January Going-ons Part II
Continuing from the last post….
We celebrated Dan’s 33rd birthday with skype phone calls from home (thanks to everyone who called), dinner out with friends, Chang beer, a new messenger bag, and cupcakes from the rowers. When we got to the boathouse on Saturday, the rowers were all there and started singing “Happy Birthday” to Dan, while busting out the delicious rower cupcakes with those pesky candles that won’t ever blow out! What nice kids!
Now Chinese New Year, (or the more politically correct “Lunar New Year” as more people than just the Chinese celebrate it) is not all that big a deal in Atlanta, Georgia, but in KL they took down the Christmas decorations and put up the CNY ones in the same day! All the store windows are featuring the color red, cherry blossoms, and lots of bunnies. I will admit, the first time I saw the store windows, I thought to myself, “Hmmm….for a Muslim country, they are really into Easter here….(I swear it looked just like a Rich’s window in the spring time in Atlanta!) but then I quickly figured out, it was the YEAR OF THE RABBIT! Here are a few shots of Dan and I in the mall. Yup, we were those people taking pictures in the mall. But, here we don’t really stick out because everyone takes pictures in the mall!
We were also fortunate to be introduced to another CNY tradition of eating Yu Sheng, a special dish for the seventh day of the Chinese New Year Season, which the Chinese celebrate as “everyone’s birthday.” It’s made out of raw fish and crunchy vegetables. Besides being full of flavors and textures, yu sheng is loaded with symbolic meaning. The raw ingredients signify the renewal of life, and the sound of the word for fish in Cantonese sounds like the word for prosperity. The most important (and fun) part of eating yu sheng is the mixing together of the ingredients. To ensure good luck for the coming year, everyone calls out “Lo hei!”-which means “to mix it up” but also sounds like “to prosper more and more”-while they use their chopsticks to toss the ingredients as high in the air as they can. It’s a little messy, but super fun and who couldn’t use a little good luck these days, right?
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Happy New Year!