24-10-2011: "Our Sai Ying Pun" Art Exhibition

Oliver was like "Ryan, come sit with us!" So I did. Here was with Laurie as well.

"Success" is a red ladder with little people climbing on it, while "Mixed Messages" is a collage of graffiti done by our students and Lorette together.

The primary colored dim-sum baskets and a collage of color papers were great hits at the auction.

All these works had taken us months to finish!

"Diner" was purchased for 4,000 dollars even before the exhibition was started! It is one of my favorite pieces too.

From zero to hero is the best way to describe this wonderful experience! I had the opportunity to take part in this art exhibition a month or so after I joined the Nesbitt Centre. In the beginning, I knew nothing about it, and I didn´t know what it was for and what it was all about. I became more involved in the last couple of months, when I had to run sessions by myself and finishing off all the artworks that we were going to display. It was not an easy task at all, but thankfully everybody was very helpful and we pulled it off very nicely!

So on last Thursday, we hanged everything up in the exhibition area. The whole concept was about the neighborhood, so we used scaffolding as the background to hang all the artworks. We were so thrilled to see it there as it was amazingly effective against all the colorful artworks! It was a long long day, but well worth the effort as it turned out really impressive. Ruth and I worked really hard to put everything together, while Lorette was helping with the whole setting. It was purely teamwork. Ruth and I had a major laugh about a joke about the "holes"! LOL

As the show started at 7pm, all the students dressed in our project tee and all stuff tried to get everything ready. Some of them did survey with the guests while others took pictures, helping with the handprint project or handing out our artwork catalogue. I was put to show a journalist from Timeout Magazine, Sherry, around and explained to her what this project was really about. I had to answer some pretty tough questions but I think I did pull it off! Yay! She really enjoyed the exhibition and found it very impressive. I also chatted with Winnie Yip from the Art Development Council which provided funding for making this project possible. She was overly impressed with it, and told me that she is more than happy to work with us again! Another Yay! Somehow while I was so busy doing all these showing around, the hall was simply packed with people! It was so crazily amazing! My sister Teresa, my brother-in-law and Maggie all came and supported us, which was very nice.

At 8:30pm, the highlight of the evening finally arrived .... our Auction done by Christie´s. They were nice enough to help us do this auction for free, so was Sharon Kwok who was the emcee of the evening. In the past few weeks we were all not sure how the auction would turn out, and we said we would be happy to see if the artworks were sold for a couple hundred. But it was over our expectation. The first piece went from 500, to 1000, to 1500 to 2000......it was just incredible! I was sweating the whole time! Of course, we know that these are great artworks, but we never expected people actually loved them. I was jumping up and down the whole time! At the end, we raised 33,000 dollars for the 12 pieces we auctioned! How incredible was that! The team was overjoyed, and it has made our students so proud and happy. I am so proud of them, and it has shown that people with special needs not only have talents but also they can make money! All the proceeds would go to four local charitable organizations, which means that our students made money for charity, how cool is that!

It had been a really really wonderful experience, something that I would never forget in my life.


Art Exhibition "Our Sai Ying Pun" preparation

My dear Oliver made faces while painting the dim-sum baskets.

Two admirable artists, Kyaw and Jennifer, both did a fantastic job!

Everyone was working so hard on various artworks.

The centre has been organizing a huge art exhibition for almost a year, and I took over the job a couple months after I joined the centre because they felt that I am good with art which never was a thing that people noticed me about. In fact, I am a very artistic person, and this job can actually let me be creative.

Now I have been working on this project for a few months already, and indeed there has been so much work to do! And to faciliate the students to do the artworks that will be displayed in a proper exhibition has been a huge challenge. But everything is coming together, and I think that it will be a great show. These two weeks everyone in the centre has been focusing on finalizing everything, and it can be a bit hectic and scary at times, but I believe that it´s gonna be great!

For those who would like to attend the opening, it will be at 7pm on Thursday, 20th of October, 2011. Please feel free to attend this very special art exhibition!



Josh, me and Laurie at the Peak working.

I am getting much more used to living in Hong Kong again. Work is getting in place and everything else seems to fall into the right place. I had worked out a way to live in Hong Kong and it is working quite well. The key is really to follow my heart and do whatever I feel is right for me, not according to what the society is.

