see them for the last time in the Hong Kong Temple.  Afterwards President Lin took us to lunch at a Cantonese dim sum restaurant at East Tsim Sha Tsui.
 April 21:  The James' also invited us to their home for a farewell dinner the same day of our temple day.  So, we took the MTR home to rest from the lunch, then went out again to Causeway Bay to the James apartment.  Brother James is an attorney and they have a huge apartment, compared to ours, and they also invited all the young missionaries from our Branch.  We had rice, ribs, and salad.  Sister James also made a mango cheese cake for us.  It was really delicious.  It was good to be with the missionaries for the last time. 
Mandarin Speaking Branch missionaries at the James' home
April 23:  Farewell luncheon from President and Sister Aki, and our fellow senior missionaries.  Sister Aki asked me to pick a restaurant and I chose to go to the Lok Fu Cantonese Restaurant instead of the traditional send-off at the Chicago Grill, Dan Ryans.  It was a good choice for the new missionaries to experience some traditional Hong Kong cuisine.  Sister Aki ordered a lot of dishes for us and we all enjoyed it very much.  Knowing how to order various dishes is quite an art here.  Thanks!   
the Aki's and the Davis'
the Davis' and the Dean's
the Aki's and the Sister Kesler
the Chan's and the Sister Rhyasen
April 24: A send-off luncheon from the Tuesday group of the temple workers.  These are the people who we came to love and will miss very much.

Sister Chan and Shirley (Sister Chan bought me a beautiful Chinese jacket to remember her.  She also sent a bunch of Chinese bracelets to share with my friends back home.  She's cool!)
 April 25:  Dinner with Sanina and Dick (Young women and Young men presidents of the Mandarin Branch) - they took us to a Yun-nan (Southwestern China) restaurant in Shatin to experience the cuisine there.  After dinner, we went up to the 7th floor to a place called:  Honeymoon Desserts.  It was so amazing to find this place that we never even knew about.  It was packed full of young people and the choices of desserts were amazing.  They have lots of tapioca based desserts, warm and cold, to suit the taste of the Asians.  It was very fun.  Thanks, Sanina and Dick.   
the Davis', Dick and Sanina
Dick and Elwin

April 26:  A send-off luncheon from our Thursday shift temple worker friends - the first one on the left is Sister Law, who invited us to her house for dinner last Friday.  These are celestial people.  I love them so much.
April 26:  Dinner - Sister Dong insisted on taking us out to dinner.  I went alone b/c Elwin was exhausted after a day at the temple, went to Sham Shui Po to pick up some cables and ran a couple or errands.  I met Sister Dong at the TaiWai MTR station and walked to a mall nearby to a large seafood restaurant.  Her son, Vincent, who is waiting for his mission call, her daughter, Emily Zhang, and a couple of her friends all joined us to have dinner together.  The food was excellent, especially the large prawns, freshly taken out of the tanks .  The soup was made inside the curved winter melon, with scallops, sea urchins, and all sorts of herbs to give one energy, stamina, and all that.  I know I'll miss my friends, but I'll also miss the fresh seafood of Hong Kong.
Sister Dong, Vincent, Shirley and Emily

April 27:  Lunch with the Wong's in Shenzhen - Mr. Wong came home from Hainan where he is building a resort, to say good-bye.  His daughter, Karina, is a foreign student staying with our daughter, Elaine and her family in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  We were delighted to meet them when we came to Hong Kong, almost a year and half ago.  They've been like our own children.  They take us out to eat and to visit places.  They came to meet Elaine and her family when they came to Hong Kong to visit us.  They've done so much for us.  O, the goodness of the people, we can't start to name them.  For this luncheon, they took us to a restaurant called Dao Xiang, famous for their Cantonese cuisine.  There we met Karina's grandmother Wong, and their old friends who were visiting from Heilongjiang, where they used to live.  We had a good time visiting and saying good-bye too. 

the Wong's and the Davis'
April 27:  Dinner with Henzer and Wendy at Papa John's in Shenzhen - this young couple has become our adopted children in China.  We met Henzer when he was a medical student at Shandong University where we taught in 2008-2009.  He has since graduated and moved back to his hometown of Shenzhen.  We were reconnected when we came to Hong Kong.  He and Wendy got married about 2 months ago.  They are truly stellar young people.  We love them very much.  It was easier for us to go to Shenzhen, than them going to Hong Kong, so we told them we'd meet them there.  
Wendy/Henzer and the Davis'
Our tailor, the Liu's and the Davis'
April 27:  Last, but not least, are our tailors in Shenzhen, the Liu's.  They have served us well.  We have introduced them to a lot of our friends.  Their shop is at the Luohu Commerical Building, #5105.  Good people!
Our Hong Kong stay ended with a high note - the Liu's came to attend church with us.  We decided to go to the local unit of the church in Sheung Shui.  The sister missionaries have been teaching the Liu's for a few weeks now.  We thought it would be good for them to attend the church in the neighborhood, instead of going to Wan Chai where we took them before.  Besides, our dear friend, Brother Choi, is the bishop there and he would like to meet the family.  We all met at the Fanling MTR station and took #52K minibus to go to the church.  It was pouring rain that morning.  By the time we got to Sheung Shui, it was raining cats and dogs.  Bishop Choi sent 2 vans to the bus stop to pick us up.  Now, who would have thought of that?  I was in awe.  It turned out that the street in front of the church was like a little river with water gushing down.  Bishop Choi knew we were coming and was quick to send help to get us there.  The Liu's were impressed; we were impressed even more!  Everyone at the church welcomed us with open arms.  Bishop Choi asked us to come up to the podium to bear our testimonies.  It was a very emotional moment for us and for the Liu's.  We expressed our gratitude to them for taking care of us.  Dr. Liu is a Chinese medicine doctor and took care of a lot of our medical needs.  We have learned so much from him and his wife.  

So, farewell, Hong Kong!  My Merrill shoes are worn down.  It's time to go home! 

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