Taking a Breather with My Family

Happy New Year, everyone! For those of you who don’t know, a lot of East Asian societies used to mark time by the cycles of the moon (with some additional tweaks based on agricultural and solar factors), and while the Gregorian calendar is the standard nowadays, the lunar new year still holds great cultural significance. In Chinese culture, the beginning of the lunar new year is seen as a time to reunite the family and engage in rituals that will ensure prosperity and good fortune.

I am back in NYC this weekend in order to celebrate with my family, and I’ve really enjoyed stepping away from my worries for a little bit and cozying up at home. My brother and I watched a movie together this afternoon, something we haven’t done in a while. I spent the other part of the day pattering around the house, having random conversations with my parents, then I stepped out for an hour and a half to see a childhood friend and chat over fried ice cream. When I returned, my Mom was almost finished preparing the reunion dinner. It was quite a labor of love, as she had started cooking at noon, but it turned out to be explode-my-taste-buds delicious.

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Vegetables with dried scallop; sweet and sour fish; chicken with green onion/ginger/oil sauce; stir-fried garlicky shrimp; and seafood, bamboo shoots, and pork cooked in a clay pot – it was hard to tear myself away from this spread even when I knew I was full.

My family and I gathered in the living room for dinner, which isn’t unusual, but this time we were accompanied by the Superbowl. Watching the game was actually a great bonding experience; this is a sentence that I never thought I would utter, as I am usually completely apathetic to sports, but witnessing my parents’ and brother’s reactions was great fun, and even when my attention to the game lapsed we could trade comments about the commercials. It was a good time.

I have one more night here before I fly back. I’m hoping to do a few “productive” things before I board my plane, but if I don’t get to them I won’t beat myself up. I think anything else I do today or tomorrow won’t surpass the joy and gratitude I’ve felt in reinvigorating my familial ties.

— S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

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