Spring Festival Holiday: Not So Happy

Every year for the past five years I have to go thru Spring festival Holiday  or New Years Holiday Celebrations.  Every year many students and friends and even strangers tell you Happy New Year and ask you what interesting things you will do for the Holiday.   They are all filled with the joy of going back to their hometown and seeing their family members and eating large amounts of food until they bust.   The children get red envelopes filled with large amounts of money that is used for their college fund of course and they get to shoot fireworks until all hours of the night and day. The great New Years show is shown on tv where all the most famous performers from China, Taiwan and Psy, from Korea this year perform their greatest hit…. this year was special because the National Anthem of China.. (My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion) was performed by the Queen Diva herself.  I know this because everyone called to tell me that my people were on TV… then I told them she is Canadian not American.

However, the time isn’t filled with joy and excitement for everyone.   The first year I was excited to see something new and interestedthe fireworks and the singing and dancing .. the second year was the first time to spend the holiday with my In-laws so I got to sit and listen to a language I couldn’t understand and eat foods I didn’t recognize. , the third year.. went to America to see my family …. and the fourth year to my In-laws again… but this year was different.

I made the move to Hangzhou for my new career and next adventure in my life.  Since I moved around the New year it was more difficult and it took a lot of funds to get everything together.. from the apartment and the actual move itself.   1.5 hours away.. with one car.. going back and forth.  It has taken about 4 days to move everything with my husband doing the driving and moving .. but still having to work his day job.  He has been staying with his parents during this time and I have been staying alone in Hangzhou.

Contemporary red envelopes
Contemporary red envelopes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year I spend Spring festival alone.   I know I know you are all thinking why didn’t you go to your in-laws or to a friend’s house or travel somewhere.   The reason is because I didn’t want to be with any of those people…. or waste more money traveling around China at the busiest most crowded time of the year.

With all the talk about family and reunions….. I felt like an outsider.  I think this is the first time since I have been in China that I actually felt like I didn’t really belong.  May be it is the five-year mark… or maybe it is the family focused festivities… but I just didn’t feel happy… I felt HOMESICK… for my family.   I havent been home in three years… and I am missing my family.. not only my kids… (who i speak to regularly) but .. my cousins, uncles, aunts… etc.  I missed the card games, the jokes, the praise…. I miss the play fights over sports and the teasing of cousins that have grown up… I miss the remembering the times when we were young.   I missed my HOME.

Now.. i know you all will say… well go home… first it isn’t cheap.. you cant just hope a plane every time you get homesick… maybe some people can.. but I don’t have it like that.  Second…. the things I miss… are not what I will find when I get there.   Yes… I miss all the things I remember doing… but… everyone has changed…. people have moved on .. people have passed away…. and people have grown up.    Things are not the same as you remember them to be.  I don’t know if any of you have ever lived abroad for a long time… but you don’t really miss your home…. you miss how you remember your home.

When I went back to the states…. the first week.. everyone is happy to see you and wants to spend time with you and share things with you… but after that first week… they all forget you are there.. and they move on with their lives and their jobs.    I even had a friend say to me…. your still here?

So… for me this year…. wasn’t so happy and interesting … it wasnt a reunion of family and remembering the happy times…. it wasnt stuffing my self with unfamiliar foods and listen to people speak in a local language I cant understand.

It was me… alone…. watching movies and comedians online… laughing at old jokes…. that remind me of my childhood days.

I will actually be happy when this New Years Holidays are over… so I can drown myself in work and concentrate on my new position as a Business Professor.

until next time….



13 thoughts on “Spring Festival Holiday: Not So Happy

  1. Sam

    Sorry, but I have to say that at this time of the year, your husband should be with you cause that’s his place.. not with his parents because he is the closest to you in China… or at least, he should split his time between you and his parents giving you first preference. I’ll never understand how a husband can leave his wife all alone on a holiday.

    1. I understand you thinking Sam. But in China traditional thinking, my husbands parents believe they come before everything. As the only and first son his responsibility should and has to be to them. I don’t like it but I basically have no choice.

  2. Jo, I was tearing up reading this post. I am about to begin my journey in China. I know I will miss my life here but thanks to you I will have someone special to enjoy life in China will. Jo don’t be blue, I have foundation and lipstick for you.. So as Mr. Rourke says,”Smiles Everyone, Smiles!”

  3. Lori

    I feel sorry that you are sad. I guess it is like when people over here get sad during the holidays when they are alone. It will only be temporary. I remember missing home (actually Walmart) living outside the U.S.. I would be happy the first few days then after a while I would miss my other home! Has anyone from your U.S. family ever come to visit you? Also you say how things have changed back home from what you remember. Think about how much you have changed from the person they remember!

  4. Jo, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling a little down, but I can understand — I’ve had those moments when I longed for a place, a home, that I can never return to, when I’ve felt lonely and even misunderstood. Sending you a warm hug from the States, and wishing you a wonderful new year as you start your fantastic job!

    1. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I think it is important for people to know that not everyday is butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes there are thunderstorms. Happy New Year to you and your hubby.

  5. yangxifu

    That is indeed sad to hear, but I cannot agree more that we dont miss the place we left, but the memory of how it was before we left it. Every year I go back home, I have the same feeling. I feel like I dont belong anymore, and that people have moved on. However while they are all still together, because I chose to build my life elsewhere, I am in the middle; neither here nor there. I say, it takes a lot of courage to build a new life in a strange place. But while the downside is these painful experience, on the upside, you can rebuild your life in this new place and make the kind of connections and support systems that span the globe and last a lifetime.

    I hope you will build such connections in the coming year. xin nian kuai le.

  6. Excellent blog. Take care – I know New Year’s in China is no “fun and games”… and it is winter… and loud… and too quiet at the same time! But Spring Festival will be over soon and spring is China is pretty great. But I share your feelings of being homesick, I really do.

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