Sunday, February 14, 2010
Happy New Year (again)
Nathan and I are in Canberra this weekend. We are back for chinese new year (aka wallowing in excessive feast). This is the time of year when chinese people go all out. We greet one another with auspicious chinese greetings. We eat weird things with auspicious chinese names. We visit family and friends and katow to our ancestors in front of make-shift shrines covered in fruit and flowers. And we hand over red packets of money (well, the parent hand it out; the kids gratefully receive). Nathan is being immersed in my culture...luckily, for a country boy, he is not squimish about eating pig trotters with black moss vegetables.
Last night we went out with all the extended family...aunts, uncles, cousins and partners. It's an interesting observation that no matter how old you get (Nathan and I are both 33), if you are at a big chinese gathering you still get assigned to the "kid's table". I guess this was good for Nathan because the "kids" all prefer to communicate in english while the "adults" generally speak (loudly) in various dialects of chinese.
During the dinner, the nosy waitress asked me discreetly (in cantonese) if the person sitting next to me was my 'girlfriend'. I thought this was a rather rude thing to ask on so many levels but then I realised she was actually asking about the girl sitting to my left (rather than Nathan, who was sitting to my right). I politely told the waitress that the girl was actually the youngest of my cousins and gave her a look that made her feel awkward for the incenstuous untones of her inappropriate enquiry. I decided to let her figure it out for herself how the white guy fitted into the story.
The excessive feasting continues today with dumplings (must remember to warn Nathan that some of the dumplings have coins hidden in them....it would be awfully inauspicious if one accidentally choked on a five cent piece).
Happy chinese new year everybody!