Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong has just about everything you need, especially craft items. This blogger made a map of all the different little craft shops there are and it’s quite useful!
For Christmas, Kim got Seth and I a baking class to make pineapple buns, egg tarts and sausage rolls! We just went today and had a great time.
The class was at The Mixing Bowl in Sheung Wan. We had 8 people total in our class with one main instructor, Victor, and one more employee to help set up our materials and things. Victor was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We learned some techniques on how to properly knead dough and shape it into some nice balls for our bread.
One thing that I didn’t like about the class is that they measured all the ingredients for you in order to save time. He did tell us the ingredients for each recipe and said that we will get the recipes in an e-mail which is good. Everything turned out delicious although they baked the egg tarts a bit too long. We even had a little break in the middle where we had some scones and tea!
Wedding ring shopping is fun but exhausting. We went to many big jewelry chains in Hong Kong like Chow Tai Fook, Luk Fook, Chow Sang Sang as well independent stores that make custom made jewelry. I had no idea in terms of what I wanted since I don’t really wear rings and don’t know my size so it was nice going into stores and trying out different kinds of rings. Once I found out what kind of style I was looking for, I looked at some online stores like BrilliantEarth.com, BlueNile.com and JamesAllen.com to compare the prices and found that online stores have a lot more options on the different styles of bands and they tend to be a bit cheaper. I found a ring that I loved on James Allen’s site so I wanted to see if they had similar styles in the local stores but they didn’t; many independent stores said that they could make it but it would cost more than what it is on James Allen’s site. Also, many stores didn’t have rose gold since it’s not so popular here. So, it made sense for me to buy it online!
After a lot of research, I’ve found that James Allen was the best option for me. One reason was that their diamonds are conflict-free diamonds. Many of the diamonds in the big chain companies in HK come from De Beers and they are proud because it’s a well-known company. I guess they never heard of the monoploid practices of De Beers and its history of blood diamonds. Another reason why I chose James Allen is that you can really zoom in to see all the inclusions of the diamonds and the diamonds are all GIA certified. After researching the ideal proportions of diamonds as well as the 4 C’s – color, clarity, cut and carat – I was able to use the filter feature and find the perfect diamond. I also found out that since I bought a rose gold band, the color of the band will reflect a bit in the diamond. That means that I was able to save some money by not purchasing a colorless diamond. Other advantages of this site is that they offer free international shipping, have a 30 day refund policy, and have 24-hour online customer service.
So a month after I ordered it, it finally arrived yesterday! I think the ring looks a lot better in person than the picture they have on their website. The website has this 360 view which makes the ring look a bit stretched out. Overall, I had a good experience with James Allen and would recommend it to others! Well, here it is!
Well, here it is!
It came in this nice box.
There is a bottom compartment that holds the appraisal, receipt, GIA certificate and a cleaning cloth.
I guess when I really zoom in, the diamond looks dark but it doesn’t look like that in person!
I’m very happy with this ring. Thanks Seth!
Here are some things that I have learned from ring shopping in Hong Kong:
- the prices on the rings are not the actual prices (they will give you a “good” price)
- the salesperson will expect you to buy it if you like it
- don’t shop in busy tourist areas (aka TST) but instead, go to stores in the New Territories
- many places do not resize silver rings
- one place that do resize silver rings is Power Jewellery Company (19A Hankow Road, G/F., Han Yee Mansion, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and they did it for a reasonable price
As most of you all know, Seth proposed in Prague on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2015 on the St. Charles bridge!
Before going on the trip, I had a feeling that he was going to propose since we’ve talked about marriage for a while. When planning our trip to Dubai, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, Seth kept telling me how we need to go on the St. Charles bridge in Prague for some sunrise pictures because it looked amazing. He kept sending me pictures of it and repeating that we had to catch the sunrise or at least sunset there. The day before leaving for our trip, he was debating on whether or not to bring the tripod, which was unlike him (well, he did buy that tripod for our Iceland trip), but he decided not to.
