A loud buzzing cut through the pitch black silence. I jolted awake from what felt like 15 minutes of sleep to find the phone on my bedside table ringing loudly. The call was from Mum, asking if I was awake enough for breakfast. Still confused, my sleep deprived brain did well to focus my bloodshot eyes on the digital clock. 7.54am. Thanks Mum.
After agreeing to meet at 8.30am, I took my time getting ready. A long hot shower to de-plane my skin and I was ready for a sumptuous breakfast of congee and fried dough sticks.
The schedule for today was relatively easy going. After breakfast, we made preparations to pay our respects to my late grandparents. It is customary for me to pay my respects to the grandparents whenever I was in Hong Kong, so we walked around the corner to the flower markets for some pretty blooms.
First stop was to Dad’s parents, who are buried at the top of a hill. The gravesite has a pretty view of Hong Kong and we were blessed with clear skies for our visit. Dad always gets a bit choked up whenever he pays a visit to the gravesite – he was every close to his mother and I know he still misses her a lot.
Next stop: Mum’s parents, who were laid to rest in a crematorium in Kowloon. I was exceptionally close to my Goong Goong so visiting his and Por Por’s final resting place is always a moving experience for me. I wasn’t allowed to attend either of their funerals – they passed away in Hong Kong during school term and travelling was deemed too disruptive to my school work. I don’t think I will ever forgive my parents for not allowing me to say my final goodbyes. Anyway, on this visit, I made sure we bought a very pretty purple lisianthus for their plaque.
We headed to lunch thereafter. Dad knew of this Chinese restaurant in Mong Kok that was famous for their Char Siu, which he insisted I must try. A short ride on the MTR and we were there. Dad was right – the Char Siu was as good as his claims.
Just as we were finishing lunch, I received a message from Jamie, who was keen to meet up with me later that day. We agreed to meet in my hotel lobby to catch up over afternoon tea.
My folks and I spent the next hour or so wandering around, window shopping and getting quotes for my digital camera. Time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to meet Jamie.
As I sat in the hotel lobby waiting for her, I thought back to the first time I met Jamie. It was my first day at S&G Advertising in 1992, and Jamie was assigned as my supervisor. Neither of us were serious about working in direct sales forever – the job was a means to an end, and while the job didn’t last, our friendship did, and I always looked forward to catching up with Jamie whenever I was in Hong Kong. Jamie married her sweetheart Justin in January this year, an event that I was invited to but was not able to attend, so I was keen to see some wedding photos and hear stories from her big day.
Married life certainly agreed with Jamie, who bounced into the lobby, grinning and glowing.
Over a buffet of afternoon tea treats, we caught up on everything that had happened over the past 12 months. Jamie had a new job that she was finally settling into. She loves married life – she loved being at home with her husband and preferred to stay in than go out. I teased her about being a boring married old fart, to which she laughingly agreed.
It was really terrific to see Jamie so happy. Time passed quickly as we chatted away. Too soon, Jamie had to leave for a dinner engagement. We hugged and promised catch up again in the near future.
The rest of the evening was a relaxed affair. The folks and I went to dinner, and later, we wandered past a camera shop where we had earlier gotten a quote. Our second visit was well worth our while, as the salesman started listing a large number of freebies that came with the camera I wanted. Armed with that information, we went back to the hotel so I could sleep on it before making my final decision.
As we retired for the evening, Dad reminded me that we were having lunch with Auntie Josie, Carolyn and JJ the following day. I love my cousins and looked forward to catching up with them.