Baby shoes flanked by our shoes

The First Trimester

Imagine, for a moment, that the title of this post is not “The First Trimester”. Imagine that you have no reason to suspect that this story involves a pregnancy at all. Imagine, having cleared your mind of all preconceptions, that the story begins thusly:

Amelia’s vomiting started out of nowhere. Well, not nowhere exactly — she had developed some spontaneous stomach issues a few years before, and so this had the smell of a recurrence. The symptoms quickly worsened, to the point where she was heaving up all the food in her belly a dozen times daily. Not even water would stay down. This was a severe episode, even by Amelia’s standards, so we scheduled an urgent appointment with our family doctor. Our urgency only got us an appointment next week, though, so for a few days we were on our own.

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Residential towers in Hong Kong

Travel Update: Farewell to Hong Kong

Our remaining days in Hong Kong were spent on school and socializing. It was a pleasant shift from the pell-mell touristing and travelling of the previous few months. Our little apartment on the eighth floor of a low-rise (for Hong Kong) waterfront building had begun to feel like home.

Among our friends, we were living in one of the more luxurious apartments — its spacious 550 square feet somehow managed to fit two separate bedrooms and a “dry” bathroom (i.e. a bathroom where the shower is separated from the toilet and sink by a glass enclosure). We paid handsomely for this privilege — our monthly rent was HK$22,500, which (at the time) was roughly CA$3,000.

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Smiling dragon statue at Philippine Taoist Temple in Cebu

Travel Update: Cebu

Our visit to Cebu followed in the grand tradition of our adventures through Asia — Amelia and I slept in while Kat went off adventuring. Specifically, she set out at a truly unpleasant hour to go scuba diving. Amelia has a deep mistrust of the briny deep (she’s still upset about the time I threw her into the surf during our honeymoon in Maui), and I am skeptical as to the moral justification for alarm clocks, so we were OK with giving this one a pass.

It looks like she had a pretty great time, notwithstanding our naysaying. Surely the psychological cost of facing the malevolent seas with leaden-lidded eyes was a great one, but Kat overcame the odds and returned to us alive and in good spirits.

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Brick passage at Fort Santiago in Manila

Travel Update: Manila

[Editor’s note: The previous post, detailing our last days in Japan, omitted a rather crucial detail — our nearly-botched mission to return Shawn to Canada. The first few paragraphs have been updated to include that story.]

Our last big trip during our time in Asia was to the Philippines, the source of half of Amelia’s genes and a startling variety of deep-fried foods. Unlike our previous trips, we didn’t have much planned beyond “show up in Manila and see what happens”, which is Amelia’s preferred method of itinerary construction.

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Castle at Tokyo Disneyland

Travel Update: Tokyo, Part 2

Our last few days in Japan were each dedicated to a single purpose. The first was a day of leisure (or, at least, that was the plan). The second was less about the usual monks-and-temples and more about mice-and-castles. That’s right — we were off to Tokyo Disneyland!

The third, and last, was all about Kat’s birthday. You may have noticed that people the world over celebrate this late-October event by dressing up in elaborate costumes and begging strangers for candy, two of Kat’s favourite pastimes. But we’ll get there.

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The golden pavilion at Rokuon-ji

Travel Update: Kyoto, Part 3

On our third and last time in Kyoto, Amelia and Kat were possessed of a single purpose: wearing fancy kimonos. We also planned on seeing the sights and introducing Shawn to our favourite parts of the city, but all of this was secondary to our central kimono-related goal.

Fair warning: This post consists primarily of photographs of Amelia in a fancy kimono. Occasionally there will be photographs of Kat in fancy kimonos (including an especially fancy mid-day costume change!), but for the most part this post is an extended exercise of my spousal prerogative.

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Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) at Todai-ji

Travel Update: Kansai Region

Our remaining days in Japan were carefully portioned out, and would be mostly dedicated to Tokyo and Kyoto. We had one day free to explore the region, though, and we intended to use every last moment of it. In one day, we would set foot in four cities, all in the Kansai region (in the neighbourhood of Kyoto).

In case I am not being sufficiently clear, that day is the subject of this post. Hold on to your hats.

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