So when we arrived in Prague to check into our hotel, the woman said that we got the best room in the hotel! I haven’t seen the other rooms but ours was really nice. There were basically four rooms – a bedroom, living room, an extra room with a desk, armoire, vanity table, and a bathroom. Inside the bathroom, we had a jacuzzi and two separate sinks. I thought maybe this hotel has something to do with him proposing but he swears that he didn’t pay anything extra for this room; it was just a standard room. That night, we basically just walked around the downtown area for a bit and at a pub. We were exhausted afterwards because we were still not used to the time difference (7 hour difference) so we went to bed early.
Because we were still jet lagged, we woke up around 5am the next day and headed out for the St. Charles bridge to see the sunrise. It was a great time to see the bridge since there were hardly anyone there except photographers. We went the previous night and it was packed with people. We were taking some photos and then Seth asked a stranger to help take a picture of us. That was when he got down on one knee and proposed! The photographer wasn’t expecting it but was a good sport in helping us capture the moment.
It was a perfect day and he was right, the sunrise on the bridge was beautiful!
That’s a bit weird to zoom in so much on my finger….but here’s the engagement ring he got me! It’s a traditional Irish ring called Claddagh and it is fitting since he has some Irish background in him. It represents love, loyalty, and friendship. The hands holding the heart represent friendship, the heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty.
Seth has a great memory on how I talked about how I think it’s crazy that some people spend so much money on a ring and aren’t 100% sure that their partner is going to like it so he got me the Claddagh ring as a temporary ring. It was very thoughtful of him as we were able to choose wedding rings together!
I hope that this post will help you to obtain your China visa in Hong Kong fast and without any problems.
For US citizens, we can apply for a 10-year China visa in Hong Kong. This is for citizens who previously had applied for a China visa in the past but for my boyfriend who have never been to China, he was still granted the 10-year visa. I’m not sure for non-US citizens, but I assume the process will be pretty similar.
The lines are long so make sure you have the following things before you head to the China Resource Building in Wanchai:
- A filled out application form (Visa Application Form of the People’s Republic of China Form V. 2013). On page 2, 2.2 Intended number of entries, check Other (Please specify) and write 10 years (US citizens only)
- One copy of a visa photo (same as a passport photo)
- A copy of your passport and your Hong Kong visa (either travel visa or work visa)
- If you have a Hong Kong ID, make a copy of that too
- Supporting documents of why you are going to China (ex: For a tourist visa, you need either a hotel confirmation with your name on it or a copy of flight tickets) (If you are applying for your whole family, make sure that the hotel confirmation has every guest name, especially the ones who are applying for the China visa. You need a copy of the hotel confirmation for each person applying for the visa.)
- Your passport and Hong Kong ID (if you have one)
*If you have previously gotten a China visa, you need a copy of that old China visa* So if it’s in an old passport that expired, you can either bring that old passport or make a copy of it.
Right when you go to the 3rd floor of the China Resource Building, get in line to grab a ticket that tells you your place number. In order to get this number, you MUST have your application form all filled out.
Hours: Monday- Friday (except public holidays) 9am-12 pm and 2-5pm
* I’d avoid going in Monday morning since it is one of the busiest days. Also, you should arrive at least a half an hour before it opens to avoid waiting for hours (get there by 8:30am).
*Notice that there is a 2 hour lunch break so if you leave the building during the break time, you won’t be able to enter the building until 2pm (there will be a line again).
Inquiry Hotline: +852-3413-2300/+852-3413-2424 (There is a 24-hour automated recording. If you want to talk to a staff member, call between 10-11am or 3-4pm)
- You are not allowed to bring any food or drinks in the building (that includes water bottles). If you bring it, then they will ask you to leave it outside the building.
- If you need a visa photo, you can get it done in the China Resource Building. They have a photo booth on the 3rd floor on the right hand side where there is someone there to assist you. It costs $50 HKD and they give you 6 copies.
- If you don’t have access to a copy machine, you can make copies there and it costs $1 HKD per page. Make sure to bring $1 coins since the machine does not give change or accept any other type of coins. Some people exchanged $1 coins at the photo booth.
- When you turn in your application and documents, they will keep your passport; they need to keep your passport so that they can place your China visa in there.
- The normal waiting time for the passport is 4 business days. You can pay more to have if completed earlier (2 or 3 business days).
- For the normal processing time, it costs $1,100. Make sure to bring exact change. You pay when you pick up your China visa.
