Tea Breaks: Happy Chinese New Year!

Tea Breaks will be an experiment of sorts for me, maybe for a month or two: I’ve wanted to occasionally blog about the going-ons in my life, but I’ve always felt like I was stretching out my posts a bit too much. So this is my attempted solution – we’ll see how well it works, and I’ll tweak accordingly!

So, with most of the festivities my family’s planned winding down, I have the time to breathe – and to write! A very happy Chinese New Year from me, and to use the very overused phrase that I’ve repeated countless times: kung hei fat choy! Yes, there are many more that we actually use, but those are harder to romanise without losing their succinctness or its poetic nature.

A tip though: never wish a doctor a prosperous year. Ever. One of my friends learnt this the hard way, when they were soundly told off by their doctor-uncle.

Speaking of doctors – and tangentially, illnesses – I’ve managed to come down with a bout of what I suspect to be food poisoning. Right around Chinese New Year, too! It’s probably one of the most miserable ones I’ve had – normally, there’s nin gou and spring rolls and honey-coated dried oysters (nicer than it sounds, I promise!) and lots of sweets. But for the past few days, I’ve just sort of groaned weakly and sipped at congee. Sad, sad day. But I’m very grateful for the quiet and the respite, despite my stomach.

I’ve always been curious about how other Chinese communities celebrate their Chinese New Year, and whether it impacts their non-Chinese neighbours, especially in foreign countries. The only time I’ve been away from Hong Kong for Chinese New Year was about four years ago, when my brother had first gone to Nottingham. It wasn’t a very fun Chinese New Year – my mother was miserable, my brother was homesick as it was his first Chinese New Year away from home, and none of us were alright with spending a Chinese New Year without my father.

But that was in the past! Now, I suspect my brother sometimes wishes he could stay home and just relax, or hide from relatives… yet again, if he were to leave home, I think he’d miss Chinese New Year, as I know I would. Funny how being removed from what you love and are familiar with will make you miss it even more.

One thing I do know for certain: I will be very, very glad once I recover from whatever this… stomach flu is!


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