As I ran into Carolyn today, she said 'Gong Xi Fa Cai'.
Oh yea, I almost forgot. Thursday's Chinese New Year. Except there is nothing remotely close to that in the air here.
It's one of those things I dearly miss. The biggest festival of the year. This time tomorrow, my family, along with millions of others worldwide, will gather for a reunion dinner.
I bet mom would make her ginger chicken soup. And probably roasted pork.
The house would be decked out in red. The prayer sticks and papers all ready for the midnight prayers. Mandarin oranges all stacked up in bowls. 'Kam' as they called, or 'Gold', given away to guests for luck.
Come midnight, the warm breezy silence will be shattered by the reports of firecrackers, inviting the God of Prosperity, to come and help them welcome the new year.
The year of the Rat.
Friday morning, mom would wake us up during the wee hours of the morning, to get dressed. We had to wear something colourful, preferably red. Nothing black. We'd get our red packets of money from mom and dad, and promise to be good for the year. After breakfast, we'd head to the temple for prayers. And then head home to wait for the crowds of visitors for our open house.
Gawd, I miss all that. I miss the smell of gunpowder from the fireworks. I miss the food. The warm hugs of family. I miss my grandpa. I miss the 'gambling sessions' we kids would organize (20 cent bets; the only time of the year parents would allow kids to gamble).
Wherever you may be, folks, Happy Chinese New Year to you all.