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Friday, 31 October 2008

Showtime at the Conference

It was showtime for me today. I have to present at the conference. Thank goodness, my session is in the afternoon at 2:40pm (1:40 pm S'pore time). I slept in and only went to the conference at 11am lol. Lunch was provided and I sat with a Taiwanese Prof with his two students. It was interesting talking to them and learning about what other researchers are doing in their countries about education. :)

Soon, it was the concurrent session where I have to present my paper. I was nervous. :P But according to my Korean friend, I didn't look it at all! Hahaha. I was the second person to present in that session. At least, it is easier not being the first. :) The presentation went well, with only 1 question asked and it was on my area of Assessment so I could answer it with no problem at all. :) There were comments given to help with our research. Really appreciated that. :) The most pleasant thing that happened was after the concurrent session when one of the keynoters and a really big name in Science Education came up to me with his name card and encouraged me to send in the full paper of our research into his journal. I was so honoured!!! I happened to sit with this keynoter and some others at the conference dinner. An even greater surprise was when he told us that my presentation was the best he has heard at the conference and he has only given one name card at this conference!! I am even more honoured after hearing this. Must really work hard on the writings now hahaha.

My presentation in the concurrent session III

The venue of my presentation

The grand lecture hall: how it looks from the inside

Oh yes, I totally enjoyed my dinner, there were authentic Korean food. Really delicious!! :) Some photos I took but no food cos I had to behave properly in front of great academics. :P

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Korea, COLD, Brr...

The flight to Korea took off at 11pm. I managed to sleep for 3 hours before breakfast was served at 3+ am. The plane landed at 6am Korean time (5am S'pore time). It was a breeze through customs and I collected my luggage by 6:35am. I caught the 6:45am bus to Gwanak-Gu where my hotel is.

I was dropped off at Gwanak-Gu Station at 8:15am. The place is already bustling with people going to work, going to school. After a while, I realised that I was lost! Hahaha. I tried asking people where my hotel, Stay Seven is but either they don't know or gave me conflicting directions. I was lucky though that a Seoul National University student helped me and in doing so, he actually missed his bus. I am really grateful to him. :) At least he got me in the right directions. However when I got to the junction, I was stumped because I had to exit through the subway exit and one particular one. No choice lor, had to call for help. I called my friend, the Korean Asst Prof haha. She was really helpful. She finally directed me in the right direction. Phew! :P

The bus stop from the airport to my hotel

The sun rising in Korea

After 45 minutes of wandering on the streets of Gwanak-Gu and 10 minutes of checking in, I finally got into my hotel room. :) It is a nice cosy studio apartment. :) It is small but it has got everything!

I was still pretty whacked out by my flight so I took a two hour nap before I went to the conference for registration at 1pm. Managed to get to the conference at 1:30pm taking the public transport where everything is in Korean lol. I was still quite tired so half the time, actually most of the time I spaced out at the conference haha. :P

In the evening, I went for dinner with my Korean friend. What I didn't realise was that the dinner was only for the conference committee members and keynoters. Oh dear, I felt a bit awkward lol. Oh well, for some authentic Korean food, I will bear with it hahaha. :P After dinner, my Korean friend asked her friend to give me a lift back to my hotel. That is really nice of them, taking care of me on my first day in Korea. :)

I had a nap after dinner as I was just too tired to prepare for my presentation tomorrow. I woke up around 12+ am (11+ am S'pore time). Ok, might as well look through my presentation stuff.

Preparing for my presentation while having the tv on :P

It is very cold in Korea. When I arrived this morning, it was only about 8 C. Maximum it went up to 14 C and in the night, it will drop to 4 C. But at least I will be in bed by then. Lol. :P

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Korea, Get Ready For Me. :)

I am flying off to Korea tonight for the conference but there is still a few things I have to do first.

I went back to campus for a short while because I forgot my name cards. Silly me. It was nice to see my colleagues and friends again though, lol.

In the evening, we celebrated my mother's birthday in advance because I will be away in Korea on her birthday on 31 October. The girls were excited to be blowing out the candle haha.

