Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

How's that title for some Chinese?? :) I'm learning. I know this is what you say to people to wish them a happy and prosperous new year, but I'm not sure of the exact translation. Maybe one of my Chinese pals can help me out.
Chinese New Year has been in full force since about the time Christmas wrapped up.  Stands set up selling decorations, window displays of red clothing, Chinese New Year songs playing in the malls, lanterns hung along streets and businesses.  It has made me very excited for this new holiday, personally.  (I'm still debating buying a lion dance head to bring back with me to use with any children I work with in the future, but realize this is about the least practical thing to pack ever)  So, lots of excitement, lots of red.
Today, at kindergarten, we had a school-wide assembly, the high of which was probably the lion dancers.  Y'all, it was wild!  I was going to show you a video, but as we all know, my internet leaves a lot to be desired, so here's a picture or two. I was very concerned for some of the acrobatics involved in the dances, but the dancers survived, the kids (mostly) enjoyed it (there were some scared children), and I feel another step closer to being CNY cultured.
Loving the lions, getting real close and personal

Principal Evelyn and I

The big emphasis of CNY is family.  Each night of CNY, there are different sides of the family to visit. New Year's Eve is the reunion dinner, New Year's Day is to visit the father's side of the family, Day 2 is to visit the mother's side of the family, all the while visitations to friends and other family members' houses are going on.  It sounds like lots of fellowship and lots of food... aka the key to any good holiday in my book.  I'm excited!  I already have pretty much every meal/non-meal time the first 3 days booked up, so I'm very thankful for those who have invited me to be a part of this holiday with them!  Tonight, I got home from Cheshire, and Mrs. Soong had already closed the gate, which is odd.  So I got inside and asked why, she told me that the other 2 girls who live here have gone home for CNY so it was just us.  Which was great, because I got to catch up and eat the sandwich I made for dinner with one of my favorite people in Malaysia/ever.  As we sat and talked, Mrs. S asked me my plans for CNY.  I listed off what all I had so far.  She asked what I was doing for dinner on Friday night, and I realized that my plans Friday actually do end around 4 or 5.  She then told me that I could plan on eating dinner with her on Friday, the first night of CNY.  Of course, in typical Mrs. Soong fashion, she told me that if I got invited somewhere else, I should go, but I was welcome to eat with her that night if I wanted to.  I would love to eat dinner on the first night of CNY, the night that is dedicated to visiting with the father's side of the family, with a woman who has become much more than a landlady this year, and really does remind me of my dad's mom, Grandma in a lot of ways!
Y'all can count on pictures and updates from the next 2 weeks of my life (yes, CNY lasts 2 weeks).  In the mean time, I'll be enjoying time with new friends and family, lion and dragon dances, food on food on food, and ringing in the year of the horse! Selamat Tahun Baru Cina! (Happy Chinese New Year!)