Xin nian kuai le
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It has begun (and it is NOT over yet).
The 2 week long celebration is going. It's not as crazy as I expected it to be. I do hear fireworks every single night. Sometimes at 4 in the morning. People are still with their families. Stores are still closed. 10 more days until we close it out w/ the Lantern Festival. I am beyond anxious for that!!!!
I spent Spring Festival with my friend and her family again. Her daughter and niece know me and they are just adorable. They did the whole entire Gangnam Style dance for me, we played house, played games. They're just fun to be around.
Her family made a big dinner (of course). Chinese custom is to set off firecrackers before your dinner so from 4pm on, there were firecrackers going off everywhere. It was sort of awesome. Another custom is to pay respects to your ancestors. They have their pictures and they put food in front of it, do some rituals, and burn these little boats they make while throwing fake 100 RMB bills on the fire. I asked my friend if it was a Buddhist custom and she said no. I thought that was interesting.
Dinner was delicious, as always, and then it was up to the rooftop (after some games with the girls) to light off our own fireworks. Everywhere you looked there were fireworks going off. It was great.
We headed down to the lake which was now filled with people. Fireworks were exploding right next to me and lanterns were being lifted up into the sky. I loved every minute of it! By about 9 I was ready to go back and get some sleep. Fireworks went until at least 4 the next morning. Ambien kept me asleep, but wore off at 4. I've been sleeping fine since then. Somehow they don't bother me once I'm asleep.
The next morning I rode my bike around to see what was going on around town and if anywhere was worth walking around with my camera. The stares were incredible. White girl in town during Spring Festival? Welcome to my life. The park in town was loaded with people. Found my spot! I took my bike back and walked over. I spent about 2 hours just moseying around, taking pictures. There was a lot going on. It was fun.
Since then things have been more mellow. I think things will get a bit crazier at the end again. I hope so at least. This 80 degree weather makes it easy for me to get out during the day, and the cold at night makes me want to sleep for ever. It's a pretty sweet balance. I'm feeling the jet lag a bit, but I have plenty of time to rest and I'm trying to be somewhat productive with the time I have.
That's all for my New Year festivities.