Good luck and remember to get there early with all your documents! When I went, I had to wait 4 hours until I was called whereas my boyfriend only had to wait about 15 minutes because he had all his documents in order before getting there.
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve written a post. I guess I’ve been exhausted after work nowadays. So my hours change all the time depending on if I have to teach a later after school class. Sometimes I go in from 8-4 and other times from 9-5. I take a bus to work and it usually takes around 30 minutes to get there but I leave an hour later since the bus schedule may be off a bit. During the first few weeks at school, my schedule was pretty light because they were still making up my teaching schedule. During that time, I had a few classes to teach and some projects to work on like creating audio files and videos in dictations and phonics so that students can practice at home. We also we on a field trip to Inspiration Lake which is right outside of Disneyland (but owned by Disney). It was a lot of fun and our job was to talk to the students in English and video tape them using English for a school video that I edited and put together. The students should be able to see the video soon!
These past weeks I’ve been worrying that my bus will no longer take me near my school because they had these flyers everywhere that talked about route changes. However, I found out that it will take me even closer to my school so I’m really excited!
We really like the area that we live in. There are a lot of restaurants to try and the prices are good. According to my cousin’s mom, Tsuen Wan’s wet market is one of the cheapest places to buy produce! I love that we can get basically anything that we need and the prices aren’t too bad (however, I still haven’t found hot Cheetos). There are international stores like 360 and 759 (I guess HK loves stores with numbers in it) as well as big supermarkets like International and City Super.
Last week, I was able to meet up with my aunt and uncle twice for dinner! Below is a picture of them eating tofu dessert after dinner in Tsuen Wan. They are here for vacation and they went to mainland China before they came to HK and then their off to Taiwan tomorrow! They have a pretty tight schedule so I’m glad we were able to meet. Plus, they brought my tennis rackets so Seth and I will be able to play soon!
Some highlights from this month:
- watching Interstellar and Mockingjay Part I
- Thanksgiving dinner at Seth’s university
- Friday night game nights through Meetup
- Good days with my students. Here is a picture of my P2 (2nd graders) with the alligators that we made in class.
- Hiking only a little bit of the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail which is right by us
- Meeting some really cute dogs at the dog park
- Swimming in November. We went to Hap Moon Bay which is on an island that is near Sai Kung. It was really beautiful and the weather was perfect.
- I taught Zoe how to shake! They say that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, but Zoe is pretty smart!
- And last but not least, I got paid! I finally have money in my bank account.
Next month, my family is coming to visit us! We will also go on some small trips within the time that they are here. We are going to Chiang Mai, Thailand and Taipei, Taiwan! Airplane tickets are all booked =) We found a border for Zoe right near our apartment so we are very happy! It’s quite expensive though but we know that she will be in a good place. They have a large 5,000 sq ft rooftop for dogs to walk around and they will give Zoe some space since we really doesn’t do so well with other dogs.
Well, maybe I’ll write again next month! We still haven’t taken pictures of our furnished place yet but we will soon…or you can come visit and see it for yourself!
The same day that I visited Tim Ho Wan for dim sum, we also went to Yat Lok Restaurant for dinner. They are apparently famous for their roast goose and was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, however, it was at a different location (Tai Po location rather than the Central location that we went to). We ordered roast goose, roast pork, bbq pork, noodles, and rice.
Enjoying dinner with Andrew and Lisa
The roast goose was amazing. It was so tender and juicy from the fat…haha. Everything else, I wouldn’t recommend. The roast pork was way too salty and the bbq pork really didn’t have enough flavor to it although the meat was really tender. The dry egg noodle was a bit bitter and nothing really special with the wonton noodles and choi sum. I felt that the place was overpriced. I don’t remember exactly how much it was but I think it was around $420 HKD or $54 USD for 3 people (we also ordered 2 drinks). I guess that doesn’t seem like a lot of money if you compare it to the U.S. but compared to other local places in HK, it is a bit more. I would only recommend coming here for the roast goose.
Yat Lok Restaurant (一樂食館) G/F, 28 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong (map)
Phone #: 2524 3882
Original location: G/F, Block A, Po Wah Building, 5 Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po (map)
Phone #: 2656 4732