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When I got to

Chinese New Year
When I got to China it was the Year of the Goat, and when I left, it was the Year of the Monkey. Lily of Infamy told me that parents what their kids to be born in the Year of the Monkey because they'll be clever and quick, like little monkies. Having spent time around small children, I can't really think of a lot of them that aren't already clever and quick like little monkeys, but whatever.
I looked forward to the Chinese New Year like a mad woman, but the whole thing was very disappointing. It's such a family holiday that no one I knew really thought to do anything with me. (I don't think I would have had a good time sitting around playing card games I don't know with people who don't speak English, which is a big part of the Chinese New Year, at least in Jiangyan.) Paul and I got together and let off firecrackers, which was a lot of fun. We drank alcohol, watched some videos, and basically hung out. At one point we walked around downtown Jiangyan, and the entire place was abandoned. It was very cold out, at least for China (that is, it was the middle of winter, and thus just about as cold as it is outside today in Edmonton), and the only place we could find open was the KFC. So, we had hot chocolate to warm up, then walked down the main street in the city. Usually it's so packed that you can't get anywhere quickly, and it was completely empty.
The whole thing was a lot of fun, in that strange way. Kinda like wandering around the streets on New Years Day in Canada, I guess. Nothing is open, and no one's around.
The monkey up above was taken in Nanjing. There were a lot of things there that indicated the new year celebration there had been a lot bigger of a deal. I have a bunch of other photos of the streets of Nanjing from the visit I took up there during the holiday. Lots of ice sculptures and weird things like that. Very colourful and the like.
I wish I had more stories about Chinese holidays. I have this sense that so much more was going on than what I was aware of (I have a gift from the boat races in Jiangyan during that time, but I didn't have any idea there was a boat race, or I would have gone), but at the same time the opportunity to just relax and not do anything with anyone watching was nice. During the holiday, the entire school was empty. I didn't feel like I was being stared at as much as I did the rest of the time.
One of the gifts I was given just before the new year was this lovely carved goat that everyone I know hates except me. I love the thing. I should get a pic of it and put it up for everyone. *grin*
See Also:
More on the streets of Nanjing during Spring Festival More on the streets of Nanjing during Spring Festival
So, Tom came to visit for the day yesterday and today, and it was a lot of fun. I'm kinda kicking myself now for not really planning a lot to do, or at least not having a lot of food in the house. *sigh* But on the other hand, I've only really been vaugly aware that Tom was gone. It was like seeing him again sorta crystalized for me that he's actually moved to Vancouver, is incredibly happy there, and is really enjoying his life. And thus, not likely to show up back in Edmonton again any time soon. I miss him like mad, but at the same time I'm so happy for him. Ah well, such is life, and it just means there's more people for me to visit the next time I'm in Vancouver.
In squeeing over the movie (Oh! I saw Sin City, did you hear? Yay!), I totally forgot to mention that I saw it with Tom, Crash and Lynette. I think seeing Crash and Lynette may have been better than seeing the movie. We went out for mediocre East Indian food, and talked about life and stuff, and it was great and relaxing to just get out of the house again with people I genuinely love spending time with. We hooked up with Tom, saw the movie (which I loved. Not that I'm driving everyone I know insane with the constant talking about this movie or anything), and then went out for coffee afterwards and talked about the movie, about gaming, about life. My two favorite comments were both from Crash.
"Sure, I'd play a Hogwarts Game. But only if I got to be a monster that ate all the students by the handful. And it can't be some pansy monster, it's got to be a real monster."
Later on, when we got back on the movie, I told everyone how it inspired me to want to kill Crash and then have wild passionate sex with Lynette in the pool of blood that would form. (Did I mention it's a gory film?)
"That sounds hot. Why don't you kill me right now?"
I love Crash. He's so darned cute.

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