Chinese New Year… but not in China

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and  ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the  Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and  children carrying lanterns in a parade. The Chinese calendar is based on a  combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In  order to “catch up” with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month  once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as  adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar,  the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. New Year’s Eve and New  Year’s Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and  thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious  ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the  family ancestors. The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the  rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed  relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for  laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

I guess everyone knows it is now the New Year  in China. The year of the Rabbit.  The Chinese believe that with the new year comes new goals, new dreams and a new life. I am sure there are  fireworks being shot off everyday and evening as is customary in China.  I know that families are gathering together for dinners, drinking wine and playing Mahjong.  Which is also the way they celebrate the New Year.   However, this year is different for me because I am currently in the states.  I decided to come and visit my family for a couple of weeks during this year’s new year holiday.

I never thought I would say this but I miss all the noise, all the fireworks and all the excitement that is happening right now in China.  I came home to visit my friends and family after being away for so long and I am not so sure what I expected but it is not what I got.

Oh.. yes, I am very happy to see my children and new grandchild and I am very excited to see my Japanese friends, my close friends and my cousins that always keep me rolling with their jokes.   I see the new foods that have been introduced, the new kinds of soda and the new kinds of electronic toys. By the way as a side note, when did they create all the different flavors of pop tarts? (ice cream sundae, and caramel cream among others)   I went to a couple of clubs and was not impressed especially when they started playing 80’s music (I’m a long way from the vibrating dance floor) and everything is familiar and well boring.

It seems in the 3 years I have been gone that the people have aged 20 years.  Everyone is stressed and worried about money. People just seem like they have been beat up and broke down.  It is like I have been living in another world all this time and I just stepped back into the time machine to the future.

I guess it didn’t help that there was a blizzard 3 days after I got here and I was stuck in the house for a couple of days.  However, I think what makes this all the worse is the fact that my husband is still in China.  We try to talk when we can online through skype and QQ, but I just miss him beside me in bed and making jokes with me.   I miss his energy and his youth… I miss his laughter and his happiness.

I realized a lot on this trip back home.   One is that my kids are doing fine and living their life very well without me here.Two is that most people don’t care about what is going on in your life because they are so worried about theirs.  Three is that home is truly where your heart is and right now my heart is in China. Four for me the world is aging but I am not.  I am the same as I have always been full of energy and wanting to experience life.

I guess no matter where you move be it abroad or just in another city or state after a while that place becomes a home to you.  No matter how some things irritate you or rub you the wrong way; it feel like that place is home and you want to get back there.

My husband and I are planning to move back to the states soon (that is if we can get  jobs), and now I am wondering if that is a good idea.  The economy in China is better and I have made some really good friends there that are almost like family. However, the quality of life is better in America and real family and close friends are here.  There are always decision to be made in life no matter how old you get, huh?

I think I owe it to my husband to bring him to the states and let him experience the change for a while, so we will probably still follow that plan to move back to the states (to Florida) but I wonder… if we move back… will he become more American and I miss China so much that I will want to move back?  Strange how things work out isn’t it?  Funny how living abroad makes you change… they say reverse culture shock… I say… self-realization.

until Next time…..



5 thoughts on “Chinese New Year… but not in China

  1. The eternal decisions about moving back… Tell me about it! One thing to keep in mind: the US and China will always be there. If you want to postpone moving to Florida, it will still be there in 5 years! Moved there already and miss China that bad: it’s still there, and moreover, it just got better while you were gone!!!
    I’ve lived in 3 different countries in Asia and each move was pondered back and forth and finally, I came to the conclusion that the more you ponder things doesn’t make moving any easier. One thing tho: I’ve never regretted any of these moves.
    It’s true that life in West is more stressful in some ways and it’s shocking to see that when we visit. But living standards are indeed higher and just for the kick of being ‘invisible’ at least, it’s worth putting up with people with long faces!
    Happy New Year by the way!

  2. I have similar thought about where to live. Right now I like living in China, but sure later if have a family things will change. So many things are better in Finland, but still, what if I miss China? Luckily I don’t have to decide just yet, I have atleast few years here in China to study. Actually my boyfriend really wants to go to Finland to earn money but it’s not that easy.

    It’s really interesting to read about your feelings when going back after a long time. And even I have been away only a short time, I do agree that moving abroad and then going back is when you realize something new about yourself and your country.

    1. I have also tried to explain to my husband that making money in the states is not as easy as it use to be… and that it is not what he expects… but they just have to experience it I guess to understand.

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