Lunar New Year

First day of the ox year, or bull if you prefer to call it. I was hoping to add several photos of festivity to my upcoming “About” page, but alas, all the stores here are out of spirit, with absolutely no holiday decorations anywhere. Blame the pandemic, I guess. For the past ten years or so, all the Asian stores in Edison were decorated from top to bottom, at least at the entrance. Not this year, though the price of the holiday essentials suddenly increased by two fold, just like what was done before.

I was trying to take a photo of myself in the wall mirror, but my hand comes out gigantic. I remember there’s a hormone disorder that results in abnormally large hand–I must have read it somewhere. I do look like such a patient. Camera is a distortion artist. The Kindle Fire tablet also looks unusually big. On the wall, I have fitness pictures that are supposed to motivate me to move and exercise. But it’s just a wish and nothing has ever materialized. Now it looks bad in the background of the photo. To the right is a picture of an ancient beauty, whom I think I resemble. I am plain by today’s standard, but one thousand years ago my small eyes were fashionable. LOL. Who cares?

When I was young, I couldn’t wait for the next lunar new year. It takes more than 300 days to get to the next one and often I thought I would die waiting. My grandmother always gave me something new for each new year. She’s an amateur dress maker, hair dresser, shoe maker. She did everything and raised 9 children. There’s only one thing she couldn’t do and refused to learn–making dumplings. To tell the truth, I’ve been terrified of her model womanhood all my life. Models are supposed to motivate us, but sometimes it could backfire.

When I was young, we lived in an apartment in a three story building in the staff quarter of a university where my mother worked. Behind our building is the university wall and outside of the wall it’s a village. Since half of the students in our primary school came from the university staff, and the other half from the village, I knew many families in the village. For the lunar new year, the university was boring in comparison to the village, where tables were pushed together to make bigger tables in the family that owned the biggest house. All the delicacies were placed on the table–nuts, candies, jelly. For fifteen days, from noon to midnight, people ate, chatted, sang racy songs–in those days, there’s no content rating in existence and children were not considered too young for any content. My problem was that the dialect in the village is unintelligible to me since people in the university only speak the official dialect. When the villagers came to the university, they spoke the official dialect with an accent. Even if I didn’t understand what was being sung, I knew something was going on. A man would sing first, and the woman he was singing to would stand up to sing a reply. Then the whole place exploded into laughter. I asked my friend from the village to translate for me, but my friend was too busy chewing. I bet it’s something vulgar, earthy, racy, and immodest. How infuriating that the fun was denied to me.

Nowadays, a year is passed so quickly that I want to ask the time to move slower, slower and even slower.

12 thoughts on “Lunar New Year

  1. Thank you for visiting. I checked out Martim Moniz on YouTube, with yellow trolley buses and Supermercado Chen etc. Not as many people as I thought, which is what I usually associate with Chinatown. Quite a while ago, I wrote about Cuba’s Chinatown and my friends like it. So many interesting things. 🙂 Cheers and wish you a wonderful year ahead.

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  2. usually, every year, during the new lunar year celebrations, in Lisbon there are a lot of events in this area called Martim Moniz, right in the downtown, where it is possible to find the local ‘chinatown’. however, this year, due to the pandemic, there was not much happening, just a few red lanterns… it is a pity but let´s hope better days will come! it was a pleasure to discover your blog, I could notice how you like to write 🙂 I also like to write and read!!! have a wonderful week and cheers from Portugal 🙂 PedroL

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