It has been a joy working with the students at the centre. Their simplicity and happiness really move me and I´m always at ease when I´m with them, despite some problems in between, like Josh misused his money or Mei Mei not listening and threw a big tantrum. I must say that working with people with disabilities is really "my thing". However, it is a completely different experience from working with underprivileged chiidren. These guys problems are like spending too much money on buying Starbucks coffee kinda problem, whereas the guys in Peru would be having problem like not drinking enough water daily.

Despite all these, I am still thinking of moving on to the next stage of my life, and I am still planning it out. I still miss Lemar´t a lot. He is always on my mind. "When I hear his laughter, the sky becomes blue".



The Factory for the Blind ... somewhere there are so much to learn from.

Martin and Mei Mei danced together in the Solas Party.

Mei Mei and me after her makeover before the party.

Debbie and Laurie always love each other.

Me, Laurie and Suzette at the Pixar exhibition.

It has been almost three months since I started my job at The Nesbitt Centre. I have built a very strong relationship with some of the students, and they have become very special to me. In the last couple of weeks, we had quite a bit of activities due to the last week of the term and summer break. It had been a lot of work, but it all turned out really lovely.

Since I've become the keyworker for Mei Mei, I got in touch with her mom and helper, and I got to know her so much more. And I have started to pay more attention to her. She does have quite a bit of behavioral issues, but actually she's a very sweet person. It just takes some patience and loving care and she actually does listen and comply with most things. And obviously she needs a bit of teaching too. She has this very cute and chubby look! It's just fun to see her.

Last Monday, we went to the Hong Kong Society for the Blind for our team bonding visit. It was such an eye opening experience for various reasons. The most astonishing is probably what people with visual disabilities can achieve and how much they can achieve. They can do many things that a lot of people cannot do, such as coldcalling, cooking, using computers with a braille system, writing with braille and even sewing and putting threads into the needle! They have shown so much courage, strength and perseverance! They really show that if we believe in ourselves and work hard, we can achieve anything despite our obstacles. We do indeed have so much to learn from them!

We have just started the summer program, and I look forward to working with the students again, who always make me smile and laugh!


19-5-2011: Lemar´t´s Birthday video

I prepared this little gift for Lemar´t´s fourth birthday before I left NPH Perú, and the current volunteers, Olga, Lilith and Carolina helped me give it to him. I really miss him very much, and it just makes me smile to see him smile. "Te quiero mucho, mi Lemar´t!"

Also, I have received a copy of NPH Newsletter in which features an interview and coverage of the fashion show I did there:



Robert and me.

Some of the guys students all dressed up for the event.

The girls also wore their best dresses and gowns. It was fabulous!

Anna and Robert won the best dressed couple, while Reshma and Greig were elected as their bridesmaid and best man.

Matthew wore the mask of Prince William.

Here I am sitting by my bed resting on a Sunday Afternoon. There´s nothing more rewarding than this after a week of full activities. Well, it´s really not that bad. In fact, it has been really good. I work 9 to 5, go back home and make dinner, rest for an hour and do another hour of exercise. Very regular life but I am loving it. That´s what I want for myself really.

Last Monday we had a Royal Wedding Street Party at the centre. It wasn´t technically a street party, we just decorated it like the street. Everybody dressed up, we had some finger food, and the students were having a good time hanging out with each other. At the end, the best dressed gal and guy were chosen, so were their best man and bridesmaid. The rest of them formed a arm bridge for them to go across. The party ended with a dancing session where many of them loved.

My work has been getting on quite well. After a couple weeks of working in different sessions, I have gathered some new ideas on how to make the work better which hopefully improve the performance and learning of the students. I have learned to ignore the noises and politics around me as I know that my focus is to facilitate these wonderful souls to maximize their potentials and make them feel confidence in themselves. And I am here to achieve my short-term and long-term goals. The students are just so precious! They are some of the most genuine, sweetest and funniest people you will ever meet! I just love to be around them, and I really appreciate their sincerity and honesty. Even the less verbal ones who sometimes seem a bit disconnected, you can connect with them when they can feel that you are there for them and care about them. On Friday, a 40 something-year-old student who was talking to himself the whole time and never responded to anyone was in the computer class where he was disturbing others by talking to himself too much. So I worked with him a bit and tried to make him calm and quiet in the class. By the middle of the class, he was really quiet and I praised himself quite a bit for that. At the end of the class, I let him watch his idol Teresa Tang´s music video on Youtube, and his smile was so innocent and sweet that it was like a small child. At that moment, I almost bursted into tears. It was such a rewarding way to end my week of work!



