HKD$900...mumble mumble test

There are days that being an expat is not as glamorous and fun as you always imagine it to be. Today was one of those days. Actually, whenever I try and get information in Hong Kong, it becomes "one of those days". I would say that asking about specific information in Hong Kong is like beating yourself repeatedly against a wall. For example: I have been trying to sort out how we get our Hong Kong driver's licenses. So I called the transport department. The woman said I'd have to come down and pay HKD$900 to get my drivers license. Cool. No problem. But then she said something about a test. "A test? What kind of test." I said.

"Come down and pay HKD$900 mumble mumble test." she said.

"Pardon," I said. "Did you say something about a test?".

"HKD$900...mumble mumble test." she said again.

"I'm sorry, there must be a back connection, can you explain further about the test?"

"Sorry madam."


Are. You. Effin'. Serious? Did I just get hung up on?

Needless to say, we don't have our drivers licenses quite yet.

I am also looking at going to school here in Hong Kong. I'd like to do with my photography and possibly move it beyond being just a hobby so I found a program at the Hong Kong Art School and sent them an email. My mood plummeted. See below the email exchange.  I am baffled on why I cannot get an answer on how book an appointment to talk to someone about the school or drop by for a tour until admission time in March/April. Do they want people to go to the school?


Good Morning,

I am interested in the Higher Diploma in Fine Art (Photography) for the 2009-2010 year and I have some questions and would like to see the campus. Can I make an appointment? I would like to talk to someone about entrance requirements for the program, languages used in the classroom and get a general feel for the program.

Thank you for your reply.


Dear Debbi,
Thank you for your enquiry. Please kindly be advised that
1. The application for intake of 2009/10 Higher Diploma in Fine Art (Ceramics/ Painting/ Photography/ Sculpture) may be started in Mar/ Apr 2009. And it will be commenced in Sep 2009.
2. The medium of instruction for all Higher Diploma programmes, inculding Higher Diploma in Fine Art, will be Cantonese. Learning material will also be in Chinese.
3, For the admission requirements for intake of 2008/09 HDFA, please refer to the details as follows:

- Holder of Certificate in Visual Art or Foundation Diploma in Visual Art  from Hong Kong Art School or equivalent; or
- Mature student at age 21 or above with substantial relevant experience.
(Applicants are required to present their portfolios during the interview.)

4. Annual tution fee for intake of 2008/09 HDFA are HK$36270 for Full-time and HK$24180 for Part-time (subject to review)
5. We may arrange open days, recruitment days or seminars during the application period.
Please feel free to visit the link at for further details of the programme.
Thanks and best regards,
Enrolment Office
Hong Kong Art School

 (All of the information they send was from the website, except that on Cantonese being the only language. Nowhere on the website is a syllabus or a schedule or really any real information about the school.)

Enrollment Office,

I have thoroughly looked at your website and have not found satisfactory answers to my questions. I am considering applying to your school and would like to make an appointment with an advisor in the program. Who may I contact to make an appointment?

Also you may consider updating the information on your website around the medium of delivery if there is no English instruction. Here is the information available from your website:
Medium of Delivery: The medium of instruction will be Cantonese supplemented with English.
Learning materials will be in Chinese and English as appropriate.

Thank you for your reply,

Dear Debbi Hansen-Lange,
Thank you for your enquiry. Yes, it is stated "Medium of Delivery: The medium of instruction will be Cantonese supplemented with English.
Learning materials will be in Chinese and English as appropriate" on the website. But
actually, the programme is target to Chinese students. So it will be conducted in Cantonese and the notes will also be in Chinese. For example, Chinese Creative Writing is one of the modules for this programme.
For English-teaching programmes, we have Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, Bachelor of Arts in Applied and Media Art and Master of Drama Education.
Please note that the application deadline for Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art is 31 Oct 2008. The commencing date will be Jan 2009.
For details, please feel free to visit
Thanks and best regards,
Enrolment Office
(Both of these programs are over double in price compared to the program I was originally interested in.)

It good to know that I can't take the class because I don't speak Cantonese but I'm still here wondering...what is the school like? What if I want to do the other program, will I have to talk to the same persone who doesn't answer questions? And can I meet with someone to talk to me about the program before I put down my dollars?


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I'm There With Bells On.

