Children and chickens

As you know, my daughter Lisa, and her husband Karel, have just had their third child, Zora. Petra, their oldest child (5), has some understanding that Zora came from her mother’s tummy. Milan (3) is pretty clueless.

A few weeks before Lisa was scheduled to give birth, Karel returned to his teaching duties. Among other things, he teaches biology. He decided that it would be a good learning experience for his students to incubate live chicken eggs, and watch the tiny little beings emerge from their individual eggs. Petra and Milan frequently went with Karel to school during the weekends to make sure the chicks were maturing properly in the eggs. They adjusted the incubator temperature and that sort of thing.

During this time, Zora came into the world and she is now home. Petra and Milan love to hold her. Coincidentally, the chicks hatched this week. Below, see the photo of Milan and Petra reacting to the brood of chicks that have made their startling appearance in Karel’s lab. Notice Milan’s facial expression.

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Now, go back in time with me to 1980. My first wife, Verdella, is not feeling well and she has gained a little weight. Because she is tall, a bit of extra weight is not apparent on her long frame. Verdella goes to see the local doctor. He makes a referral to an OB/GYN in Lincoln because “your uterus just doesn’t feel right.”

Verdella decides to take Marne (about 8) and Lisa (about 5) with her to see the OB/GYN in Lincoln. After the visit, the three of them will do something fun in the big city. When they arrive at the doctor’s office, the children, who are all dressed up, sit quietly in the waiting room paging through books for children as Verdella sees the doctor. An ultrasound quickly shows why Verdella is not feeling well and has gained a little weight. She is pregnant with our son Keller.

Verdella is stunned and surprised. We had no plans to have a third child. Collecting herself, she walks into the waiting room and sits down with the children. The shock shows on her face. Marne asks her mom what is wrong. Verdella says she is “pregnant.” Marne asks Verdella to tell her what “pregnant” means. Verdella patiently explains and includes a passing reference to the “egg.” Lisa is silent. Both children seem perfectly satisfied with Verdella’s explanation and off everyone goes to the car.

As they are walking to the car, little Lisa asks Marne: “Is Mom going to have a chicken?” Marne looks down, and sternly informs Lisa, “If Mom has a chicken, we’ll love it anyway.” At that point, Verdella burst out laughing and crying at the same time.

Some things are more important than others.


I can’t help it!

More photos of Zora and her family. Typhon is moving toward Hong Kong. Monday is a holiday In China and Tuesday is a holiday in Hong Kong. US passport for little Z may have to wait until then. Petra and Milan will stay on the mainland and come back and forth on the ferry (if the weather holds) to see mom and Z who will stay in hotel as Karel works out the red tape. Must deal with PRC, HK and USA bureaucrats. Milan easily took to holding Zora with evident adoration. Pretty P was afraid that she would drop Zora, but relented in the end with a glow.


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Some things are more important than others.



Zora Marie, born September 9, 2014 to Lisa and Karel in Matilda Hospital Hong Kong.  She was 6.0 pounds and 19 inches long at birth. We heard her sweet coo last night over Facetime.  Zora is Czech for Dawn.  Karel is a Czech.

Zora Marie was born September 4, 2014 to Lisa and Karel in the small but picturesque Matilda Hospital in Hong Kong. She was 6.0 pounds in weight and 19 inches long at birth. We heard her sweet coo last night over Facetime. Zora is Czech name and is the equivalent of  “Dawn” in English. Karel is a Czech.

The beautiful place Zora was born stands on a peak providing 360◦ views of Hong Kong. The hospital’s history is both unique and heart warming.

It is perhaps fitting that Granville Sharp and his wife Matilda, newlywed in India and embarking on married life in a Hong Kong by no means established and stable, should make landfall in the Territory on Christmas Day – a time of giving – in 1858.

Theirs is a story of fortitude in the face of shipwreck and piracy in the South China seas, grit and determination in the disease-wracked colony and quiet generosity. Above all, however, their lives in Hong Kong stand as a testament to their compassion for the lot of their fellow beings, as exemplified, among many other examples, by Matilda’s work for widows and orphans.

While Granville successfully struck out into commerce on his own as so many in Hong Kong have done before and since, Matilda set about relieving suffering wherever she met it, further etching an indelible affection on her husband’s heart as well as that of the Western and Chinese communities she came to know so well.

Outliving her by just a few years, Granville set out in his will, in extraordinary detail, his bequest to Hong Kong – a hospital to be constructed “not for the glory of the medical profession . . . but for the benefit, care and happiness of the patient.” The hospital, to be a refuge for all in medical need, was to be called Matilda in loving memory of his departed wife.

The Matilda International Hospital [MIH] is a 102-bedded, not-for-profit private hospital situated on Hong Kong Island/

Photo credit: Expatliving Hong Kong.  The Matilda International Hospital [MIH] is a 102-bed, not-for-profit hospital.

Take a look at this view from the hospital:

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Photo credit: Matilda Hospital.

Only 15 minutes from Central Hong Kong, the hospital is situated on its own promontory atop Victoria Peak. It is a perfect place to watch the dawn begin to illuminate the world. Perhaps that will be Zora’s mission too.



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