As you all know I am from Chinese heritage, and so every year, Chinese New Year is an incredibly special time for me.
Our lives are hectic. It’s difficult enough to find time for yourself on a weekly basis, let alone trying to find time to spend with your friends and family on top of your work, life, and studying commitments, so, much like we use Christmas as a time of year to make that extra special effort to go and spend time with everyone we usually can’t see, so too is Chinese New Year the perfect time to gather with loved ones.
As my mother, brother and I live in the UK, and my mum’s side of the family live in Hong Kong, it’s super difficult to get over and see them. We try to visit once every couple of years at least, and most of the time growing up we’d have to wait until school holidays (because my mother would rather give up her iPad than allow either of us to miss any academic time, and she is really attached to that iPad), during which CNY never is.
However, due to reasons I will get into in a later blog post, instead of leaving Australia in May this year as planned, I made the decision to leave early, and, as my mother had been planning a trip to Hong Kong/Japan since last year, I knew that her and my brother would be here around this time, and it was pretty perfect timing for me to come up to Hong Kong from Aus and meet them here and go back to Scotland together.
It’s been a pretty special few days.
My mother hasn’t spent Chinese New Year in HK for almost 10 years, and to be perfectly honest, I can’t remember the last time I spent CNY here, so it must have been ages back.
So to have all three of us back with the extended family at this time of year? It’s been quite something!
To be fair it started off quite rocky. As soon as I booked my tickets (for Friday 16th) I got into shit because my mum informed me straight away (not before, mind) that Friday was actually the first day of CNY and no one would come to the airport to get me because I was arriving slap bang in the middle of dinner time. Oops.
Then I got into even more shit because I refused to change my flight… Sorry, but when you’re as hard up on cash as I am, there is no way any extra cash is being spent on changing flights around.
On the day of travel, I decided I was actually really upset at leaving Australia behind, and had a breakdown just as I stepped onto the flight. What an absolute joke. I’m not talking about sitting in my seat and having a wee sniffle. I’m talking having to ask the flight attendant for tissue because I had snot running down my face, then less than 5 minutes later he also brought me over some water, some headphones from first class because they’re ‘better than economy headphones’, a sleep mask and a pair of socks. And also a Bloody Mary as soon as he could after we took off. Legend.
But, since arriving in HK, I’ve felt nothing but love and joy at being back in my home away from home.
I love this place. Everything is so hustly and bustly all the time, and there is so much to choose from food-wise, I’m literally drooling all the time.
And my amazing family. My brutally honest, but incredibly loving and caring family. They have the same sense of humour (we spend about 85% of the time taking the absolute piss out of each other, and normal conversation is not a priority for us!) and I know for a fact they’d do anything for me. Because isn’t that what family is for?
With CNY in full swing, everyone is in high spirits. We’ve been doing the rounds, going round and visiting extended family, laughing and reminiscing, as well as staying at home on certain days to receive guests and give lunches to relatives travelling through doing their share of the visits. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in any other country. Also, receiving red envelope money is an added bonus that I’m not going to complain about!**
On top of all this though, the most amazing thing I’m getting to experience is spending time with my granny. She’s been ill for a while now (Alzheimer’s) and, if you’ve ha experience with this disease, you’ll know what a terrible and life-sucking condition it is to have. It is so special to be able to spend valuable time with her. She’s such a giggly lady, with a heart of gold, and I’ve been loving spending time with her, laughing at the tv and listening to her tell me stories.
We often overlook our family- especially those who live far away. We take them for granted, because they’re always just ‘there’ when you need them.
(My mum and all of her siblings are in the above photo. Getting everyone together at the same time is surprisingly difficult)
Unfortunately, because of distance, I don’t get to spend as much time with my own family as I’d like, but thank goodness for WhatsApp and family chats because it’s so easy nowadays to keep in touch and updated on everyone’s lives!
Right now, I’m making the most of the week I have left in Hong Kong. That means, hundreds more dumplings will be eaten, along with sushi, seafood and hot pots, as well as snuggling up with granny as much as I can.
Happy year of the Dog everyone!
May it be prosperous, happy, and full of love!
**In Chinese culture, couples and older people give children and young unmarried people red envelopes with money in them at CNY to wish them a prosperous year ahead. Not going to lie, it always comes in handy after Christmas spending!