Well, the play is over.  I am quite proud of how far I managed to push myself. It's like I dragged myself up a mountain and am looking down at how difficult the climb was. It wasn't the acting part that I found difficult (although it has it's own set of challenges). The most trying part was that I found the lack of sleep so hard to deal with. I was coming home from rehearsal at 1 or 2 in the morning, and then getting up for work at 6:30. I do turn a little crazy when I haven't had enough sleep and I have migraines more often. And if being crazy and headachy wasn't enough, I found myself falling asleep everywhere, especially on public transit. I fell asleep one day  standing in the middle of the MTR, hanging onto one of the straps suspended from the ceiling. I managed to lean into my arm a bit and blank out. I must have been in the way of other people because I got sharply tapped by an old guy to sit down when a seat became available. I began to tally how many times I've missed my stop because I was knocked out but it was embarrassing, so I stopped.

I also feel bad for my darling partner-person who was so patient and loving while I was gone oh-so-often. He managed to keep everything running but I knew I needed to spend more time with him was bad when someone asked me how Dave was, and I wasn't able to tell them because I hadn't spoken to him in two days. (I rectified that immediately.) 

All the craziness aside, it was an amazing experience. I loved every moment of it. I have begun to feel so much more at home in Hong Kong and feel connected to something and so connected to such beautiful people. So although I was exhausted and although things became more hectic for Dave and I, I'm ready for the next project. Just need to catch up on my sleep though. Gimme 'til Thirsday.

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I love to alter my appearance. I like decorating my house. It is fun to change things up. However, when I went into the washroom at my school the other day, I was not prepared. They changed the toilet seat. It used to be your regular run of the mill white toilet seat. It is now a seascape frozen in resin. There are seashells, sand and other ocean related paraphernalia stuck in see-through plastic on the toilet. I don't even know what to do with it. I'm speechless and horrified by this toilet seat. It continues to shock me every time I walk into the bathroom. I think I'm also enthralled with it. Enthralled in the "Who on earth would make something like this?" kinda way. I stand there, staring at it each time I walk past the toilet. I think I have PTTSS (Post-Traumatic Toilet Seat Syndrome). Anyone of you social workers treated this before?

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My most defunctional relationship EVA

There was a study where they put kids in a room with a marshmallow. They were told that if they left that marshmallow alone and didn't eat it, they would get a bigger treat later. The kids who left the marshmallow alone, turned into adults who were able to delay pleasure for greater rewards later on. The kids that shoved that marshmallow into their mouths the second the scientist left the room, would become the adults who cannot delay pleasure.

If you were to stick me in a room with a marshmallow today and told me if I could wait until the dude comes back, I'd get a bigger treat, I wouldn't be able to do it. The second that man left the room I'd shove that puffy bit of gelatin into my mouth. And I don't even like marshmallows that much.

You think I'm lying? Today I bought some treats for my students. I included some Hershey's kisses that were to last me a long long time. I bought them at 10:30 am. It is now noon and I'm almost finished the massive bag. AND to top it all off, I feel sick. I always feel sick if I eat too much candy. I can't help myself though. I have begun to hide how many wrappers I'm going through for fear one of my co-workers comes over and reminds me how bad chocolate its for your throat and that there has been a massive recall on anything with milk in them due to the melamine scare.

It is like my love/hate relationship with chips and dip. Oh how I love Old Dutch Regular Potato Chips (the ones that come in the cardboard box) with dill pickle cream cheese dip. There cannot be substitutions in this combination. I don't like ripple chips. They must be regular and the dip must be Philadelphia cream cheese dip. And once I have these in my possession, I plough through them faster than the speed of light. Oh how glorious. Oh how marvelous. Oh how nauseous I feel. I don't buy them very often because I cannot control myself. I think it is from my upbringing (can't everything be blamed on parents?). My mom would sit all of us down with this treat and it would be a free-for-all. All four of us kids would be grabbing at chips like no one's business because if you slowed down or came and leisurely had some, YOU WOULD GET NONE. Here comes mom with the chips, elbows sharpened and out everyone. And GO! Nom Nom Nom. Eating both bags of chips and the entire thing of dip would take less than 5 minutes. i am not lying. 

This information transfers to other delicious things around the house. Once my brothers hit their teenage years, trying to get any kind of food was a constant struggle. Sorry Deb, you were too slow. All the pizza pops are gone, here is a wrinkly Macintosh apple (it is little wonder why I hate Macintosh apples). When I was working part-time during school, my mom would save my suppers in the microwave so I could eat them after I got home. Most of the time, there would be an empty plate after my brothers discovered it a few hours after supper.

I like treats. I don't want to get rid of treats. However, I would like to begin to cultivate a better relationship with them. My romance with sugar must be my most disfunctional relationship to date (and heavens knows I've subjected myself to some disfunctional relationships). I am drawn towards chocolate and candies, I then buy waaaaayyy too much, and eat them in short order to get rid of them to prevent me from eating anymore. Then I feel sorry for myself and my tummy. and to make myself feel better...

