Our first and slightly wet Lunar New Year

So the weather wasn’t on our side. It was very cloudy, we could hardly see the mountains behind us. The sun was a cool guest who popped by but excused himself shortly and just never came back. It was so windy we had to cancel badminton, which crushed everyone greatly I’m sure. Then it even started to rain. A Chinese friend said it was his first time experiencing rain during New Years in all his time here and he’s been here a while. We all tried to ignore the rain for as long as we could but eventually had to face reality and moved everything under the porch. The weather stayed drab for the rest of the day. We were still able to get the BBQ going but had to stop midway. All this didn’t dampen our spirits though, decorations were up, Arthur happily lit his gigantic joss sticks and opened our doors.

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Our friends came around, we had music, food and drink, and hung around the fire.

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I was also happy to give out my first hongbao as a married woman, and even happier that there was only one child around!

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We were very happy our landlord and his whole family dropped by. They were game and tried everything – sago with coconut milk, BBQ food with satay sauce, potato and chick pea salad, apple cider, red wine – you name it, they ate it. Chicken wings and chocolate, gummy bears and grilled eggplant, all eaten merrily in random order. Everyone seemed to have a good time!

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When night fell, we projected a slideshow of photographs from our France wedding onto the courtyard wall. Summer movie screenings are definitely on the list after this successful test run. Lord of the Rings movie marathon anyone??

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As the night went on, more villagers dropped by, more baijiu was consumed and people started to loosen up. Arthur was the King of Loose by this time! Inevitable, I suppose, the poor man had to ganbei countless times with the male villagers.

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Ladies started to dance around the fire. Young or old, they all knew the steps. There were at least 3-4 different routines and everyone was busting the same moves! We sang and danced into the night.

At the stroke of midnight, it was firecrackers time! Firecrackers are supposed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck. These crackers were SO loud I’m sure the spirits are all bloody deaf by now. My poor cats, they were running around like the sky was going to fall. We were about to set off all the fireworks we bought, until our landlord told us we had to save three more for the next day. The first to be set off in the morning, the earlier the better he said. Guess no one sleeps in around here.

The next day, I skyped with my family in Singapore to wish them the best for the new year. Then as the day passed I gradually started to feel homesick. There is something special about being back home during the Lunar New Year for me. In our family the children kneel to offer two oranges and well wishes to our parents in the morning, starting with my eldest sister. But not before we secretly search online on our phones for the most impressive Chinese sayings to memorise and out-wish each other. We go from home to home visiting our relatives, eating pineapple tarts and getting the low-down on everybody. We play mahjong every chance we get, in our kitchen at home where the drinks, snacks, toilet and AC controller, are all within arm’s reach. I have my close friends over for Mom’s delicious Steamboat or Popiah. I miss it all.

All said, I think our first new year celebration in the village went very well! Another year has come and gone. Water Snake, I embrace you with open arms. Psst…snake to snake, it’s going to be a good year for me right? Here’s a fiver just in case.

恭喜发财,年年有余,出入平安,身体健康 !!Riches, blessings, safe travels and good health to everyone!

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