My new buddy, Josh and me.

It was a really good day. I finally start my working days again in Hong Kong in order to fulfil my dreams in the near future. But, I wouldn´t compromise myself, and I had chosen to do something I feel right for me. I can´t work in the commercial world, and it woulld really put me off with lots of office politics and rivalry for status and money. I was fortunate enough to find a work for a NGO which specializes in facilitating adults with special needs. I had never worked with adults with special needs before, so it is very interesting to me. And I know I can enjoy myself and having a balanced life as well (No Overtimes and work in the weekend, for instance).

I woke up at 7:16am, which is a little bit late but fortunately I managed to get to work on time. It was a little bit chaotic in the beginning with the schedules and things as everything is new, but I think it is normal. But once we started working directly with the students, I felt like home and it went very smoothly. I love working with them as they are very sweet. The challenges are with those who have poor or no language skills and physical handicaps, but they were also very lovely to work with.

We did painting in the morning, getting ready for some arty decoration for the Royal Wedding Street party next monday. It was really hard for most of them to even painting, and it took a lot of efforts to get them work well, although I knew they were trying their best already. I particularly worked with Emily, Bertille and Reshma, and they were all great. After the painting session we had lunch. A funny thing happened when Tiffany refused to eat her sandwiches and left the room, Bertille who sat next to her instantly grabbed her sandwiches and ate them! It was a chaotic moment but it was really hilarious! Then, Robert, a student, and I went out to buy some lunch. He showed me to go to a Japanese restaurant and we got some lunch boxes. He walked really fast and constantly I had to remind him not to slow down. But he is a very cool person and we hung out a bit during lunch.

Before we went to the Hong Kong Football Club where we had a dancing session, I talked to another student, Vicky, who has real great talent with languages and piano. She speaks English, Cantonese and Japanese, and currently taking Grade 6 piano lessons! It is very impressive for a young lady with special needs! So I told her how talented she is and she needs to keep going and learn more, and she smiled and said, "You have just made my day!" It had made my day as well to see her so happy. As I hopped on the bus to go to the dance class, another student, Joshua, invited me to sit with him. He is very sweet person, and I got to know a little bit better about him. He showed me the music in his iPod and some pictures of his family. I really adore him. In the dance class, I spent most of my time with Emily who needs to walk with a walking frame. She was very quiet during painting, but she surprised me with her energy at dance class, and she loves to dance! So I danced quite a bit with her, although she got tired from time to time. She could even skip and jump sometimes! I taught her how to swirl and turn around, which she found a lot of fun.

It was an extremely fulfilling day, and I´m so happy to be around all these beautiful people who are just lovely!


29-4-2011: Lemar´t 4th birthday

Lemar´t @ his 3rd birthday celebration with me.

11:37 Hong Kong time when I am writing this. In about half an hour it will be 29th April, 2011, my beloved Lemar´t´s 4th birthday! Last year I celebrated with him with a little cake made by various types of biscuits that he likes, and I still remember that day vividly. In fact I can vividly remember everything about Lemar´t, his cheeky smile and laugh, his little hands that I always held, the way that he giggled when I held him running, the innocent and true spirit......all these memories I will never forget. I couldn´t spend his birthday with him, but before I left Perú I had already prepared a gift, which is a box of chocolate and a small card I made, that the volunteers will help give that to him. They promise photos, so I can´t wait to see that! I will give him a little surprise as well tonight! Right now my little boy must be sleeping soundly, and I wish him grow healthily and happily, and have a wonderful life ahead.

"Te quiero muchhhhho mi Lemar´tito, y te extraño demasiado! Te mando el abrazo mas fuerte del mundo y un besito muy muy grande!"


