A weekend of eating and not so much running; that’s amazing and I am going to pay for it starting this upcoming week.
However, we had quite a full weekend to bring in the new lunar year. Unfortunately, due to the snow, I missed brunch with one of my oldest friends. I was really looking forward to a long overdue catchup over a hearty brunch, however, Nemo had other plans for us. The last time we saw each other was the weekend of the Philadelphia Marathon and I really just wasn’t a lot of fun to be around that weekend. I am hopeful, though that we will be able to reschedule our date soon. Fortunately, the snow didn’t prevent us from the rest of our weekend festivities. We were able to head into Brooklyn for an engagement party where we ate well – goat cheese and onion flatbread, amazing lemon shortbread cookies, popcorn with truffle oil and rosemary, and much more! More importantly though, we’re really glad we were able to celebrate with the happy couple because, yet again, another long overdue get together.
Following Brooklyn, we drove back into New Jersey to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. On the eve, I am usually responsible for setting up all the sweets. It’s always a blast doing this as it gives me a chance to sample everything! Also, the dinner before the new year is usually quite diverse and yummy. This dinner is something my mom has spent hours preparing — bean curd and oyster soup, Chinese broccoli, vermicelli, sauteed vegetables with chicken, whole chicken, roast pork, Chinese sausage, and shrimp with snow peas. After such a large meal, we stayed awake waiting to ring in the new year ready for sweets (I promise I only had grapes!).
The morning of new year is always a meal without any meat as it is believed that this will ensure longevity. Typically in the morning is when we receive red envelopes or hong bao, now that we’re married, we definitely give more than we receive, but still just as much fun. It is expected that the bills in the red envelopes are new. Now if we went to a bank in Chinatown, that would be fairly easy to get. However, it was a little bit of an ordeal trying to convince a local branch in town that I needed a bunch of new bills in random denominations. This year we were able to get gently used bills. I didn’t realize that is something you can pre-order!
As I grow older with each year, it makes me realize how much I miss the annual traditions we used to have during the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chinese New Year were always the times of year I spend with both sides of the family, laughing, eating, and just enjoying the company we’re with. While, we still celebrate with family when possible, it’s not the same without the grandparents. I really hope in upcoming years, we can set some traditions of our own.
Regardless, I hope everyone had a happy and healthy new year with lots of prosperity and good fortune! Of course, it sounds much better in Chinese than it does in English; maybe one of my Chinese New Year resolutions will be to learn to write and read some Chinese!