February 7: Lunar New Year

新年快樂! (Xīn nián kuài lè! Happy New Year!)


Now that the Lunar New Year has passed, it is officially 2019 and the Year of the Pig in China (and also all around Asia)!


Typically, for Chinese people, this time is all about going back to their hometowns, spending time with family, and red packets. Children get about a month of from school, and most adults get at least a week off, so they all have plenty of time to go back home. Once home, the older relatives give red packets to the younger relatives. Red packets are red envelopes that children receive with money in them. (Here’s a Wikipedia article about red packets if you want to know more.)

For foreigners living in China, it’s a great time to go on a vacation. We get at least one week off of work, and some people get more! The biggest problem with traveling during CNY (Chinese New Year) is that it’s expensive. To save money (among other reasons), I decided to stay in Shanghai. I took this week as an excellent opportunity to sleep, organize my life, hang out with friends, heal up from bronchitis, and get some homework done. Did I really do all of those things? Well, it’s Wednesday, and I haven’t caught up on sleep, and my lungs still feel like they might give out at any moment, but I have hung out with some friends, organized, and I even wrote a 10-page paper that my professor said was ‘very well done!’ #adulting

Among all of those things, this week has been surprisingly reflective for me. I realized (from my Snapchat memories) that two years ago at this time I had just arrived in Malta and last year I was in Norway this week! Crazy how time flies and so much changes so quickly. I’ve also now experienced the two biggest holidays in China: Autumn Festival and Spring Festival!

On the actual day of New Years and on the roof of my apartment building with one of my roommates, I realized that seeing The Bund (the Shanghai skyline) is no longer quite as magical, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. In all of the best ways, I have gotten very used to living in this giant city, and in other ways, there are things that I will never quite get used to.



The view from the roof of my building! You can see most of the Bund in the distance.

Starting on Saturday, I will go back to working incredibly long hours (think: 13 hour days). While I’m not excited to be so exhausted and have to be at work that long, I am excited to see all of my coworkers again and hear about all of the amazing trips they went on!

Until next time,


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