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Bad Breath Never Smelled so Sweet.

Yesterday I talked of the miracle of toothpaste but today I'd like to talk about the miracle of garlic. Last night I ate an entire bulb of roasted garlic. In fact, Dave and Erin also ate their own bulb of garlic as well. Now what would possess me to eat a bulb of garlic? My schedule is so insane that I was crashing and burning and yesterday I was so sick sick sick at work that I went home early. I had a terrible head cold and a sore throat but then we had roasted garlic for supper. Cut off the top of the bulb, stick it in a pan, pour oil over it, add some rosemary and throw it in the oven for a while until it is soft. I then really enjoyed eating it with french bread and butter. Yum yum. I felt so good this morning. I can't say I smell pretty but hopefully I managed to dodge the flu bug with a little help from my friend, garlic.

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All Mushrooms are Edible, Some Only Once

The miracle of toothpaste. I don't know the person who first figured out that putting good 'ole crest toothpaste on your acne was a good idea, but if I ever find this person, I'd like to shake her/his hand. Natural toothpaste doesn't work. You need to get the fluoride/chemical/additives to really benefit from toothpaste's pimple fighting qualities. I had forgotten how I used to slather my face with wintergreen. I ended up with a tube that I picked up in my travels and decided to fight a gigazit with toothpaste and low and behold, it worked! Although I will not use crest on my teeth, it seems to do wonders for my face. So thank you to the people who put try out new and random things, with great success. (and sorry to all the mushroom pickers who went before)


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The meaning of the name Debbi is Busy Bee

My first couple of weeks in Hong Kong have been fabulous. I love love love to keep busy and things are going really well. I have several rehearsal's for A Streetcar Named Desire every week. I also had the opportunity to do sound/front of house/hair/make-up for a small one woman show done by the same production company big box theatre. I did the press photos for Streetcar and some of the headshots we'll use for the show and have opportunity to do more in-depth headshots later on.

I also will get into the darkrooom come the middle of October so I can develop all of the photos I have taken with my Rollie. Then I'll see how good I was at guesstimating the light (Rollie doesn't have a lightmeter). Keep your fingers crossed.

Most of all I'm just so excited to be out with such fabulous people. I just keep meeting more and more lovely people the more I am around this whole dramatic group. Having fun and meeting folks. I need to make sure I balance all of going-outs with staying-ins to spend time with beautiful Dave but I think I've been doing pretty good so far. Buzz buzz buzz

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So and so writes terrible blogs. For shame!

I have blog envy. It seems that everyone I know writes impressively. They are funny and witty. Their blogs are without spelling mistakes. They update regularly. I on the other hand post youtube videos. My blogs are very short and with an incredible amount of grammatical and spelling errors for such a tiny post. And I languish behind in posts.

I have lost a bit of hope. When I asked Dave to set up this website I was expecting so much more out of myself. This blog hasn't even been updated since we first went to Calgary and that was over a month ago! This has become the the little blog that didn't. But this post isn't a promise of more posts either because I'm not sure I can do that. I have lost the blogging faith.

You need to have the blogging faith to keep on writing. You know, the blogging faith that people actually read what you write and enjoy themselves. Once you lose the blogging faith it becomes an incredibly boring journal because you have to leave out the juicy bits like: So and so makes bad fashion choices. or So and so has bad breath. You can't risk offending the 6 people who actually continue to read your blog.

Perhaps I have expected too much out of myself. I have never been a prolific writer. Papers in University took me 5 times longer to write that anyone I knew and they were mediocre. I also am realizing that many of my friends are practically geniuses and that maybe the fact that they write better than me should just be a fact. I ain't no genius. 

So go read someone else's blog if you want sentences that make sense. You can still find me here telling you what nonsense the Hansen-Langes have been up to lately (When I get around to posting).

But I'll highlight some of my areas of expertise, so even though you can't expect funny and witty repartee here at (at least not from me); you can seek me out for my awesome skill set:

If you need anyone to gather the attention of a large crowd, I am an excellent bullhorn. No need to rent one.

I have good fashion sense, so long as you don't mind a little bit of strangeness or a lack of colour coordination

I work as a free wedding photographer (for most).

I can organize anything at the last minute (just don't have me plan it).

I tell long-winded but occasionally funny stories.

I send totally inappropriate emails, followed up by very apologetic emails. 

I can find ubscure videos on the internet.

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