Sunday, 18 September 2016

Blood Donation + Watford

Turns out Climbing Mount Kinabalu has been identified as a risk when donating blood in Hong Kong. The risk is that Malaria may be present and the blood may be contaminated. Have I had Malaria for the last 6 months? What about all those Gin and Tonics I've had between then and now?

This is the first time I've donated blood. My ex colleague convinced me to donate blood with the promise of waffles. The interesting thing is that majority of the donors are the Causeway Bay Donation Centre were all helpers. I wonder what attracts helpers to want to donate? Is it because a lot of them having Nursing or Medical backgrounds?




Friday, 16 September 2016

Much needed extra week

I had expected to only have a one week off between jobs. Thankfully the Visa transfer process has taken a little longer than expected with the Immigration Department requesting evidence that my previous employee has acknowledged my resignation. Having the relaxing few days in Sydney and now a couple of extra days in Hong Kong to decompress and unwind has been exactly what I needed. Lots of long sleeps, yoga, beach and running around completing apartment errands (clothes donation and installation of some black out curtains).

Visa was approved on Wednesday evening, and with Friday being the Mid Autumn Festival public holiday we have agreed to an official start day on Monday the 19th September. Which means that I've had two whole weeks off in between. Can't wait to get started, looking forward to new challenges and new learning.






Thursday, 8 September 2016

Sydney

I have a break between jobs! Exactly one week worth of doing nothing. As much as I would like to spend that time in Hong Kong catching up on errands (think: going to the tailor, fixing the halogen lights in my bedroom, getting new bedsheets, buying a vacuum cleaner, buying some new kitchenware, eliminating the light pollution from my bedroom, relaxing, the list goes on ... ); my mind raced through the endless possibilities. I entertained the usual destinations: Malaysia, Thailand or Korea. With the standard agendas: eat, sleep and yoga. However a recent trip from my dad convinced me that it would be nice to return to Sydney and decompress on home soil. With the help of CX Fanfares I managed to pick up some opportune flights back to Sydney (only 4400 HKD return).

3 days in Sydney. Mom had time off due to recent eye surgery and it presented a good opportunity to hang with the family. It was exactly what I needed. Cool, early Spring weather. Great food: hotpot at home, Sydney Cafe, Butter Sydney Fried Chicken, food court Sushi and Pho An. Lots of sleep and the recalibration of my body clock. Shopping for bedding, sports equipment and kitchenware. Physical activities, walking, (double) yoga and my first float. But most importantly some quality family time.








Currently reading: "Four Hour Chef"

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

My first float

My first sensory deprivation tank. A little surreal, drifting in between wakefulness and consciousness.  90 minute sailed by. Might have to give it another go in Hong Kong.



Friday, 2 September 2016

And so it is: Last day at work

Since my resignation two months ago, I had expected the workload to slow down. However, due to block leave and deadlines it has been quite the opposite - my days have been vigorious, working weekends and maintaining the same intensity as a employee with no end in sight. "Why are you still working so hard?" is the common mantra from friends, I honestly don't know. I guess the issue is, the work needs to be delivered and since I'm the only person around there remains an element of accountability. So I push on, not 100%, but not full time malingering.

With that being said, it has finally started to taper off during this last week. Since returning from Bali I embark on my final four days and it has finally started to taper off. My colleague has returned and the last few days have been dedicated to handovers. I leave before 7 pm and my demeanour noticeably improves up until the final day. I am still sending mails, not everybody knows that my time here is drawing to an end. I order 40 cupcakes, and write up my farewell email.

Today marks my final day with BNP Paribas - It has been an enjoyable three years punctuated by challenges, fulfilment and entertainment both professionally and personally. Thank you to the Client Management team, past and present. To the stakeholders who tried to make life easier for me. Finally, to those who always had the time for a conversation in the kitchen or lifts of Exchange Square and PCCW Tower.

There was always a risk that this would become an award’s acceptance speech, so before I drop the mic I can be contacted on all the regular channels: email, mobile, Facebook and of course Snapchat.

Regards,

Derek

There are faces of confusion, clearly my departure was not advertised and as I walk around and bid farewell to the faces on level 16 the resounding sentiment is "Congratulations". I leave the building and head back to Exchange Square for my exit interview.



Monday, 29 August 2016

All you need is love, and sunshine, oh and daily massages

Between now and the 12th of September I have a four day vacation, a four day final working week topped off by a one week transition period. I can't help but wish  I had timed my resignation a little better, but with all things it comes down to timing and lets just saying timing is not one of my strong points. Irrespective, the point of this post is not to bitch about my unfavourable annual leave situation but to celebrate the wedding of one of my favourite Hong Kong couples. The August wedding was more of a formality as the couple had previously signed the papers to be married earlier this year (it was a Chinese Fortune teller who advised that the couple be wed in the year of the Sheep, not the year of the Monkey). In any case, who doesn't like a destination wedding?



We arrived into Bali, Ngurah Rai International Airport just after 2 am and due to some skilful inception somebody had managed to convince the group that we needed KFC to be our first meal. It probably should have come to no surprise that KFC was closed and we were forced to have Mc Donalds. The same McDonalds I have eaten at in all previous Bali visits.

The crowd in the restaurant was best described as Antipodean, it was as if I had been transported to George Street Sydney, "Maccas" on a Saturday night circa 12 am. A cacophony of "OHH YEAH" and "HOWZZIT GOING" bombarded our weary ears. It would take us 40 minutes to consume the food. The hot plate was not working and they weren't able to accommodate anything with a beef patty.  We switched our order to Mc Chickens and Mc Nuggets and reluctantly gobbled down the food . We arrived in Seseh just before 4 am and promptly drifted into sleep.

Clear skies and warm weather greeted us the next morning as did the bride. There was something different about her today, she was on crutches and each step winced her with discomfort. Those crutches are new, I thought to myself. Turns out she had (re) dislocated her knee and was now confined to limited movement. How would she walk down the isle? How, indeed...

The wedding had been setup in the main villa and family and guests were assigned adjacent villas. We had a nearby villa where breakfast was provided and our days consisted of swimming, chilling, massages, and the odd 1 hour car ride into Seminyak - Who would have thought sitting in an air conditioned car be so tiring?



So back to the wedding. Due to previous destination weddings held in sweltering heat, the bride and groom decided that suit and tie for men was not going to be very comfortable for anybody; Not for the guy sweating profusely, and not for the person talking to the guy sweating profusely. A large proportion of the guests had flown in from America and Europe and were not handling the warmer temps and higher humidity. Our wardrobe consisted of shorts and warmer weather attire and boy what a difference it made. So what happened to the bride? Well, it's obvious. She was "walked" down the isle on a Balinese Palanquin manned by four Balinese ushers.



Great weekend trip in South East Asia. Managed to avoid the mosquitos. Caught up with a lot of familiar faces. However the highlight was of course the beautiful wedding, punctuated by a touching wedding video, a fireworks display, a raucous after party and two dislocated knees. That's right, she dislocated the second knee later that night during the after party.