it’s 除夕 today. doesn’t feel like it at all, really. there aren’t any cheesy chinese new year songs playing all over the place, there aren’t mountains of bottles of pineapple tarts lying around (though I did bring over one small tub), there weren’t any reports of rising bak kwa prices… and there won’t be any visiting. I wish I were back home, of course. especially since this year is probably the last time my sister will be going visiting with the family – the pregnancy ruled out the trip to malaysia with her husband’s side.
though I’m glad I still got a semblance of a reunion dinner with the friends over here, with some delicious hotpot and going slightly crazy over saboteur and the possibility of a couple, um, doing it above us lol.
chinese new year visiting has always been like an odyssey for my family. over the years we’ve settled on a particular order of relatives to visit – we rack up around 13 places over the two days. and though the number of places has been gradually decreasing with the passing on of the older generation, some things never seem to change. like the blue and white tiles at my fourth uncle’s place and the staircase which I used to go up and down and up and down when I was younger. how my eldest aunt on my mother’s side cooks carrot cake and abalone porridge for us because her place is always the first stop on the second day and we haven’t had breakfast. (and she always gives a large angbao.) vague attempts to try to understand the adults’ conversation, which is normally in cantonese. how we can never remember what floor my sixth uncle (come to that, the second and fifth uncles as well) stays on, and only know we got it right when we see the tribute to graceland put up by his neighbour.
I’ll miss that feeling, the comforting reassurance of family. that despite everything, some things never seem to change.