I walked 50km today… let’s talk about that!

Well, “today” in quotation marks because I’m pre-writing and scheduling this post on the day I’m doing HKU’s Trail Walker Challenge, where I will be walking 50km with a bunch of people.

Since the event starts at 8:00am and I need to get there by 7 ish I won’t have time to write anything in the morning.

Nor will I have time to write anything in the evening because it takes anywhere from 8 hours to 16 hours to complete (so we will finish sometime between 4:00pm to 12:00am).

For those of you who think thats a pretty long time for that distance, may I remind you that:

  1. We aren’t marathon runners who can do 42km in like 2 hours.
  2. It’s on pretty hilly terrain since it is along a nature reserve, not flat ground like in official races where they close off roads for the event.
  3. Part of the event is navigating the path and enjoying the view along the way.
  4. Most of us (including me) have never walked that much in one go before. Like I play Quidditch and have done some 10k’s in the past (with an okay time of 1 hour 16 minutes), so I’m not hopelessly unathletic, but I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete by any stretch of the imagination
  5. We are walking not running this. Just making this clear, it’s a trail walker event, not a trail sprint.
  6. It’s not a race, it’s a test of endurance. We aren’t there to be the fastest, we are there to (hopefully) say “I did it!” at the end.

So…why did I join this event?

Well, past me at the time of sign ups thought it would be a great idea – I mean how hard could it be, it’s just walking?

Past me at the time of recieving the email about the trail thinks that signing up was a terrible terrible idea and really wishes

The me who is about to start the race is either chatting with her friends (since you need to be in a team of four people) or freaking the f- out. One of those two options.

Most likely, again I have no clue, never done it before!


Some general information about where I’ll be walking, in case future people thinking about joining would also like to know what they are getting themselves into:

(keep in mind that the info may change from year to year and these are just to give a general idea of the event – and also to pad this out for the word count :P)

– The trail we are walking goes from Big Wave Bay to HKU, with 10 stages and 9 checkpoints (for safety reasons, water bottle refills/to get a banana and to make sure no one cheats or takes a shortcut)

The stages are as follows:

-Starting the crazy path @ 8 am in Big Water Bay-

1. BWB to Tai Tam Gap – 3.5 km

2. TTG to To Tai Wei – 5 km

3. TTW to Tai Tam Road – 7.5 km

4. TTR to Mount Butler – 4.5 km

5. Mt. B to Wong Nai Cheung Gap – 4 km

6. WNCG to Aberdeen Reservoir Road – 7.5 km

7. ARR to Peel Rise – 6.5 km

8. PR to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir – 4.5 km

9. PFLR to Lugard Road – 5 km

10. LR to the University of Hong Kong – 2 km

-Free buffet dinner/midnight snack at the end, whooop!-

For the lost who don’t have the time to google maps the whole trail (since I don’t have the express permission from the General Education people to post the maps + there are photos of people in it), the trail takes us:

  • From the Bay through Pottinger Gap or Ma Tong Au (so named because it is the vally near Pottinger Peak)
  • Along Shek O Country Park – past Mt. Collinson, Wan Cham Sham (Sham is mountain in Cantonese) and Sheck O Peak.
    • Aka the “Dragon’s Back” path to normal hikers, since the mountains make it look like the back of a dragon I guess?
  • Past Ngan Hang, Tung Ah Pui, Tung Ah and Lan Nai Wan Villages, oh and Obelisk Hill
  • Around Tai Tam Mound into Tai Tam Country Park (+ TT reservoir)
  • Along the HK Park View trail, past Jardine’s Lookout toward Wong Nai Cheung Gap
    • This is really cool part of Hong Kong from a historical perspective if you are interested in the final few days of the Battle of Hong Kong, which I could probably also write an entire post about given I wrote a 4,000 word Extend Essay on it for IB (got an A for it) and took a university course concerning the Second World War in Asia & the Pacific (A as well). But I digress…
  • Between Mt. Nicholson and Shousan Hill, then past Mt. Cameron – all of which is in Aberdeen Country Park
  • Around Tim Wan Shan (still in Aberdeen Country park)
  • Around Mt. Kellett to Po Fu Lam Country Park
    • Sensing a pattern here? That’s because Hong Kong is really hilly with about 75% of it acting as the city’s “green lung” (40% country parks +35% agricultural/private rural area) – This makes the ecologist in me very happy.
    • Unfortunatly it also means nearly 8 million people squeezed into 15% of its land (10% is urban parks, roads, government facilities etc), which makes the person who lives super far from HKU due to housing prices not that happy. But back to the trail I’m walking.
  • Passing near Victoria Peak
    • I am prediting in advance that this will suck, since it is one of the last few bit of the trail and it is a pretty steep mountian. View should be amazing though
  • Through Lung Fu Shan Park
    • which makes me really excited 1) cus it’s a pretty cool park that I’ve done quite a bit of field work in,  2) it should be all down hill from the peak + it ends just behind graduate house  3) it is the shortest section to walk!

