So today, about 10 minutes before lunchtime, the heavens opened up. It was quite predictable actually; the two massive cumulonimbus clouds in the sky had been gradually moving closer to each other all day. At 12:20, they crashed. Stormy weather ensued.

For the last 10 minutes of English it was entertaining, since my seat was right next to the open window, and the rain was extraordinarily heavy and violent. As first it seemed to be all moving sideways, then it appeared to switch directions, going to the right instead of left, and a minute later I could have sworn I saw some rain moving upwards. This was some serious rain. All was going fine, until the lunch bell rang. Then came the announcement: (translated to English) "It is highly suggested that students stay in the school during lunchtime. Thank you. ^click^'

But nobody really knew what that meant. Did the principal really expect the entire school to fit into the tiny canteen inside the covered playground? Were we going to be forced to eat the nasty tuck-shop fare which everybody reviles? Or was the announcement exactly what it claimed to be, just a suggestion?

Well, me and my classmates weren't planning on staying. So, we went down to the main door to leave the school and go to our favorite local restaurant 'Mei Ho' (about 3USD per person for a big good meal including a soft drink and unlimited tea), but we discovered two teachers patrolling the exit. The requirement : have an umbrella, and you can have lunch outside the school. Damnit. I forgot my umbrella, as I do everyday (I don't actually have one). So had all of the other members of my usual lunch group. I tried to reason with one of the teachers that we weren't scared of the rain (many people here seem to think they will melt if touched by it), and we were going to run as fast as we could to the restaurant. His reply: 'I don't want your uniform getting soaked.' My reply: 'My only remaining lessons for the day are P.E., so I will be changing clothes immediately after eating!' I thought I had him there! But no. He simply said, "Rain is bad for your health. You can't leave without an umbrella. Go ask one of your teachers if you can borrow theirs.'

And that was that. We were defeated. We trudged upstairs and asked around the staff rooms for any umbrellas we could borrow, got enough, and finally were allowed out. Yippee!

Lunch was great, and by the time we needed to walk back to the school, the rain had subsided, so no more issues.

And that's the most exciting thing that happened today.

The most important 30 gigabytes of my life just disappeared.

Yes, I just made one of the biggest, most life-changing mistakes ever. I erased to entire contents of my iPod. All of my music, videos, games, audiobooks, contact lists, and notes are gone. Forever. One wrong click of the mouse after plugging in my iPod for syncing and charging resulted in this catastrophe. Why, oh why, did I press 'restore' instead of 'sync'?

And the reason for why its all gone forever, is because earlier this year my computer fried itself, making me lose everything on my big hard drive, which coincidentally contained my sole backup of all iPod data.

In one sense, this event will now bring me countless hours of minibus misery, with only a few songs to entertain myself with. But, on the other hand, its liberating. I now have 30 gigs of free space to fill what whatever new stuff I want! I went from completely full, to totally empty. I can now go back to the basics of downloading EVERYTHING that interests me in any way and sticking it on my iPod without even thinking about filling up my digital capacity.

And with that, I'll go back to my weeping over my lost data. Oh, the digital age and its hardships :(

So, finally, sadly, I must say that my time in Hong Kong is drawing to a close. While I still officially have over 2 months left in this lovely city, in reality that adds up to only about 8 more weekends which I can spend doing everything either 'one last time' or in some cases for the first time. I've been checking things off my mental to-do list slowly but surely, and only a few remain.

What remains:
I have some shopping to do in Shenzhen, for certain Chinese things that just can't be bought in America
I need to visit Macau once before departing Asia (it's a 2 hour ferry ride away, I just need to apply through AFS and find a guide to show me around).

What that means is that I'm basically done with everything I 'needed' to do in Hong Kong. I've seen basically everything there is to see, been almost everywhere there is to go, and done all the things I had dreamed of accomplishing before coming to Hong Kong.

What I've done that I expected to do:

Visited the Big Buddha on Lantau Island by cablecar (Largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha in the world)
Eaten real Dim Sum (done that trillions of times)
Sung Karaoke (also done many times, each time a little less scary/weird)
Visited the Ladies Market in MongKok (awesome street market, located in the place with the world's highest population density)
Seen Tung Choi street (a street full of goldfish vendors)
Temple Street (another crazy night market)
Gone hiking in Sai Kung (awesome nature park in HK, opposite of the bustling city)
Visited several outlying islands (HK has tons of tiny little islands, fascinating places)
Been to The Peak (HK's highest point, incredible view of the city)
Seen traditional temples (all ove HK)
And tons more things I can't think of right now...

Things I've done which were totally unexpected:

Flown in a helicopter (friend of a friend just happened to be a pilot!)
Traveled to Xiamen, Shaoguan, and Shenzhen (Mainland is crazy-awesome!)
Met more fantastic people than I can keep track of (Yes, I have a real problem remembering all my friends' names and faces)
Become the vice-chairman of my school's Geography Club (OK, so that really doesn't mean much, but I like the title)
Played numerous basketball and soccer pickup games with locals (always a pleasure)
Taken, and passed, the HK exams (Yes, I'm actually 'learning' some applicable book-knowledge here)
Seen Giant Pandas
And again, tons and tons of things that I can't remember right now.

But the point of all this is just to say that I truly feel as if I've taken full advantage of every second I've spent in Hong Kong + surrounding areas. I've taken control of my time here, and done what I like, while still maintaining a better-than-decent relationship with my Host family, classmates/teachers, and out-of-school friends. I've learned so many things about life, myself, people, the world, and HK's unique culture. Rewarding to say the very least. I have no regrets at all.

So, though my blogging is clearly declining, it is for a good cause. I'm just too busy getting the most out of my last few weeks in Hong Kong!