After Kyle’s 1st birthday, Paul and I decided that we won’t be throwing large birthday parties for Kyle anymore. Instead, we’ll focus on building family memories through travel. So for Kyle’s third birthday, we decided to go to Hong Kong. Initially, we planned going to Japan, since we already went to Hong Kong for Kyle’s second birthday. But it so happened that we had business in Hong Kong that same week, so we decided to go there again. We figured it will still be a different experience, given how Kyle has grown and changed in one year. And we were right – our 2017 trip to Hong Kong was even better than the previous year’s trip!
We stayed in the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, and they really put in a lot of effort to make Kyle’s birthday extra special. When we got back to the hotel after a whole day out, we found a cake, chocolates and a card with a very sweet message waiting in our room. They also decorated one of the windows with balloons and birthday banners, and had little birthday hats on the table next to the cake. It really was exceptional service – I’ve travelled a lot and stayed in many top-rated hotels, but this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of surprise for a guest. Typically, hotels would just give a cake for birthdays or complimentary wine for anniversaries, with perhaps personal greetings. The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong even decorated the tub with a cute birthday greeting for Kyle! This is the best birthday surprise I have seen a hotel give their guest – two thumbs up!
We decided to bring Kyle to Disneyland on his actual birthday. That morning before we left, Kyle was really excited and was horsing around with his dad, when he accidentally damaged Paul’s glasses. He became really concerned and worried that his dad can’t go out and walk because he won’t see well. Fortunately, the hotel is connected to the mall, and I went out to look for an optical shop to fix Paul’s glasses. When I got back, I was told that Kyle was really very concerned for Paul, and kept checking to see if his dad is OK. I found it really cute the way Kyle would ask his dad if he can still join us in Disneyland. When Kyle saw me, he looked really relieved and happy that things will be OK. He hugged his dad and said sorry, and then we were ready to go.
This was Kyle’s fourth trip to Hong Kong Disneyland, but this time was really special because we had VIP passes courtesy of AIA – hooray! They were the ones we needed to meet, and they offered to provide accommodations and VIP access to Disneyland. They arranged for our Disneyland experience the moment we arrived, and we really got a lot out of this trip. We got priority in the queues for shows, which I never watched before because I don’t want to waste time waiting in line. The best part was photo ops with Mickey and Goofy after the show, which was exclusive to us and another couple. Too bad, Kyle fell asleep while waiting, so I carried him for our photo ops with Mickey and Goofy. We had so much fun and really enjoyed the VIP access – we were able to do more things because we saved time with the priority queue. We even got a special spot for the night parade – right in front by the gates. It was really good to not have people blocking the view and letting Kyle enjoy the parade completely.
We also went around Hong Kong for a bit, and one of the highlights was riding the double-decker bus. Before Kyle turned three, I actually asked him what he wanted for his birthday. We thought he might have his own ideas now that he’s older, and we’re also curious as to what he would say. We were surprised to learn that Kyle only wanted one thing – to ride a bus. We thought he might change his mind, so we kept asking what he would want for his birthday for about a week. He was very insistent on the bus ride, and I told him we’ll ride the bus in Hong Kong. He was so excited at the idea, he even asked if he could ride the BGC bus. He kept repeating this request for a few days, until the yaya, helpers and driver decided to ask us if they could take him on the bus. They gave me a lot of assurances that they will watch Kyle carefully and make sure he’s safe. I asked Paul, and we eventually allowed Kyle to ride the bus given certain conditions. So Kyle got his bus ride around Burgos Circle with two helpers and the driver following in the car behind, and he was so happy that he barely said a word when he got in. He was in a state of disbelief that his wish actually came true, as the helpers described it to me. Unfortunately, we weren’t there with him on his first bus ride, we wanted to experience it with him and so we decided to take Kyle on another special bus ride in Hong Kong.
We planned for a trip on a double-decker bus in Hong Kong. It was funny experience, because we didn’t even know where to get a ticket and where to get a ride. Some people helped us out, but we couldn’t figure it out. We kept walking until we saw a double-decker bus in the middle of the road, and we signalled to the driver we wanted to ride. He waved us over and we hopped our way over. As luck would have it, we were the only ones on the bus and had the top deck all to ourselves. It was really a magical moment for Kyle, because he wasn’t his usual chatty self. He was really, really quiet and just sat there, enjoying the view and the ride. We stayed on the bus until we reached the terminal, and then got off. It was a shining moment for us as parents to have made Kyle’s birthday wish come true.
Celebrating Kyle’s fourth birthday this year is definitely going to be memorable, especially now that we have baby Kurt. It will be a new kind of experience again, as a family of four. I am so, so glad we were able to form beautiful memories with Kyle in his first three years, and I look forward to even more memories with him and Kurt.