Sharing: The First Three Weeks in Hong Kong

At Surabaya airport, I should sign a passenger declaration that I would arrange the visa in Hong Kong because I had a return ticket to USA via Hong Kong and I didn’t have visa to enter USA. I could check in 2 x 50 pounds of luggage.

I arrived safely at Hong Kong International Airport on Feb 28, 2010 around 1.45 p.m on visitor visa. My sisters picked me up at airport. My uncle Yung Siu met me at airport to pick up goodies from my auntie and he gave me a handphone. I met him in Hong Kong in 2005 but I just remembered about him when my auntie asked me to bring the goodies. My sisters and I went to Maryknoll Sisters Convent at Boundary Street. There were Chinese new year decorations in my door and pink roses, cards, gifts in my table. Srs. Betty Ann, Theresa Leung, Joan Delaney were in Hong Kong.

I was warm welcomed during our Maryknoll Annual Gathering by around 40 Maryknoll fathers, brothers and sisters including Sr. Paulette Young, MM and Fr. Tim, MM who was the rector of Maryknoll Formation House in Chicago. There was another welcome from my sisters during our Regional Meeting on March 21, 2010.

On my first daily mass at St. Theresa’s Church, I gave sign of peace by shaking hand and everybody else just bowed to each other. The mass is in English at 6.45 a.m.

Sr. Joan Ling accompanied me to go to Immigration-Wan Chai to pick up my one year working visa.

After a meeting with Srs. Maureen and Annie, I went overnight to Macau with Sr. Annie by ferry, celebrated Sr. Anne’s birthday, visited Fatima Elderly Center with Sr. Annie and St. Theresa School with Srs. Arlene and Sue. I attended my first Cantonese mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church and I only understood “Amin,” “I,” “Kami,” “Damai,” and “Jesus”. I went back to Hong Kong alone on working visa. I stayed overnight at King’s Park community for mass celebrated by Fr. Joseph and supper.

Sr. Flora, RGS, an Indonesian sister who works with the Indonesian migrant workers at Catholic Center, visited our convent.

My uncle Yung Siu invited for dim sum with my cousin Siao Yu and her husband Kin Lam, it’s my first time to meet them who were born in Fujian Province-China. My uncle also invited for an Indonesian meal at Tsim Sha Tsui and I saw a pink heart decoration in front of Heritage 1881 Shopping Mall which would be removed the next day. My grand-uncle Kiem Hi, as I remember it’s my first time to see him, invited for dim sum too. I ate dim sum and use chopsticks in Indonesia once in a while.

Fr. John, SVD, my Mandarin teacher in Chicago, invited for supper at his community nearby.

Christ-Silvia-Niko-William and Fr. John, SVD picked me up for an Indonesian mass at St. Paul Chapel-Causeway Bay with around 150 Indonesian migrant workers. There were choir and dance practices for Easter after mass. Silvia invited for supper with her family, Fr. John, Sr. Flora and Rano, SVD.

I read the brochures of mandarin classes in Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Sun Yat-sen University-Guangzhou and later on The Beijing Center and Nanjing University from Sr. Maureen.

I went to Immigration-Cheung Sha Wan alone by MTR to process my Hong Kong ID. I wrote my Chinese name 黄莉莉 (“Wong Lei Lei” in Cantonese or “Huang Li Li” in Mandarin). That’s why sometimes my sisters introduce me as “Wong Sau Neui” (=Sister Wong). I should write my full name in the Hong Kong ID and it will appear as Padmadewi Oei, Anastasia Birgitta L. It’s another way (again) to write my name. After taking photo and finger printing, I sat in the reception waiting area instead of interview waiting area till the interviewer looked for me as I didn’t hear when they called me many times. I will collect it on March 30, 2010. Then, I had dim sum with ai Hong, ai Yen and my uncle at Lai Chi Kok.

Salome and I accompanied Sr. Rose to go to Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital-Wong Tai Sin, which was founded by Maryknoll Sisters in 1961 and became public hospital in 1991. Salome invited for lunch at Kowloon Tong Club.

I went to Holy Spirit Seminary with Sr. Maureen as we would attend memorial mass for James O’Halloran at Stanley House of Maryknoll Society. I met his wife, Lily O’Halloran, during the funeral of Sr. Rose Chin, MM in New York in 2007. Fr. Bob, MM and Fr. Tony, MM drove me home through the east side of Hong Kong and visited the office of UCA News-Kwun Tong.

Sr. Joseph Lourdes accompanied me to go around Kowloon city and Mongkok. It’s easy to go around by bus, mostly double deck, or MTR in Hong Kong using Octopus card. All MTR stations are written in Chinese character and the Romanisation. Most people are speaking in Cantonese so I usually ask to say it in English but if they aren’t an English speaking person, I will look for another rescuer. I can ask “duo shao qian” (mandarin of how much it cost) in my Indonesian accent but I don’t understand their answer in Cantonese so finally they use a calculator or write it down. I know when somebody greets me “good morning” and “good bye” in Cantonese because it similar with Mandarin “zaoshang hao” and “zaijian” and their gestures. I am listening to mandarin courses in my pink laptop.

Leslie and Raymond helped me to get the wireless connection for my laptop. Later on, Fr. Armada, CM helped me to remove viruses from my laptop by sending the antivirus by email.

I am gaining weight 6 pounds in 3 weeks even though sometimes I feel tense in prayers, in immigration and in meeting.

Thank you very much for all of your warm welcome, hospitality, support, cards, gifts, red envelopes and especially your prayers during my first three weeks in Hong Kong. May God continue to bless you in your missionary journey.

New Teritory-Hong Kong, March 24, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible