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  • Sarah

Chinese New Year Away From Home

It's our first time away from home during the lunar new year, just like how we were away during the mooncake festival, national day and birthdays.

I guess the first two occasions hardly matter, and birthdays can be a quiet affair but is it still a lunar new year if you're not celebrating it with family and friends and keeping to traditions?

Ever since Gabe and I moved into our own home 5 years ago, we started many traditions including,

  1. Getting a pussy willow from Tiong Bahru market

  2. Visiting PS cafe and stealing (or asking politely) one of their tree deco to be used as a stencil for ours

  3. Hanging up our pineapples at the door (THE pineapples that we ran from home to Chinatown for, such a memory :)

  4. Opening our angpow excel (yea we have that many relatives) and packing them together

  5. Playing CNY music on Spotify and putting up whatever CNY deco we receive from our dearest next door neighbour, Cecilia

And every year, for as long as I can remember, CNY celebrations include:

  • Feasting on as many lou heis as possible (because it's seasonable, and Gabe's favourite food like, last-prison-meal-request kind of favourite food)

  • Gambling at Alfred's

  • Playing Gin Rummy with the aunties

  • Making plans to visit oldies still alive

  • Working out our visiting schedules (yay or nay for marrying a Chinese)

  • Having the most shiok steamboat with/from families

  • Catching up with relatives you see only once a year (so that's major, because if you miss it, it's another 365 days waiting time)

Growing up in a close-knit one, I'm big on family, so times like these make me miss home more and feeling bittersweet. Every year, Christmas and CNY have gone quieter, we lost kong kong last year, so that's inevitable, and there's #1 party pooper Covid, and everyone living and caught up in their own lives. Even writing this now makes me want to hop on a plane, because #FOMO.

But, surprisingly it doesn't hurt and homesickness now has become a lot more manageable. Like this feeling of missing home is no longer unfamiliar and it's something I understand to be a natural, NORMAL, and completely acceptable feeling.

There's going to be times and many more times I miss being at home, with the comforts of it all, but there's never a moment of regret or feeling this move isn't worth. Countless times I've said before on this blog, I am thankful. Thankful for all the good and bad that comes with our migration.

Every feeling, thought and experience passes and so knowing how temporary it all is, knowing that home is still in Tiong Bahru, our families and friends are doing okay, makes being here worthwhile. Accepting it's all just a new experience and part of growing makes everything seem alright and traditions can and will be revived when we're back home in Singapore.

In fact, the first days of CNY here wasn't too bad, we'd still managed to enjoy steamboat and lou hei at our friend's, picked up some cool CNY angpows and deco, and video-called our families to which mine said "HELLO, TALK TO YOU TOMORROW, DATA VERY HIGH".

My family is wonderful. We are close.

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