My handsome cousin Jie was nicknamed ‘奶爸’ by Tao and I because of how much he enjoyed playing with kids and how good he was with them.
When Jie was a baby I used to carry him in my arms and walk to a house nearby to watch the pet dog there.
Now he is taller than me! When I see him I can't pretend I'm not aging.. Strangely enough, last year I kept thinking 17 wasn't too long ago. But this year I feel like I aged 8 years overnight. I feel 25 - although technically I'm not 25 yet.
Simple CNY decorations at po-po's.
This was taken on CNY Eve when I was working. Some people think I am a workaholic but reality is I still need to work a bit over the holidays so I can keep up with rent when I return to Sydney.
Not sure why but she decided she needed to strike a high fashion pose.
This year we had reunion lunch at po-po's and reunion dinner at ahma's.
Aunt Alicia was home for CNY, which is a rarity. Actually it's pretty rare to get Aunt Penny's family and 大姑’s entire family here for dinner as well.
I peeked inside ah-gong's bedroom after dinner and saw him sitting on his bed with angpaos and some cash spread out before him, totally focused on preparing angpaos for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Somehow that scene filled me with nostalgia. I think this is the strangest CNY I've ever had - it's weirder than not spending CNY with family. Somehow I felt incredibly elated and unbearably sad at the same time. I'm not sure I like growing up.
Anyway, Aunt Alicia was an excellent MC and soon I was too busy laughing to brood. In addition to ah-gong's traditional after-dinner angpaos, everybody received a Ziplock bag of Aussie candies from Aunt Alicia.
Cousin Aaron is super cute and so, very, extremely full of energy it must not be funny being his babysitter.
I heart, heart, heart this photo. it's just too cute! I think this was the first year I saw ah-gong giving angpaos to dad.
We stayed the night at ahma's, like we always did, and at midnight dad would bring us to the nearby temple to pray for a good year ahead. This year only dad and I went.
Some villagers had lit a super long firecracker and it was LOUD.
After my prayers I shook the cup of divination sticks until one fell out. Don't think it's very accurate as the cup looked quite empty - probably missing a few sticks. No idea what it means - Chinese divination explanations are very cryptic. Only understood that I'm supposed to keep my nose clean and that this was a good year for marriage ((cue hysterical laughter.
As we went home I wondered why the house looked strangely empty.. Then I realized that there were no Chinese lanterns strung up this year! We used to have them as kids. And then we stumbled into ah-gong's old room, and I collapsed onto the thin mattress on the floor, covered myself with an even thinner blanket, then fell asleep knowing exactly how tomorrow will play out - sweet soup for a sweet start to the new year, followed by visits from relatives and Malay food for lunch - and it is really the most wonderful feeling in the world.