It is the Chinese New Year season, and somehow despite having my mother and sister around this time, the homesickness is even worse. Technology have made it harder with everyone is posting photos of delicious food(the abalone, the pineapple tarts, the steamboat dinners…) and beautiful family photos on Facebook. Despite Tango-ing everyone on the first day of CNY, it was just insufficient. The vast physical distance between the loved ones make it quite difficult to enjoy the festivities. London is a wonderful city. So far, I have been enjoying our family experience together. However, it is hard not to miss Singapore for its amazing cuisine and just the awesome people.
Many of you are enjoying your reunion dinners and gobbling up your ‘n’th pineapple tarts. Yes, I am green with envy but I should be thankful that many of the awesome people have chosen to spend time with us when we were back in Singapore in December. In fact, my family faithfully met up for consecutively 3 days(on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December) of Christmas. So I suppose that should suffice as my early CNY reunions.
I have grown up being close to my family and my extended family as well. As a child, Chinese New Year is my favourite festival. One of the best things would be collecting red packets, putting them under my pillow and being able to count the collection only after 7 days of the new year. My mother would have to buy me at least two set of new clothes(usually in shades of red) and one set of new pyjamas for the new year. She would also take out her nice gold jewellery and allow me to wear some trinkets. I particularly liked those bracelets with bells at the end. Heehee. My family had an interesting tradition on the eve of Chinese New Year. Papa would throw many new dollar notes all over the house when the clock turned 12 on Day One of CNY. As children, we were not allowed to pick up the money till we woke up in the morning. Even though my siblings and I knew that we were not allowed to keep the money, we still enjoyed the thrill of competing who would be the first to wake up in the morning and pick up all the cash. I suppose, at the back of our minds, we did hope that my father would allow the ‘winner’ to keep everything. Heehee.
As a child, it was so easy to overlook the effort and time the host takes to prepare for open houses. Being young, all I cared about was the opportunity to meet up with my cousins for family gatherings and the chance to stuff my face with sweet snacks and beverage which otherwise would be forbidden. The thing about cousins would be that we are usually each other’s first friends in lives. They are the ones whom we learnt how to share things with(other than our siblings), they are the ones whom we played together with at gatherings and whom our parents usually ‘compared’ with over the years. On a side note, the ‘comparing’ thing was just plain annoying. But being cousins meant that they are like your siblings, you just want the best for each other. Growing up meant that the all of us started having our lives and friends. But still being able to meet up for that few gatherings over CNY is just so, so precious. To be able to see each other over the new year festivities allows everyone to relive even just a small bit of our carefree childhood.
Now that I am older, a wife and a mother of two. Chinese New Year has taken upon new meanings. It is not just the red packets. Not just the sinful, calories filled goodies. Not just the fancy new clothes and bags. Not just winning sessions of Black Jacks. It is about the family gatherings, the catching up over meals and just being with each other for the extended period to chat, to watch repeats on television and just enjoy the companionships. Taking photographs is a great way of capturing the moments. I love those photos with everyone in it and hope it won’t be long before my family joins everyone in the CNY pictures. Just saying, we miss you guys. So much.
It was never about missing the pineapple tarts.
It is always about wanting to be with the family.
Christmas Eve, 24/12/2014
Food was bought from Big Eater and we had our dinner at Bob and Disi’s place. As usual, there was crabs but not enough though. Hahahaha. Mummy prepared her famous beef stew to everyone’s delight!
Christmas Day, 25/12/2014
The family met up again at Uncle Amos’s house with his church mates for buffet lunch and Christmas carolling. After lunch, we headed down for another round of lunch gathering at Suk Ching’s. In fact, there was a karaoke session of Mandarin pop going on as well. Very nice to listen to their smooth vocals.
Dinner was at Shawn and Shiyi’s new place! Shawn even prepared a turkey from scratch, along with other dishes. It was so nice to much eat and hang out with the folks. The best part was that the kids were very well entertained by Uncle Roy. In contrast, we did sing at Shawn’s place as well. Like Christmas carols with the guitar. Christmas Day felt like an episode of Glee. In fact, one of the interesting revelation that night was that my cousins were just like me; our piano and violin practices were an ordeal to us. (-_-)”’ Actually, I was the only one stuck at Grade One Piano for a relatively long time, which strongly reflected my poor musical inclination.
Boxing Day, 26/12/2014
Uncle Darryl and Aunt Linda prepared a seafood feast. Supposedly in honour of me. But that is quite presumptuous of me to say that. HAHAHA. Seriously, they spared no time, effort and expense. There were like so many crabs because they know that I am a huge fan of crabs! In fact, these were he two photos that I took of because I was busy digging in the food. Did I mention that my Uncle Darryl makes the best Sotong Youtiao!
Actually, I am quite ‘pai say’ because I don’t think I did anything to deserve such a nice meal. This is the second meal that they specially cooked for me. The first one was a Nasi Lemak spread earlier in December! Anyways, I feel so thankful! Thank you, Sar Gu and Aunt Linda! I love you both of you!