Welcome, Year of the Dragon!

Today is January 1st on the lunar calendar, so a few blessings are in order…

Gung Hay Fat Choy! May the year of the dragon bring you good health, happiness, and prosperity.

I was born a dragon as well, which means by the end of this lunar year, I will be turning 36. (For the record, I’m still 34 as of today, on the western calendar!) I don’t feel 34 though. Since I turned 30, I’ve stopped counting my age, and I usually have to do a bit of arithmetic to remember the age for my next birthday. I don’t want to be boxed and bounded by a number. I would much rather welcome each year with anticipation, for it will surely bring new adventures, new joys, and new surprises in my life. Maybe a few heartaches too, but that is the way of life. Without heartaches, we may not recognize fulfillment. So, with open arms, let’s welcome the year of this fire-breathing monster!

There is a very important family dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year, known as the reunion dinner. It is a time for families to gather together to celebrate, and is one of the most highly valued family dinner for the Chinese.

Being semi-Americanized after having lived in the U.S. for 30 years, my family is not a stickler on Chinese traditions. The same can be said for Alan’s family. We usually celebrate such holidays a few days earlier, to avoid the crowds, and this year was no different. We had our reunion dinner on Friday, at my father in law’s favorite restaurant–Mayflower in Milpitas.

My mom had bought a really pretty Chinese dress for Bridgette in Hong Kong, and I was excited to dress her in it for our reunion dinner. Bridgette is very much into Chinese opera these days, as she loves their extraordinary costumes, so she asked that I braid her hair like the opera singers. She even dug out the traditional Chinese princess headpiece that I had gotten for her on my Beijing trip last year! I spent over an hour braiding her hair (where do I find such patience?) and I have to admit, I was quite proud of my newfound skills! 🙂

Trying to learn poses from the Chinese opera singers

On Saturday, we had another family dinner with my dad and aunt at my cousin’s restaurant Cooking Papa. Yesterday, on the actual eve of Chinese New Year, we spent it with our good friends. We took Bridgette to see a 10am family showing of Beauty and the Beast with her friend Mina at the Redwood City theater. These family showings are great for young kids, as they keep the lights on the entire time.

After the movie, we met up with the Lee family for brunch at one of my favorite restaurants–Calafia in Palo Alto.

Following brunch, we braved the rain and headed over to Stanford Mall for more pictures. Predictably, we ended up at Pottery Barn Kids for a good hour, and finished off with none other than our favorite Pinkberry!

My friend, Karen, posted a reminder on her Facebook status today that really resonated with me, so I am borrowing it to share with all of you!

Be good to yourself and those around you. You may want more, but everything you’ll ever need you already have.

Happy New Year!

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