29.9.08

In The Life: Mondays





I look forward to Mondays with a mixture of fear and excitement. You see, weekends feel so long in Hong Kong. There just isn’t that much to do here. Don’t get me wrong, HK is a big exciting city but it is a tiny island and the weather and pollution are unpredictable. So, once you’ve shopped yourself to death, visited the historic sites and the tiny museums with the kids more times than you care to count, battled the crowds at Disneyland or Ocean Park one hundred times, went on excursions to see the monasteries, temples, the Po Lin Buddha and the 10,000 Buddhas, then you are pretty much tapped out. And then there is the problem of not having any friends.

I think Hong Kong would be great if you are childless, wealthy and don’t mind spending loads of money on mediocre food and drinks. That said, I really do like Hong Kong but with kids I find myself missing the parks of NYC, the large museums, the various children’s bookstores and of course, my friends.

Back to Mondays…

Monday morning takes Hub away from me, which depending on our weekend together can be a good thing. We all get up early, mostly because my eldest child (a boy 2 ½) gets up at the crack of dawn every morning regardless of what time he goes to sleep and also because Hub thinks that just because he has to get up, I should join him. I haven’t quite figured out why, after two full days together he waits until Monday morning to start talking to me about the important stuff. Moving. Company Merger. Staying.

A few hours later, after Diego, I take my eldest son to school in our golf cart-- yes, we drive golf carts here in DB. It only adds to the effect of living on the set of the Truman Show. Anyway, he goes to school for three hours a day, three times a week. And in truth, it’s my biggest social outing. Usually, okay always, I am disheveled, smelly from lack of shower over the weekend, and have spit-up on my shirt from the morning feed of my youngest son who is nearly three months old. But today I put more effort into my appearance. I am fitting back in to my “skinny jeans” and yes, I know that they were in style two years ago, but these are my SKINNY jeans, come on. So, I am rockin' the s. jeans that thankfully have a low cut waist because I still look like I am four months pregnant. I pretend that I am camouflaging this fact with an extra billowy shirt.

When I pull up to the building that houses my son’s school I see Rugby Mom (RM), she is the Stepford Wife in charge. She, like all the Stepfords that I see on my drive to the school this morning are all wearing their tight work out gear. These are the kind of women that make me nervous. It is not only they way they look —the expats are tall and blond (of very average beauty) and the Asian women are attractive and thin—it is that I have nothing to say to them, absolutely nothing. I can’t crack their code. However, today I manage to say a pleasant and relatively coherent hello. RM replies in her typical glassy-eyed cheery way that leads me to think that she is not really in her body. When we, RM with her child and me with mine get to the door of the building, my eldest son prolongs our encounter by pressing all of the buttons on the security gate so that we have to wait for the caretaker to come let us in. This is bad. I had burned up my useless banter when I said hello. By the time we finally make it to his class we are late—no problem for me as I am always late but for RM, who is always on time, early even, I can see that she is silently steaming.

My son’s teacher, another classic Stepford, greets us at the door asking me, “Did RM tell you about the parenting class?”

Okay, yeah RM mentioned something about a class being offered, but did she tell me about it, as in give me any relevant information, like when it was taking place or where or how much I would have to shell out for this useless knowledge or who was going to be profiting off all of this competitive parenting garbage?

No.

But RM had vaguely referred to a class and I think she uttered the word “parenting” and she is standing right next to me so I say yes.

RM chimes that she is going—actually she gushes saying, “I am definitely going. I can’t wait, I have heard that X is amazing!” British accents can be so annoying sometimes.

Then they both look at me and I start hedging like a bad politician. In my mind I am freaking out. Recently, this teacher busted my son for hitting kids in the class. Is she trying to tell me something? I start babbling. I hear myself saying that two year olds are going through significant hormonal shifts, I stumble on the word menopause—as in, “Dealing with a two year old is worse than dealing with a menopausal woman.”

What the F*ck am I saying? I am mentally kicking myself. Right. Teacher thinks the same thing and shuts the door in my face.

RM gives me a smirk and jogs off to her yoga class. No joke.

I head back to the golf cart and phone Hub to ask what thinks. “Well, RM did say that this parenting class was being taught by a world renowned expert. I would go if I had the time.”

This is a code I can crack.
Translation: You should go because you are the mom and I work and you sit at home all day avoiding your work to write a blog.

“Yeah, okay.” I say.

The class starts next Monday.


5 comments:

Alycia Smith-Howard, Ph.D. said...

What an amazing adventure! Love that you compare HK to the Truman Show. Have a friend, another transplanted NY-er/writer/mom, who has been there a little over a year. Think she would probably agree with you!

janet said...

This is both hilarious and at the same time scary. I would certainly be overwhelemed and out of my element in this sorta' community or lack thereof. I thought most ex pats shared a sense of expat community helping each other overcome the obstacles of moving countries and starting new friends. I see that competitive parenting is not just a NYC phenomenon!

Imogen Lamport said...

My husband also thinks I should get up when he has to (as he has to leave for work at 7.20am) at 6am because he is too lazy (or just male) to look after the kids needs as well as his own.

My 3 1/2 year old gets up between5.30am - 6am every day - no matter what time she goes to bed - it's killing me!

I so feel for you - at least I have interesting work to keep me occupied (I found it very hard moving from the inner city to the suburbs 4 years ago - I can only imagine how bizarre HK would be).

Anonymous said...

Move out of DB to HK proper. Yes, there is a big expat community, but DB is a wasteland, stepford doesn't begin to describe it. At least go to Aberdeen or midlevels.

Anonymous said...

The Aberdeen Marina Club is a good place to join if you are not far away and are planning on staying in HK for some time - it's good if you have young children.