Welcome to 2017, everyone! Yes, it’s me. It’s almost a full month into 2017 and I haven’t posted in over two months, but … whatever.
This was the first year that I rang in the new year in New York. I live about 15 minutes away from Times Square, which means that for New Year’s Eve celebrations, I got AS FAR AWAY from home as possible. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. I stayed in Manhattan, because late night subway traffic, especially right after the New Year, is ridiculous. But I definitely escaped to the Upper West Side. Only tourists are in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and they clutter up the place. Roadblocks everywhere, traffic diverted, heavy police presence, and no access to certain subway stations. Total madness. Starting at 2 PM, you had to go through police checkpoints to get east of Eighth Avenue. STARTING AT 2 IN THE AFTERNOON. That meant no access to the NQRW trains for me and long lines of people on the sidewalks. ARGH.
But Upper West Side? Nice dinner, hung out at a friend’s place, then headed over to Central Park and watched fireworks. Yay. Nice and simple. And so far? 2017’s not been too horrible. There’s nothing to be happy about, but at least the world hasn’t exploded or imploded yet, so that’s good, right? The key to happiness is low expectations.
Happy Chinese New Year! Today is the start of the year of the monkey – woot! And … I’ve moved back to New York! Surprise!
As you can imagine, Chinese New Year is a big deal. China is currently on a week-long holiday with many businesses closed, large cities nearly emptied as people are in their hometowns, and practically every surface decked out with red knots, lanterns, and ribbons. But here? It’s pretty much business as usual. Last night people were far, far more concerned with the Super Bowl! And I had sushi for dinner.
Holy crap, it’s 2016. And how neglectful I’ve been with this blog! Tsk tsk.
I’ve never been one to make new year’s resolutions, but I suppose the ol’ standby is to eat healthier, which is always a task given my sweet tooth, fairly abysmal cooking skills, and dislike of anything green and leafy. That said, I’m fine with vegetables if they’re just an accompaniment or side dish, and I’ll cook/eat vegetarian/vegan due to some of my friends, but I’m generally not a ‘salad as a meal’ person. So this here is a rare meal for me indeed. It’s a salad. Woot.
Iceberg lettuce, cha shao (barbecued) pork, hard-boiled egg, Gouda cheese, avocado, sweet peppers, tomatoes, apples, and soon-to-be-added Thousand Island dressing. With a side of buttered toast. Healthy? Oh yes. Granted it could be healthier, but … baby steps, people! Score one for the new year.
Seriously, what holiday season is it now? Apparently I completely missed out on St. Patrick’s Day yesterday. Easter is coming up on April 5th, so ostensibly it should be Easter season, but that’s not celebrated in China and the next Chinese holiday, Qingming Jie (Tomb-Sweeping Day) is more of an observance than celebration.
But whatevs, it’s been almost four months since Christmas, three and a half months since the New Year, a month since the Chinese New Year, and two weeks since the end of the Chinese New Year (Lantern Festival). And you know what? All my Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year decorations are still up. Why? Because I’ve been busy. Can I just get that phrase made into a stamp already?
Oh well. Maybe I should just turn the tree into a year-round holiday tree because I have nowhere to store it anyhow. And the little ram is pretty adorable, so he can stay too!
Happy New Year’s Eve! Yeah, I know, you thought I died or something, right? Well, I’ve been … busy. And lazy. It’s cold! My apartment has crap insulation and when it’s so cold and I’m all snuggled up in my blanket next to the heater, I want nothing more than to watch Miss Marple and drift off to sleep.
But today I’m out and about! Although I’ve spent the last two hours sitting and waiting for my delayed flight to Korea. I wonder, what is it about waiting for flights to Korea that inspires me to post?
Anyhow, because the flight was delayed, they handed out meal boxes consisting of rice, tofu, vegetarian chicken (a tofu patty), and lion’s head (pork meatballs). It was on the level of cafeteria food, meaning not good. But hey, it’s more than a US airline would do!
Day 5 of the Chinese New Year extravaganza is dedicated to the God of Wealth. According to Wikipedia, it’s his birthday. And as day 4 turned into day 5, there were a lot of fireworks meant to attract prosperity and good fortune – basically the same situation as three years ago. The fireworks were much more lively and widespread than on New Year’s Eve, partially because by this time people are starting to come back to Shanghai, but mostly because peeps like the dough. Yay money!
For those of you not in China, you may not have heard, but it’s the Chinese New Year! And according to the zodiac calendar, it’s the Year of the Horse! Happy New Year! 新年快乐! Woot!
The nation of China has basically shut down at this point, which might be a hard concept for people to understand. It’s not just that it’s a holiday … it’s DEAD here. I’ve stocked up on snacks (maybe not enough given the rate I’m chowing down) and plan on basically hibernating. Some places will reopen on the second day of the (lunar) new year, but the official holiday (which most people follow, crazy make-up days and all) is for one week starting today, from January 31st (first day of the new year) to February 6th (seventh day).
There were some fireworks earlier in the evening around 9 and 10 or so, but wow … once the clock struck 12, it was like complete madness out there. There were fireworks going off left and right, some of them really really close. It looked like the apartment securitiy guards were having a ball :) The air quality was pretty bad today so the sky wasn’t very clear to begin with. But now, with all the smoke from the fireworks still lingering in the air? Visibility is … pretty darn low. Cheers!
Even though it’s already January 13th, this is my first post of 2014! I didn’t end up going out because I felt like being an old lady and snuggling up next to my heater. I could see some fireworks from my balcony, which was nice. The first picture below is the result of me moving the camera mid-shot. Pretty nifty, eh? Far more firework-y than the actual photo of fireworks.
Today is Chinese New Year in the lunar calendar, marking the start of the year of the snake according to the Chinese zodiac. It also marks the start of two weeks of celebration! But to be honest, I’ve never done the full celebrations because I can’t remember what each day means and … that’s a lot of effort.
In Chinese culture it’s tradition to put up these red banners around the doorway with phrases of good will or what-not. However, when you’re not in China, it just looks tacky. I was in Flushing (aka “the other Chinatown”) with some friends a few weeks back, so I bought a little token for the new year that I’m hanging on the doorknob to my room. The character embroidered in yellow is 福 (fú), which translates to “good fortune.” It’s commonly seen on Chinese New Year decorations, because everyone’s wishing that the new year brings good fortune. And ya know, I could always use a bit of fortune.