Chinese New Year is only 3 days away and everyone is out buying food for the reunion dinner on CNY Eve or preparing to take a bus back to their hometown where someone in their family is out buying food. Leo and I are also in the thick of preparing for our first CNY. Leo is bringing from Malaysia pistachios, pineapple tarts and bak wa, which are thin slices of pork dipped and preserved in a sweet spicy BBQ-like sauce. I spent what felt like hours in line at the shops to buy decorations, almond bread, Chinese cabbage, and keropok, which are deep-fried prawn chips. A friend gave us waxy duck sausage for fried rice. When Leo arrives on Tuesday, we are braving the crowds again to get fish, prawns, lotus root and a box of mandarin oranges.
All of this frenzied activity will be worth it after CNY starts Wednesday evening. CNY itself is full of visiting family, friends and neighbors, eating, wishing everyone a happy new year by saying "Gong Xi Fa Cai!", giving ang pow (money in a red envelope) to kids, more eating and exchanging news and mandarin oranges while eating. Leo and I will be spending CNY Eve with the neighbors. On the first day of CNY we will visit Leo's older relatives in Singapore. On the second day the older relatives will visit the younger. On the third and fourth days we will go visit friends. For all of you who I won't be able to visit this year: May you have a happy and prosperous New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!