The only way for me to describe Chinese New Year (CNY) is to equate it with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. Everyone travels and visits family….every night for at least a week thus the country comes to a grinding halt for one big party. Gifts of fruit, new clothes, and money in red envelopes are given. Special foods are made like dumplings and long life noodles. Kinda sounds like Christmas and Thanksgiving on steroids, right?
The Fourth of July part….well, that’s the fireworks. Lots of them. Every night. It is amazing the first night….one of my most vivid memories from our first CNY was our neighbors hanging a broom handle from their 6th floor apartment window with lit firecrackers dangling from it. Unbelievable. Bryan was amazed at the people standing in their living rooms and shooting Roman Candles out the window. Seriously, for a week it sounds like we live in the middle of a war zone.
On a side note, I also had to do some creative shopping this week to make sure we were stocked for food and other essentials. Restaurants, the market and most stores close for about the next week.
So how are we celebrating?
We are ready with oranges, red envelopes and the fixings for dumplings, but we decided to take our celebration up a notch this year.
As you can imagine having to work on Chinese New Year would be a huge bummer. But for the staff at the orphanage, there are still children who need to be fed and taken care of. You can’t close down a children’s home for a week of celebrations.
We have been given permission to bless the 30 nannies who have to work CNY by passing out gift bags. Nothing has been done like this before and we are thrilled to have the opportunity. We have prepared bags with favorite Chinese snacks, some American candy, instant coffee, oranges, and hand lotion. Our family is going to go from room to room handing out the bags during the children’s nap time. We are hoping it brings a bit of joy to the workers and lets them know they are appreciated for their hard work.
But more than that…..
Would you think about us on Friday? Well, actually it will be Thursday evening in the States! We are trusting that our gifts will be understood from the heart from which they are being given (gift giving in China is actually a tricky business). We want trust and relationships to be built through this gesture, but more importantly we would be seen as his hands and feet.
We will let you know how it turns out!
Till then, Happy New Year . 过年快乐！