So yeah… Again, not really sure how this will go but should be fun! Our plan is to finish before 10pm. Will write about it later!

-Rebecca

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Nanowri-uh-o ~ Day #2

Short update today since I’ve had a long school day today and am going to be helping out with HKU’s info day tomorrow.

Today I’ve been catching up on the student blogging challenge commenting, since I am a bit behind on them. So cool to see all these different bloggers from around the world being creative with the blogging medium! (They are also much more consistant with posting than I have lol)

I’ve got quite a bit to do over the weekend, as I need to catch up on some of my homework and upcoming projects. In particular, there are a couple of field courses coming up that I need to read about as well as a debate for a history class I have on Drugs and Alcohol in Colonial Asia from 1750-2000.

Only need to type about 500 words today since my commentating is about 1000 words more or less (I tend to leave pretty long comments).

Still will be a bit short though as I need to prep for other things.

It will be my first time helping out with info day with the Faculty of Science, as I’m helped out before as a Student Ambassador with the Equal Opportunity Unit (handing out fliers and attracting people to our booth for hot chocolate & souvineers). It was quite a bit of fun last year, so we will see what this year brings!

I’m stationed at P4 for one of the talks tomorrow. Not quite sure where that is (since I missed the briefing due to a lab) so I’ll probably get there a bit early so I can catch up on stuff.

Literally as I typed this sentence out, I noticed there is a little word counter on the bottom right had side of the text box area… why have I not noticed this sooner? Since I’ve been copying and pasting my stuff over to an external word counter to verify how many words have been typed…

I seriously need like a tutorial for wordpress since I keep missing little things like this until I do Nanowrimo or Daily Post challenges. I think the last time I did something similar, I learned about tagging my posts so that people can actually find them in the first place.

So according to the counter, I’m at about 380 words (assuming it is accurate). I’m probably going to type up to 420 words at most, then end this post off.

Why?

  1. Because my favorite number is 42 (Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anyone?)
  2. As previously mentioned, I can’t spend that long typing today
  3. Like my cold turkey post from yesterday has shown, when I start making lists with no substance, I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes for things to write about

So I’m just going to quit this post now while I’m still ahead. Until tomorrow!

-Rebecca

P.s. Oh shoot, I need a title for this thing… Quick! Think of an awful Nanowrimo pun that sums up how I feel about the challenge so far!

 

🍀🌞A Strangely Seasonal Update…🍂❄️

So my 2-week-or-bust deadline is here, which means another post as promised.

Problem is I have a ton of vague ideas in my brain but nothing concrete to write about… which means another round of what I like to call…

“Things in parts bingo”.

Basically, you:

  1. Pick a random number between 2 and 12
  2. Look up “things that come in [xyz number] “
  3. Assign attributes or find symbolic meaning to said parts
  4. Write about something that is related to each of those attributes
  5. ?????
  6. Profit (with a blog post that seems more cohesive than it actually is)

In the past (on a different, older blog) I have done Avatar the Last Airbender elements , Fates of Greek mythology and sorta for Blossoms as well, all to relative sucess.

So in honor of the last few weeks of my summer break, I’m doing the four seasons – starting with spring!

Spring (春 chūn) – New Beginnings & changes. Planting the metaphorical seeds for a better future.

Daily Diary progress & Habitica

I’ve been working a bit more on developing better habits, since… well let’s face it.

I’m 20 years old now and have NOT acomplished anywhere as much stuff as I wanted to do by this point in my life.

Earlier in my summer break, I decided to start keeping a diary about my life and goals. It’s not the first time I’ve done so (I have diaries dating back to when I was 12), but this is the first time I have kept at it for more than a month or so without giving up.

I honestly really liked doing it and will probably continue into the school year, since writing acts as a nice way for me to reflect on my day. I might post a bit more about it in the future!

In other habit news, I’ve also been experimenting with different apps to improve my productivity for the upcoming school semester. If you have any suggestions for apps I should check out, feel free to comment below or contact me!

notebook and black ballpoint pen
Photo Source: Maddy Zen on Pexels.com

Summer (夏 xià) – Joy, Vitality & Enthusiasm. Watering the positives and weeding out the negitives with whole-hearted enthusiasm

Ecology field work with Oriental magpie-robins

Over the summer, I have been doing some field work with a HKU professor’s lab, studying Oriental magpie-robins (Copsychus saularis).

Essentially, I have been going around to different nest boxes around HKU campus, checking on their status by taking photos of the nests, eggs and chicks. Unfortunately, all the chicks in the nest box this year didn’t survive, so we weren’t able to “ring” any of the juveniles. 😦

I have one last check next week (since their breeding season ends around the end of the summer), then I might continue to work with the lab doing some literature reviews, or helping out with the playback test data collection (essentially isolating the recorded OMR songs with a program called Raven).

