Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 - Part 2

Here are photos from the second part of our Chinese New Year - the Ipoh leg. 

Getting ready for the drive to Ipoh.

The first stop we made in Ipoh was at one of my uncle's homes, where everyone had already gathered for visiting, which included lunch and the requisite friendly gambling.

Babydoll loves animals. Here she is trying to tempt my uncle's dog, Polly, with some chocolate. Polly was unimpressed, which was a good thing because chocolate is a no-no for dogs.

This photo was taken at the annual family dinner. Babydoll's dress was made by me; I've talked about it before in this post. Her handbag was a gift from her nanny.

Hanging out in the hotel.

We always make time to eat at the famous bean sprouts + chicken restaurant. We normally buy some balloons from a street vendor outside the restaurant - you can see the balloons in the very last photo.

More hotel fun.

Here are the littles, at another uncle's house. That's my brother with them and one of my uncle's dogs, Louie.

Babydoll was playing with the phone in the hotel room so we disconnected it. When she next picked it up and there was no sound from the receiver, she declared its battery empty and she plugged the mobile phone charger into it. Heh heh.

Checking out and leaving Ipoh after a very good trip.

The Ipoh leg is a lot of fun for us. We always have a good time there. Part of the reason is that we are surrounded by a big extended family there - you can't beat that amount of love in the air. The other part is that Ipoh is a really nice place to spend your days - lots of good food and easy to get around.

Ok, more tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 - Part 1

Our Chinese New Year is typically divided into three parts: the first part is spent with Richard's parents - this is over the eve of Chinese New Year and the first two days of Chinese New Year. The second part is spent with my extended family, ie. my aunts and uncles on my mother's side. Their hometown is Ipoh so everyone in the family converges there, wherever they may be in the world. I lived in Ipoh for four years as a teenager so I also have some friends there. The last part is spent with Richard's parents again, this time with the rest of his family, including our children's cousins. Throughout the three parts, we visit other relatives and friends.

Today, I'm going to share photos from the first part of our trip, and there are a lot of photos so sit back and enjoy!

Here are the littles, showing their individual interpretations of the Gong Xi Fa Cai hand sign. Looks like we might have to practise this a little more...

Babydoll's outfit is so cute, don't you think? It was a gift from her nanny.

For the second year in a row, we bought Ryan's outfit from Giant Hyperstore. We left it a little late this year - not many designs or sizes left - but we managed to get a nice one, fortunately.

Buying a new jacket for Ryan at Adidas. This may count as a family photo, err... with two strangers photobombing us.

No prizes for guessing that we stopped by KFC after the bookstore.

I wanted to show you the next photo because Ryan, sitting at the back of the car, complained that the "X" in the "Gong Xi Fa Cai" was upside down. Don't challenge him on the alphabet - you'll lose. Heh heh.

The night before we left for Ipoh, we managed to meet up with Margaret's family. We had fireworks and sparklers, plus we set off the prosperity lantern.

Whether or not you believe in the symbolism of the prosperity lantern isn't really the point, I think. What's more important, at least to me, is that the tradition of lighting it and sending it off brings the family together. The grandparents will come out of the house, three generations huddle around the lantern, everyone waits excitedly for it to come alive and everyone cheers as it lifts off into the night sky. Then, as it disappears from sight, good wishes for the new year are exchanged, hugs go around, and there is genuine happiness in the air. Those are pretty good reasons to participate in this tradition, I think.  

Ok, here's a grainy family shot to end today's post. Part 2 tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014

So this week is going to be about our Chinese New Year 2014, which was back in February. Better late than never, eh?

Leading up to Chinese New Year, Ryan's preschool had a week of Chinese New Year themed activities. I was invited to be in charge of one of the sessions, which also meant sourcing for materials for the session. The children voted on what activities they wanted to do at the session, and we ended up with lantern making, cherry blossom art and paper cutting. I got all the stuff they needed and took charge of one of the stations that day, which was the lantern making one. The children were super excited to make the lanterns and it was a lot of fun for me to be with them.

I was quite inspired after that day to make more lanterns. I looked up some tutorials on the internet and I made one every night! Ryan would bring it to school the next day and soon his classroom was full of lanterns.

Here are some of the lanterns I made.

Here they are, hanging in Ryan's classroom ...

... and outside his classroom too. The one in the middle can revolve!

The thing in the middle of the door is one of the paper cuttings that the children did. The calligraphy was done by the children at a different session (during which they also cooked dumplings!).

This is the lantern that Ryan made during the session in class.

At the end of the week, the children came to school dressed in Chinese traditional wear and all their classroom projects were displayed in the common areas of the preschool. Here you can see the cherry blossoms that the children cut out of paper and stuck onto the branch. Lovely!

I really enjoyed making all those lanterns but of course, now I have forgotten how to make all of them. No worries, there's always Youtube for next year!

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