So things have been hectic as usual, but I do finally get a break this week for Chinese New Year. It’s been nice actually; most Chinese people go back to their hometowns for the holiday, or out of town. Beijing is much less crowded than normal. I finished up my classes Friday, the winter camp I was teaching for some kids, and an adult class. I had fun with them all! The kids had lessons on teamwork and we did a bunch of science experiments and games.
After my last class Friday I met Jess and went to Wangfujing Street, where she attempted to eat bugs, just because. It was highly entertaining; if you haven’t yet, go check out the YouTube video I made:
Finally got to put my skills from my video editing class to good use. There’s a huge mall (actually, more than one) in Wangfujing and we walked around. Everything was decked out for Chinese New Year; it’s the Year of the Monkey, if you couldn’t tell:
Saturday was about 20 straight hours of homework but I wanted to get everything out of the way so I could have fun Sunday, for New Year’s Eve, which I did. I got up early and Skyped family, ran to the grocery store, and then cleaned, cleaned, cleaned because my apartment was a mess and I didn’t want to clean it today because it’s very unlucky. (If you take out the trash, sweep the floors, or even wash your hair on New Year’s Day Chinese superstition says you’re sweeping away good fortune for the year. So I went along with it because I need all the luck I can get!) Then I decorated my apartment. LiLin brought me a bunch of New Year’s decorations and told me how to hang them up right. There’s a poem on three pieces that goes around the door, and a sign for fu that has to be hung upside down on New Year’s eve.
Last night I met up with Jess near Shichahai. People were setting off chains of firecrackers on the sidewalk as we went by and I stopped for this video. I also temporarily lost my hearing…turn the volume down if you watch it! I love fireworks in China. People buy them by the case and set them off wherever and whenever they feel like it. No rules, no regulations, no timed 20-minute events, and no warning whatsoever. Crowded street? Who cares? They just light the fuse and run. Hopefully bystanders notice and get out of the way before the mayhem starts.
We got dinner at a new place we stumbled across and now it’s one of my favorites. Delicious food!
Then we wandered around being our silly selves. We found a giant ball of cotton candy for dessert, which we subsequently turned into Olaf from Frozen, and a wig for Jess. Also found a giant fish, which is very lucky here.
At eight, we met up with some more friends at a quiet bar on Houhai lake and played dice games. They had live music and big windows upstairs so we could see the fireworks going off all night. Later we went to Temple Bar to hear the Beijing Beetles, who were actually pretty good, then to the lake to see the fireworks at midnight. Well, the big display was at midnight but really they were going off as soon as it was dark. They were going nonstop all night, even when I got back to my apartment. And I could still hear firecrackers when I got up this morning (very late) and all day long. This is the biggest holiday in China and they know how to celebrate!