The Hong Kong branch of Hotel Soloway opened it’s doors to it’s first guests on 31st May and we were all very sad to say goodbye to them yesterday. Grandma and Pop arrived to a lovely airport welcome from Eden and as many of you have seen, I couldn’t resist filming and sharing on Facebook the moment of my mum & Eden’s reunion. As I said, some private moments just have to be shared. And I don’t think my mum actually stopped stroking her and brushing her hair for the whole 2 weeks after that!!
It has been very special being able to show my parents our life here. I know the purpose of their visit wasn’t to be gung-ho tourists but just to be with us, see our new life and routine, re-bond with the kids and create Hong Kong memories together. I hope all boxes have been ticked. The re-bonding was never an issue. Daily chats on skype have meant that the kids just picked up where they left off. Joshua leapt off the school bus into my dad’s arms on Day 1 and after big hugs he dived straight into the Fish Farm app that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on! My dad had been working lovingly on it for Joshua for the past 2 months. I shouldn’t say this was what Joshua was the most excited about, but it’s probably true!
I’m going to write separately about a few of the things we did but other highlights include being packed like sardines into Hong Kong top tourist attraction (we did do SOME touristy things!), the Peak Tram, where we rumbled up the peak in a very long funicular railway all the way to the top where we had a great time. We showed my parents how to avoid the trap of paying extra to go onto the touristy observation deck and instead directed them to the much quieter observation area at the top of the shopping mall that’s also at the top. The views were spectacular, we went on a clear day, Joshua took his scooter and sped around everywhere including up the hill, even further away from the tourists (!) to one of the few nice parks in Hong Kong with open space for the kids to run (and scoot) around, beautifully manicured garden areas and a great childrens playground. We spent a happy hour or so up there before heading for dinner at the Peak Lookout Restaurant where Joshua wowed his disbelieving grandparents by downing about £20 worth of sushi in about 2 minutes, barely pausing for breath! It’s his new favourite food and thankfully there’s plenty of it round here! We couldn’t resist a quick dash back to the observation area to look down at the twinkling lights of the city now that the sun had set. It’s one of those skylines that you just can’t tire of.
My dad really enjoyed coming to both of Joshua’s football lessons where he experienced the true friendliness of everyone here. Many of our new friends were keen to introduce themselves, everyone is in the same boat here and they know how special it is to have visitors from overseas. At the Brazilian Soccer, Eden also comes along and of course my dad spent most of the time helping her out on the kids play equipment at the side of the pitch. Naturally he befriended all the other younger brothers and sisters too – he’s a bit of a Pied Piper is my dad! He did get a chance to sit down for long enough to see Joshua score about 4 spectacular goals. I know how desperate Josh was to do well in front of my dad so thankfully it all went according to plan.
We also introduced our parents to the shul and the JCC (Jewish Community Centre). They’re both on the same site, about a 5 minute walk from our apartment block – sounds like nothing but in the June heat and humidity, any distance covered by foot is a revolting experience!! A walk to shul in smart clothes is just something you have to get through but once we were there, my parents couldn’t fail to be impressed by the beautiful building, all the kids running around having a great time, the relative coolness of the inside and the fact that once inside, it feels just like being in London – except with a more relaxed dress code! Despite the fact that the shabbat lunch that day was a relatively small one on the scale of things, they were still impressed at the sit-down, waiter-served lunch that is laid on every week, who wouldn’t be?!
Joshua’s Wednesday swimming lesson takes place in the JCC building so my parents got a good experience of that part of the Community Centre – the mayhem of loads of children of different ages coming and going from their swimming lessons whilst their helpers watch younger siblings in the play area and mum’s are ordering dinner for the kids in the cafe by the pool – mayhem but fun and a good social time for the kids and the parents! Whilst we were there I took my mum to Koshermart which is the kosher supermarket at the JCC. After a quick tour of the jaw-droppingly priced aisles, we bought our challahs for the weekend which are definitely amongst the softest I’ve ever bought (not the tastiest though, I’ll always maintain Sharon’s Bakery makes the best!) I dread to think how many preservatives are in them to keep them soft from Wednesday until at least Sunday!!
And so last night they left. Eden didn’t know that when they put her to bed, they wouldn’t be here in the morning. She went wandering into ‘their’ room only to find that Joshua had reclaimed it back for himself and Grandma and ‘Dop’ were nowhere to be seen. She seems to be dealing with it ok, although her morning so far has been a lot quieter without the undivided attention of her 2 biggest fans whilst Joshua is at school.
As for Joshua, he waved them off bravely but couldn’t hold back the tears as his beloved iPad, I mean grandparents, were whisked away…