Sunday, February 02, 2014

Hating and Loving Chinese New Year

As a rule, I abhor Chinese New Year. My best memories of CNY come from the year that I was stuck at home with Muffin in confinement.

What makes me fantasise about leaving the country every year at CNY?

1. I do not come from a family where my parents are divorced. But every CNY, without fail, I feel like I am in the middle of a custody battle where everyone wants a bit of me and I don't want to be anywhere.

Both families assume that command appearances are just that. Where they stipulate a time, we will show up, regardless. So yesterday, we drove 150 km in our island that is 49 by 25 km and this we did with 3 increasingly cranky and cooped up kids.

2. CNY means people who usually drive once a year, only during CNY, come out of the wood work. Because they aren't familiar with the traffic conditions, accidents occur and bottlenecks develop, making journeys that on average would take 15 minutes stretch into hour long drives.

3. The amount of junk food that JED are exposed to at CNY, to which I have no power to say 'NO' to. As of this evening, Evan is complaining of a sore throat that which is not surprising when what he has eaten include innumerable pieces of keropok, pineapple tarts, deep fried nuggets and fish balls as well as gold foiled chocolate gold coins and chocolate fondue from a fountain.

But then, what makes it worth it is the amount of fun that JED have despite the traffic jams and the heat.

We see more of the family in the few days than we usually do in a month and the children embrace each other like long lost relatives every single time. They forget that they are wearing their best clothes; create games where they squeal and relish in unadulterated glee. Even the older ones momentarily forget that all this is beneath them, lose their cool act and get involved in the game of catch that is going on.

Jordan comes away always wishing she had more sisters; she and her cousin Becca stick together like glue, beg us parents to allow them to stay over at each other's homes and giggle and whispering, leaving the boys out of the girly plots and plans.

Evan, with some boy cousins learnt the rudiments of rugby and came away from the first day of the New Year sweaty and with flushed rosy cheeks on a high and wanting to play ball with the funny shaped ball again.

And there is something about just being with the family that makes us forget all the pre CNY stresses enough to not think about booking a 'bat out of hell' trip for the next CNY till it is too late to do so.


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