Celebrating the year of the rat 2008.
Chinese New Year is around the corner, and so is Valentine’s Day. I’m actually quite happy the two come in joint forces this year, so that the whole “Valentine’s frenzy” doesn’t need to get so hysterical. When I worked at a magazine in Shanghai back in 2006/2007 Valentine’s Day was H-U-G-E! The sales girls in our office competed on who could get the biggest bouquet of flowers, and once a couple of pretty impressive bouquets had appeared, the competition change direction and started being all about “who could receive the MOST bouquets?!” (A girl named Carrie won. She had a boyfriend at that time and received a total of four bouquets: two from her significant other, one from an over-friendly client and one from a secret admirer). As you all might have guessed I did not participate in the competition.
As for Chinese New Year, my years in China have actually offered quite a bit of diversity:
In year of the dog/year of the pig (2006/2007) we celebrated together with a Chinese family in Pudong, and I ate pig’s ear for the first time of my life. Although neither me nor my bf could master much more than “Ni hao, ni hao ma?” at that time, and our host family could say about the same stuff in English, so conversation was obviously limited, but we still had a grande time!
In the year of the pig/rat (2007/2008) we celebrated together with another Chinese family at a large restaurant in Xujiahui. Although this celebration was pleasant in so many different ways (I didn’t have to eat pig’s ears, we didn’t have to watch 4 hours of TV after dinner and my Chinese had become good enough to actually have a small, shallow conversation) I still missed the intimacy of being at someone’s home, making dumplings together and running in and out of the kitchen all the time.
In the year of the rat/ox (2008/2009) we decided to make our own version of the CNY together with a bunch of Finns. We did a winter version of a BBQ, drank copious amounts of wine and margaritas, and enjoyed the fireworks around midnight.
This year (we go from ox to tiger) I will spend the CNY in Sweden (leaving tomorrow morning). I took the opportunity to turn the CNY-holiday week into a work trip, since I’ve just started my new job and have a lot of things to learn/catch up on. I’ll be spending most of my time in Stockholm, and go and see my parents on the weekends. Not bad if you ask me. I have not been in Sweden at this time of the year since 2001! So it's about time.
Happy New (Chinese) Year everyone! 新年快乐， 恭喜恭喜发财！