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Monday, March 07, 2011

When worlds collide

Several years ago, I "met" Grit through her blog about home schooling triplets. I've followed their escapades from the UK through their move to Hong Kong last August. I sympathized as they suffered through the humid summer (we have the same weather in South Florida) and said to myself if I ever get to Hong Kong, I'm definitely going to hang out with this adventurous clan.

Well - we finally managed to cross paths this weekend! A flurry of emails, confirmation of meeting point and shared mobile numbers got us to Pier 7 on Hong Kong harbor side. Thankfully we had the foresight to share phone numbers because at the pier I went up and she went down to street level. It took 15 minutes of discussion - I'm at the Starbucks, I'm on the path, I'm street level - wait what does that mean, oh look here's a Gritlet (nickname for one of the triplets) running up to me with pink pants! Cue awkward introduction, hi Squirrel (her nickname, although I'm not sure if her mom calls her by this name or if it's just on the blog), I'm a friend of your mum's, where is she by the way? She just stares at me like I'm an alien and runs off, assume I'm to follow. Shortly thereafter I see happy Grit waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.

Introductions are made to husband and the three triplets and we head up to The Peak of Hong Kong. Not sure how I've managed to miss this in my prior 8 trips here but it's a stunning view of Hong Kong - on a clear day! We managed to get our heads stuck in the clouds and observe some hazy buildings off in the distance. But I'm getting ahead of myself. On the bus, the Gritlets steer me to the top front because it has the best view - cool 11 year old tour-guides! They point out the mountainside grave yard along the way and I talk Grit's ear off about my job and God only knows what else. I'm just so giddy to spend time with real people on my weekend in Hong Kong. In prior trips I'd hole myself up in the hotel, sitting at the rooftop pool, reading books and feeling really depressed about being away from home. So this weekend with really cool people is just making me endlessly giddy.

We make it to the top and my helpful tour guides take me straight to the bathroom. Afterward we re-group and the two hour hike begins - yes I was warned there would be a hike. I haven't read Grit's Day for 2+ years to not realize there would be some major form of healthy exercise involved!

I find myself desperately trying to keep track of the girls real names and failing miserably. Their names are Shark, Squirrel and Tiger on Grit's blog and I don't want to call anyone by their nickname. Actually, when I first phoned Grit I managed to yell into the phone GRIT! I mean ______ insert real name - embarrassed laugh. This hanging out with new friends is a bit tricky - especially with my addled time-zone confused brain.

But I have to say, the girls nicknames were extremely well chosen, for example:

Squirrel - description on Grit's Blog "Meet Squirrel. Lives in own world. Moving on from fairies to princesses. High maintenance daughter. If it doesn't come in pink or with added sparkles, it's probably not real."

  • Along the walk I compliment her butterfly necklace and this leads to a lengthy discussion about her favorite butterflies and various pretty things. Her little fish purse is filled with useful odds and ends and she has a delightful bubbly personality.
Shark - description on Grit's Blog "Meet Shark. Slightly opinionated. And blunt with it. Because basically, if you're not able to teach her about sailing, oceanography, marine life, you might not be worth knowing. She'll tell you that."
  • While discussing butterflies with Squirrel, Shark turns the conversation to dolphins (I believe it had something to do with her only liking marine based jewelry). I mention the dolphins in Florida and they both explode into excited stories about the dolphins in Hong Kong, there is a baby one and a really fat one. Grit turns and see's me walking between the two girls and smiles. Shark seems to be in charge today, she's so full of confidence.
Tiger - description on Grit's Blog "Meet Tiger. Beautiful, but deadly. Unstable temperament. Treat carefully. And do not get on the wrong side of these claws, because scars last a lifetime."
  • Tiger ignores me completely and I understand she's not happy about the families residence in Hong Kong so I don't take it personally. She's an artist and we stop at the top so she can sketch the scenery. I wish I'd thought to bring my own pad, husband's been bugging me for ages to get back into sketching. I'll jump ahead to say the next day she finally offers to show me her sketch pad - this means the world to me. A break through! I'm thrilled beyond words because I understand what it means for artist to show off ones work.
Somewhere during the walk I give up completely on figuring out names and just focus on each girls likes and dislikes. The entire family is just full of information and learning. I feel like I've spent the entire weekend at an education camp combined with lots of exercise! It's a good time, a really really good time and a welcome distraction from the loneliness of travel. So big thanks to Grit and her entire family for entertaining me all weekend. I'll never forget this.


Unknown said...

So glad you are enjoying your time! Did you ever get your suitcase?

R. Molder said...

No, suitcase never arrived! I'm afraid someone else picked up and didn't bother to return it.

Grit said...

But you are such lovely, easy company Rachel, call on us again!

Anonymous said...

I've never met a blogger friend in real life. Must be very interesting.

crazywildberry said...

Although most of our friendship now is within this blog (and sometimes mine, please stop by. Your comments encourage me to keep blogging.) I have been blessed with your friendship for most of my life. This fall it will be over 20 years. Can you believe that? Man, I just made us sound old! LOL

I am glad that you have been able to meet Grit face to face. I know you have been excited to do that for some time now. I can imagine that would be cool. To connect a blogger and her characters with actual people with real names and personalities. Glad you had a great time!

Sorry your luggage got "lost". That's such a disappointment.