Chinese New Year 2013: Of Family, Food and Firecrackers!

I’m back in KL as we speak but my heart is jetlagged some 300km away, its strings still caught among the branches of home and family. Penang always leaves me in this dreamy reverie of all things lovely and good.

It’s been such an amazing two weeks back home that I don’t even know where to begin! Chinese New Year this year had so much going on that it totally blew all the previous years’ out of the water. There was everything — feasts deserving of kings almost every day, cousins who doubled our reason to laugh and with whom we brought the house down together, a full set of Lion Dance completing the celebrations in the most raucously auspicious manner possible. You name it, we had it.

The Ninja Rabbit joined us for the celebrations again this year and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m happiest wherever he is =)

In a nutshell, the last two weeks was made up of literally nothing but family, food and firecrackers. That is all the essentials we need.

And angpaus, yes, lots and lots of angpaus, hehehe. How was your stash this year? Good, I hope! We all always look forward to my Grandma’s angpau every year because she gives the biggest and fattest one. Again, she didn’t disappoint! ;]

The Lion Dance had been absent from our family home for a few years now since my Grandpa passed away but this year it made a reappearance. Watching my uncle light the strips of firecrackers that  hung from the tallest point of the roof in the old family house brought back truckloads of fond memories.

Suddenly I was 5 years old again, dressed in my New Year best (usually a lacy frock with matching shoes and ribbons in my hair) and hiding behind my Mummy’s legs. The firecrackers are so loud they hurt the ears, yet the festive aura synonymous with their presence makes up for everything else. But it is what comes after I’m more afraid of.

Nothing scared me more as a little girl than these ghastly looking lionheads that danced to heart-thumping, nerve-wrecking loud drums. They leaped all over the place, and their popping eyes and lolling heads made for such a monstrous sight to the 5-year-old me. The way they cocked their heads and snapped at peanuts and red packets offered to them made them look so very unfriendly. Then again, I was a big coward of a kid growing up; I was afraid even of Santa Claus HAHAHA.

Now, they look all kinds of majestic. The drums beat a happy song in my heart and the sight of them fills me with this fearlessness I’ve never felt before.

They’re the messengers who symbolically bring good luck and prosperity into homes — I think that is the cutest idea ever. Dancing lions, whoever came up with the idea is downright genius!

I made sure to pet the heads good and loud this year to snag myself a bit of luck, hehehe.

Everyone was in the best celebratory mood, even the family dog! How cute does little Choco look in his equally little samfu?? XD

The second day of the Lunar New Year happens to be a cousin’s 21st birthday. Talk about a double celebration!

This was the cousin who, as a little boy, could never sit still and was running all over the place. He was the best sport to have around because he was always up for any games we concocted. Suddenly he’s 21?? Where did all the time go?? D:

Miss Chloe Khor, our little Miss Cheongsam 2013 xD

Behold the generation gap hahaha.

These are aunts and nieces in the picture, not cousins as you would have thought lol.

Hehehe cute picture of my Mummy and Daddy laughing.

Every year it hits home harder that there is no time like the present. I see small cousins who are suddenly a whole foot taller, new additions to clan who call me Aunt instead of Jie Jie, and more angpaus from cousins who are one by one arriving at the pedestal of marriage. It really puts time, and how fleeting it really is, into perspective. The lesson is clear: savour what you have right here, right now, before it is spent and sent along its way.

I remember being that small and sweating up a storm from running after my little brother in some silly game of tag. It didn’t matter that we had our shining spanking new clothes on — we’d still find the most sweat-inducing game to play in the sweltering new year heat and stain our clothes with sweat and whole lot of other compounds.

Quite the contrary, I now sit as still as I can to avoid sweating at all, and park myself near any kind of breeze I can find HAHAHA. Yep, it’s true. Growing up sucks. You lose all your ability to have fun. I’m definitely feeling it, slowly but surely.

You outgrow so many things — running barefooted across the field, competing to see who can swing the highest on the park swing, trying to drink as much Coke as you can without Mummy finding out.

But there’s one thing I’m pretty sure I’ll never outgrow.

Family. (Yes, my Dad prides himself in his fanny pack; he’s bad ass in his own way like that xD)

Make no mistake, no matter how old you get, or how grown up you think you are, you can never outgrow family. This I’ve learnt as much. And there may be times when you’re convinced you may have, but believe me, it’s just a phase. At the end of the day, you’ll want to go back to them. Because that’s where you truly belong.

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Because it is only with them can you be as crazy, as irrational, as impractical as you like, and still rest at night knowing that they love you nonetheless. At least that’s how it is with our family xD

And there have been many times when we get on each other’s nerves, or not seen eye to eye on certain things, but I still wouldn’t trade them for any other family in the world.

No really, who would want two nutjobs as crazy as these two anyway? Tehehehehehe =P

So that’s that. Another year in the bag, another Chinese New Year well spent with those who truly mattered.

Technically we’re still not done with the celebrations yet. Another 5 days to go for those who are still on the lookout for angpaus. Put these last few days to good use ;]

Me, I’m the happiest I’ve been all year, having been filled to the brim with enough family mojo to last me for quite a while. Hope things are going just as swell on your end!

Happy Chinese New Year again to all of you are celebrating! Eat well and be merry!

Tonight my heart is full ♥

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