14-4-2011: Awakenings

Well, I have returned to Hong Kong for exactly a month. Within this short little month, there were a bit of drama that happened, not that I love drama. In fact, it wasn´t pleasant at all. I came back with the news of the horrifying earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and a couple days later Hong Kong had a "salt fever" where some ignorant people thought that salt can prevent radiation and all the salt in Hong Kong was sold out in a couple of hours! It just makes me love home (NOT!!!). Since I arrived in Spain, I had started a great fear living in Hong Kong again because there are a lot of things to re-adjust. All I can say is that it wasn´t a very good start. I was pretty frustrated with the lack of individualism in Hong Kong, where people meter in everything in your life. In a way, if I weren´t determined and believed in who I am, I would have lived a life according to the society or others rather than myself. For instance, I have learned to truly appreciate the value of alimentation, and it is very important for me to maintain a healthy balance. Indeed I was under fed in Peru, and I realize it isn´t always easy to have a good nutrition when resources are limited. But whenever I have a meal with friends or family since I came back, every single meals included lots of meats, lots of food and lots of leftovers that were wasted. The horrible part is that this phenomenon is normal here! I didn´t say anything during the meals, but everytime I felt really guilty and excruciating thinking that in the orphanage we only got a small piece of meat every day and sometimes none or that we only had a piece of bread and a bowl of soup for dinner.

On top of that, a few days later I had an accident that something fell and landed on my head, causing a deep wound on my head and it was bleeding hard! Thankfully my brother and Lydia were there helping me stop the bleeding, although I had to calm Lydia down a bit! haha Well, I wasn´t too scared except there was a freightening thought crossing my mind that there could be a severe bleeding or my brain lacked oxygen or something like that, causing a brain damage or something more serious. Thankfully, it wasn´t like that at all. I was conscious the whole time and I went to the hospital and got three stitches the same night. The whole experience gave me a legitimate right to rest, but more importantly, it has inspired me not to waste any of my time as life does come and go easily, and we never know what will happen next. On this subject, I do have a bit of life planning after I came back, and in fact it is still in process. But I know what I want in my life now, and I must do whatever that is good for me.

I will need to take many steps to achieve what I want to do, but at the same time I wouldn´t rush it. I believe that things will come together at the right time. And I will start my new job soon, which seems very exciting and interesting to me, working with adults with special needs. I certainly look forward to that, and I really hope that my future will go wherever that is good for me. In the meantime, I really miss the kids in NPH Perú, especially the little ones.


24-3-2011: Some of my favorite videos in the past year

José Luis and Jhonatan @ pollo a la brasa

José Luis and Jhonatan @ Oscar

Lemar´t and Jhonatan singing "Los Alimentos"

The twins singing "Los Perros"

José Luis drying the dishes


13-3-2011: Beijing, China

Lydia and Me at the cold and windy Olympic Park behind the "Nest".

At night, the venues were away cooler!

The Water Square was really beautiful at night.

One of my very favorites, Shayanro! Can´t have enough of it!

11, 12-3-2011: Beijing, China

We tasted a rose tea......it smells better than tastes.

Beijing still remains lots of antigue architecture.

The original Tong Ren Tang in Beijing.

Tiananmen Square by night. Lots of security these days because of the protests.

The Lamb Kebab, so good!

Spicy Malatan, it was one of my favorites!

8-3-2011: Madrid, España

The magnificent Cieles Palace, part of it now acts as the post office.

The Sol plaza. The streets of Madrid are full of beautiful architecture.

El Palacio Real, where the King of Spain still lives.

Me and Rubén, who brought me to this rooftop bar where we could overlook the city.

A delicious breakfast, including the famous Spanish ham!

A monument outside the bull ring.

Plaza de Toro, the traditional bull ring in Madrid.

6, 7-3-2011: Madrid, España

The best thing about being in Spain: Ham!

A beautiful artificial lake in front of the Alfonso XVII monument.

The end of winter reminds me of "Cien años de soledad".

A beautiful side of the Retiro Park overlooking the beautiful city.

The glass palace is dream like.

Me sitting outside the glass palace.

In the park, there were gorgeous cherry blossom trees all over!

Many people rested under the cherry blossom trees, including me.


4-3-2011: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Esteban and me before I left Buenos Aires.

Esteban drew this wonderful painting for me!

Beginning the touring the Evita Museum.

The crown jewel of the museum, Evita´s collection of fashion. The black dress in the middle is simply a masterpiece! Exquisite!

Evita´s collection of personal items including her old perfume bottles.

Here´s a hat she wore at an event working on a project for children.

The museum building itself was actually a refuge house for women during Evita´s progressive movement for women.

This room is filled with aroma of Rose, Evita´s signature aroma.

In the museum, there are a lot of history, videos and photos about Evita and Juan Perón.

Argentines have all sweets for breakfast, like alfajor, medeline among other pastries. Very delicious.