Either way, I’ve loved the work I got to do over the break and can see myself making it into a long term career. So glad I picked ecology as my primary major! 🙂

male_female_oriental_magpie_robin_photograph_by_shantanu_kuveskar
OMR Male (left) & Female (right) Source: Shantanu Kuveskar via Wikimedia

Fall ( qiū)- Transition & culmination. Reaping the harvest from what has been sowed.

End of the first year of HKU quidditich, and the start of year two!

Basically the subtitle. So HKU has this rule that in order to become a full fleged association with the student union, you have to comply with a whole list of stipulations.

One of the requirments is that the club must have existed for 2 years without funding from the union itself, another being that at least 40 HKU students must be members. So in an attempt to make quidditch “a thing” in HK, the team have partnered with the university’s Equal Opportunity Unit (EOU) and gotten a some of scholership money to create the “Fly for Equality” project.

We’ve gotten a bit of media coverage in our first year, and are hoping to recruit lots of new people through the EOU Ocamp or the exibition match that will happen at the start of the semester. Exciting stuff though!

(unrelated side note: possible future post idea – explaining HKU/canto slang terms like “ocamp”, “chur” “dem beet” etc?)

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From our latest practice. Source: HKU Quidditch

Winter ( dōng) – Rest & reflection. Storing what was gained before and contemplating what is to come.

HKU -> Leeds exchange plans & updates

Finally we come to the bit that I’m assuming 80% of the readers skimed to. To be frank though, not much has happened since I last posted.

I’ve contacted the International Affairs Office (the people incharge of outgoing exchanges) and they gave me the advice to register for semester 2 classes in case the thing falls though, and that more information will be provided later.

Bit nervous though, since I have to do everything from register for classes to get student visas all within the span of a few months during the school year. I’ve asked my other friends about it and they said the IAO focuses of sem 1 and full year people first, so I shouldn’t really panic until October.

But yeah, I’ve been doing some research about Leeds and the surounding area, specifically on museums, historical sites and botanical gardens (yup, I’m both a history nerd + ecology geek, and dang proud of it!)

So if you know of places I should visit, again feel free to comment below!


So yeah, hope this entry was somewhat interesting…

Missed my self-imposed deadline by a few minutes due to an internet issue and not saving often enough, but hey close enough!

Until next time!

-Rebecca

HKU Registration Blues…

Every year, HKU students around the world log into their portal page to click one dreaded blue link – “Enrollment Add Classes” .

And every year students shake their fists at the internet gods as they are faced with the same ever present, blinking red words.

Pending… Pending… Pending…

Over and over again like a dripping tap that just won’t stop…

If they are lucky, the page loads and they are met with glowing green tick marks, confirming they have been enrolled into the classes of their dreams.

These students sigh with relief, close that page on their browser, and go on with their day, relishing in their final few weeks of summer before college starts again.

For my fellow brothers and sisters who aren’t so fortunate, they are trapped.Forced to stare at the same freaking website: on their desktop computers, their laptops, their phones.

It’s Kübler-Ross model’s 5 stages of grief in less than an hour.

Denial comes first.

It can’t be happening to me. It worked last year. Should I reload? No it should be fine, just a small glitch. I’m in Chi Wah learning commons, surely being close to the servers means that…

Server update. Frozen page. An auto log off.

The source doesn’t matter, just the result.

ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS!

Anger erupts throughout Hong Kong as group chats explode with furious words aimed at the system.

Some stare, frozen in complete shock. Others rage quit their computers, fed up that they have wasted precious minutes of their life on a dumb webpage

For the few that remain after the disaster, clinging on to tattered slivers of hope, the bargaining begins.

If I can just get into this one course, just this one… please… I need this for my major… it’s only offered this semester…

Seconds turn into Minutes, Minutes turn into Hours.

Suddenly the Suspension Period looms overhead like the sword of Damocles.

Desperate pleas fall on deaf ears as despair seeps in.

 

A death knell tolls off in the distance… It’s over.

 

Perhaps not in the way one might have hoped.

But it is over.

It is over.

It IS over.

 

Well, until Add-Drop period at the start of term….

Frick.


Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad. (geeze, really? who whoulda thought?)

But point still stands.

Registering with HKU’s first come first serve system, where thousands students reg for course ON THE SAME DAY mere hours from each other can sometimes feel like stumbling into the Hunger Games with nothing but a pencil eraser and a rubber duck.

I get why they do it, and honestly, HKU’s system is probably still much better than others around the world. But when it’s your third year, 5th semester stuck doing the same thing, it takes a toll.

Hence this somewhat superfluous soliloquy (see SAT, I can use fancy words too!)

This year was apparently worse than usual, to the point where they extended the Registration Period by a day. So it wasn’t just me this year. Cold comfort but hey, apparently we are all in this together. (And now that song/ from HSM/ is now stuuuuuck in my he-ad…)

Here’s hoping that it will be better in the future!

I might write a “How to survive Reg Day” post in the future, as it feels like something that might be useful to other HKU students, both present and future.

Until then! 

-Rebecca