Around 8pm, I set off for the airport again, lol. The girls came along for the ride and to say good-bye to me. Juliane was a little upset with me because I couldn't take her with me to Korea lol. I hope they will be good and listen to their grandparents when I am not around.

The flight on Korean Air is only half full. I am seated in a row of three empty seats! Yeah, I could lie down and sleep. :)

Ok, boarding soon. I better run. Will update my blog when I am in Korea. :)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bye Bye Hong Kong :)

We are going home today. I finished packing most of the luggage last night so that we don't have to rush in the morning. :)

The girls woke up relatively early at 10am lol. Their father went out to get some breakfast sandwich and tea. After breakfast, Marieann and I went to the stationery shop just opposite the hotel to get some traditional lunar calendars for my parents. We walked a bit round the area and went back to the hotel about 15 minutes to 12pm. The coach was coming to pick us up to the airport at 12:15pm.

We arrived at the airport at 1:45pm and after checking in, we had lunch at Ah Yee Leng Tong (dim sum and soup) Restaurant, 2:30pm. It was a pretty hurried lunch as the last call for boarding was at 15:35pm. But on the way to the gate at 15:25pm, the girls got side-tracked at the Disney shop lol. Thank goodness, we managed to board the plane just after 3:45pm.

The plane took off at 4:15pm. The girls were both thrilled to go home and at the same time, sad that the holiday is over. I am just glad to be home so that I can have a good rest before flying off again for Korea tomorrow night at 10:45pm! The kids' meals looked great. Since Juliane wasn't that hungry, I had her spaghetti lol. :P The adults' meal wasn't too bad, it came with ice cream! :)

We were all either watching The Incredible Hulk and Indiana Jones 4. Soon, it was time to land. We touched down at 7:50pm. We were home just before 9pm. The girls were excited to see their maternal grandparents again. :) However, they couldn't stay up because they have school the very next day hahaha.

It's good to be home. Now I have to get ready for my Korea trip. I have to re-pack because the temperature in Korea has just dropped to the mid tens. Brrrr... going to be cold! :(

Monday, 27 October 2008

Birthday in Hong Kong, Ocean Park, Shopping

Updated: 29 October 10:51am. I have uploaded the photos. :) Thanks for your patience. :)

Today is my birthday. I want to thank all my friends and former students who have sent me their birthday wishes. :) Thanks so much. It really means a lot to me. :) Especially since the girls' father totally forgot about it lol. Sigh.

We went to Ocean Park close to 11 am. There weren't too many people. The girls were thrilled to take the cable car. It was quite scary though for me because of my fear of height. I was trying my best not to look down lol. :P We had lunch at The Bayview Restaurant. Unfortunately we couldn't see much of the bay view as there was the perpetual smog/ smoke veiling everything. Sigh.

We went to the Sea Jelly Spectacular where the girls saw various kinds of jelly fish. Next, we saw the Chinese Sturgeon. They are HUGE! The Atoll Reef was the next stop where the girls were totally intrigued with the different kind of sea creatures living in the reef. We skipped the rides this time round as I didn't want to over-exert the girls too much as we are leaving for home tomorrow.

We took a ride up the Ocean Park Tower where we saw the view all around Ocean Park. The view would have been great if the smog wasn't around and there weren't construction going on around the park. We went on to Pacific Pier where the girls saw the different sea lions. We were a little late for the performance at the Ocean Theatre and we had to stand right at the back and the girls couldn't see much. Never mind, next time bring them to Sea World, Australia lol. Finally we saw the Giant Panda Habitat before we left for the hotel at 5pm. The girls were happy to finally see pandas, other than on Discovery and NG channels lol. :)

We rested for a while before going to Grandville Road again for dinner and shopping. :) We had dinner at Tai Ping Koon Restaurant again lol. :P The food is very nice lor so we went back, haha. :) Today we shared a Seafood Bisque (HK$82, no photo taken) and a Minced Chicken and Sweet Corn Cream Soup (HK$42). I ordered a Sateurn Pork Chops (HK$85) while the girls' father ordered his TPK style Pigeon in Swiss Sauce again. The bisque was really tasty with lots of ingredients in it - scallop, prawns, crab meat, squid, and even abalone. :) My pork chops was really tender and the sauce went well with the pork chops. It also came with a piece of ham and fried egg. Very filling!

