(Here are a couple of posts that I wrote last month and didn’t publish until now.)
Guo Nian Hao! (Happy New Year!)
February 28, 2010
It’s the year of the tiger in China! Fourth of July will never be the same for us.
Sure, we’ll enjoy the midsummer warmth, the picnics and the celebration of our nation. But the fireworks? Nah.
Today is Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the lunar calendar in China. The celebrations of the new year have been going on for two weeks, starting with massive fireworks all over the city on new year’s eve (Feb. 13th this year), and ending tonight with another big night of fireworks. Who’s putting on all these firework shows? Everyone! As I sit here writing this, I can look out the window in any direction and see the sky lit up with color and I hear the roar of explosions all around, echoing off the tall buildings. Rockets set off by the neighbors go whizzing by our windows. Huge, sparking flowers of fire that would impress residents of any town across America are being shot skyward from every street corner.
Grace holding a box of high explosives…
The winter here in Northeast China can be long and frigid, but are learning the art of long underwear and layers to make it bearable. We are grateful for a warm apartment and for the occasional snowfall that hides the dingy gray of the cityscape, even for a little while. (There’s a lot less snow here than in New England, and when it does fall, it quickly becomes filthy with the city grit.) One of the biggest challenges is getting around with no car in the freezing cold – we end up being outside much more than we ever would be in a US winter, walking, riding our electric scooter and bikes. It’s toughened us up! What we’ve really been enjoying about winter (besides the fireworks!) is ice skating. There are outdoor rinks in parks all around, and we’ve enjoyed going several times. All of our kids can skate now!