Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekend reflection: Lunar/Chinese New Year

You can see the reflection of the shop front on my car.

I have been reflecting this year. Traditionally, Chinese New Year is a time of reunion with family, of traditions. I have not celebrated this day for personal reasons. Twenty four years ago, on the second day of the Chinese New Year, my mum died from a terrible accident. She was only 60, and she died in the year of the dragon, which is this year. Then 18 years later, my dad died on her anniversary. I left home in 1975, and it is not that I have morphed into a non Chinese. This is the first year I am telling people why when you come to my house, it is not decorated with red and gold.

However, having written my book about the death of my son Andrew, I feel some sort of a release. I can move on.

Two days ago, I had to service my car, the workshop told me it would take one and half hours. I went for a long walk under our beautiful summer sun. Despite my wide brim hat, I was getting sun burnt on my shoulder. When I got back, they told me it would take another hour. I wasn't going to walk again, I went into this unpretentious Chinese eatery.

It was 2.30pm, there was only one client. I chose a bowl of Chinese white fungus Nashi pear dessert. It was served warm and refreshing. I sat there reading a book. The waitress left me alone as she could tell I didn't want to me disturbed. One hour had passed, the workshop had not rung me. I told the waitress I am going to check on my car, she said, "Come back if it is not fixed."

It still was not fixed, I went to the Asian grocery next door and bought a few items. I went back to the eatery. I was very hot by then. The waitress quietly came and brought a glass of Chinese tea.

That is what I thought the spirit of what Chinese New Year is, of hospitality.




TexWisGirl said...

very nice. i am sorry that this holiday has bad memories for you. you have had your share of loss, it seems.

Melbourne Australia Photos said...

Time heals all wounds, Ann, and as the edge of our sorrow is ground down, we come to appreciate the beautiful, sweet memories from the past. I am glad you came to the realisation you did and I hope that this Year of the Dragon will be one that you can remember with some happiness in the future.
Lovely photos.

Kim, USA said...

Happy New Year, Ann!


joo said...

Ann sorry for your bad memories, but time heals all wounds! Happy New Year to to you my friend!

lotusleaf said...

I am sorry for your sad memories.

DawnTreader said...

I'm glad you feel you're able to move forward and add new, more pleasant memories to this day.

My mother died in May 2009 and my father in June 2011. He died in the evening before the day of their wedding anniversary.

YTSL said...

Very moving post, Ann. Sorry to hear about blows that life has dealt you -- including on what should be a really happy time of year for ethnic Chinese people.

Re hospitality: it's funny, but in Malaysia, Chinese New Year did feel a lot like that -- with the "open house" tradition and all that. But in Hong Kong, it is generally celebrated in a more private and quiet way (beyond the public spectacles laid out by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and such bodies).

At the same time, I've been invited by Hong Kong friends to have dinner with their family. (At one of those dinners, I was the only non-family member at the table that evening.) Frankly, it's at times like that that I feel like I've been accepted into their lives and society -- and yes, for that I do feel pretty grateful.

Kong hei fatt choi and hope you have a great new year of the dragon this time around.