It is that time of the year again, the worst time to be on Facebook for every single Chinese not with their family – Chinese New Year (CNY).
Chinese New Year is THE most important celebration for all Chinese, where all family members gather together for this occasion. I have always very much looked forward to this occasion where I will travel to my parents’ hometown (Malacca and Johor) to reunite with my extended families. It is a joyous celebration where my grandparents will cook up a storm in the kitchen and serve their best dishes during the reunion dinner. You can look up this much celebrated tradition to gain better understanding of why we Chinese love this occasion (No, it is not just another new year after the 1st of January new year).
Starting off with a photo of my newly bleached hair! (We do normally change our hairstyles prior to the CNY) and buy new clothing. New year, new look!
Anyways, this will be the first time in my entire life where I am not able to be in Malaysia, with my family to celebrate CNY (and I am completely dreading it). Looking at all the photos of my friends and families on Facebook just worsen the already depressing situation. But thankfully, I have distant relatives staying in Coventry, UK so I have decided to give them a visit!
It was a 3 days 2 nights visit and on the first day of arrival I first wandered around the Coventry city myself. I was amazed by the colourful stained glass in the Coventry Cathedral and also enjoyed my time in the Herbert’s Art Gallery and Museum (A must visit in my opinion!). The second day I traveled to Warwick University to meet up with my high school friend whom I have not seen in ages! The weather was terrible, heavy rain and chilly wind but we still took a train to Birmingham and brave our way through the massive city.
The last day was also CNY eve and it is also the night where reunion dinner takes place. In the morning, we Skyped with my family back in Johor and it was fun seeing the family again. My grandparents were the cutest as they tried to use the earphones and figure out where the speaker is.
We spent the afternoon preparing for the meal. My aunt cooked all the typical Chinese dishes, e.g. steamed fish(A must on the table! signifies prosperity), rice, stir-fried vegetables and soup. Whereas my cousin and I focused on the more western-style dishes by making pizza from scratch and baking chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
We had a wonderful time during dinner with plentiful things to talk about from not seeing each other that often. After dinner, my uncle handed me my first and only Ang-Pau (red packet) this year and I was overjoyed! We bade farewell after dinner as I had to catch the train back to Southampton.
The next day, on the first day of Chinese New Year, my classmates have decided to organise a steamboat dinner together. It was nice to spend time with all of them again as we have not been seeing each other as often as when we had in the Malaysia campus, due to our different schedules and locations.
Overall, first Chinese New Year away from home has been made less depressing due to my distant family and USMC(University of Southampton Malaysia Campus) family and I am ever so thankful for them. I wish all of you a very happy Chinese New Year and may the year of the monkey be prosperous and joyful one for you, Xin Nian Kuai Le!