(Year of the Water Snake)
“Are you Chinese?” People sometimes ask me.
“No, but my children and husband are,” I reply. “And I celebrate Chinese New Year.”
Chinese New Year's eve this year was a quiet, extremely quiet affair. Tony and I were invited to dinner at the home of his closest living relative—a septuagenarian first cousin, whose wife is three years younger.
For the first time in years, I was in a group where I was the youngest.
There wasn't much conversation around the table. The intermittent verbal exchanges were in Chinese.
Unlike my side of the family, which is rowdy and loud, this one is restrained and soft.
In the silence I thanked the Lord for both loud and soft families and for the glorious spread of grace on the table.
Since my Chinese vocabulary is limited to about three words, I concentrated on the abalone, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs, pigeons, geese, Peking duck, bird's nest, seaweeds, century eggs, and every exotica that ever crept the earth, swam the seas, and flew the skies.
After the 14th—or maybe 16th—course, some champagne, and some authentic hopia (good pastry) and tikoy (sweetened rice cake) flown in from China, we stood up, said our good-byes and drove home.
One Chinese dialect says, Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Another says, Kiong Hei Wat Chai!
I say, Happy New Year!