After dinner, we went shopping. This time round, I managed to buy 2 blouses and 3 skirts hahaha. Still not very used to their shopping style there, can't try the tops or the skirts. But you can bring the items back for exchange of a different size or something else if it doesn't fit you. Isn't it a waste of time? Anyway, I am glad the clothing all fitted me very well when I came back to the hotel to try them. :)

We had dessert at Hsu Lau Shan again lol. :) Very nice and colourful and sweet.

We will be going home tomorrow. I will upload the photos later.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Hong Kong Shopping

Updated: 29 October 10:20am. I have updated the photos and added in a little section about our dessert. Thanks for your patience. :)

Today we took it quite easy since it is Sunday. We did our shopping. :) We again left close to 12 noon.

We took a train to Citygate Outlets for some shopping. I didn't expect to buy alot as I found some clothes and shoes are still quite pricey even though after discount.

First we went for lunch at Golden Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant. The taste was really nice and authentic Shanghai cuisine, not the fusion kind. :) The appetiser was nice, so was the Shanghai Nian Gao and Xiao Long Bao. I think what the girls and I loved best was the dessert: Chrysanthemum and Osmanthus Jelly. It was really unique and refreshing. I could taste both the flowers and there were bits of osmanthus flower in the jelly for added bite. :)

After lunch at 2pm, we walked around the mall and went into some shops. At the end of the day, I managed to buy for myself: a kipling bag (YES, another one lol :P), a pair of Clarks shoes, and a top. Juliane got a skirt and a blouse. Marieann didn't want anything. We left for the hotel at 5:30pm.

We had a rest at the hotel until 8pm before setting out to Grandville Road, the shopping area nearby our hotel. We walked around and what I found really frustrating when shopping in HK is that you aren't allowed to try the tops on for most shops! I mean how then would one know if the blouse/ top fits or suits one?! That's why I didn't do a lot of shopping, I would buy something that I know will really looks nice on me than to make a guess and then regret the purchase later and besides, things aren't that much cheaper than in Singapore. :(

We had dinner at this restaurant called Tai Ping Koon which has been set up since 1860 (Qing Dynasty!!). The restaurant and waiting staff reminds me of Singapore's Shashilik lol. The restaurant and decor are quite old and so are the waiting stuff. But somehow the waiting staff are less grumpy than those in Shashilik (haha :P) and they actually were nice to the kids and took note of their needs too. :) Again never mind if the place is old, the FOOD was fantastic and most delicious! The servings were huge too.
The girls' father ordered a Onion soup (HK$40) which tasted great, Marieann had a Shredded Chicken and Mushroom Cream Soup (HK$42) while Juliane and I shared a Minced Chicken and Cream Corn Soup (HK$42). The girls shared a Chicken Wings in Swiss Sauce (HK$125). I had a Baked Pork Chop Rice (HK$77), I forogt to take a photo but the serving was HUGE, I couldn't finish it at all. The girls' father had a TPK Pigeon in Swiss Sauce (HK$98). The pigeon was quite nice, it tasted like red meat lol. :P

After dinner at 10pm, we walked around Grandville Road a little more. I managed to find a cardigan in the first shop we walked into after dinner lol. :) Hmm, maybe tomorrow we have to come back again at night after ocean Park hahaha. Afterall it is my birthday tomorrow 27 October, I am entitled to do a bit more shopping! Hahaha! :)

We stopped by Hsu Lau Shan for dessert as it is on our way back to the hotel. There were many desserts to choose from and they are famous for their mango stuff. Here are the pcitures. It's a pity the branch in Singapore closed down.

I hope it is good weather for the Ocean Park visit but NOT too hot, please. :)

PS. I will upload the photos later. So please check back in. Thanks.
PS. Thanks, Keng Ling for reading my blog and sending an sms to inform me. :) Will try to upload the food photos haha. :)