Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring Festival

Chinese New Year is over and we have survived!

Phil and I have been living here in China for over three years, but this was the first time we actually remained in the country for the week long celebration. Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, it is the most significant holiday for the Chinese people. For many, it is the only time in the year that they will be able to travel back to their hometowns to see their spouses, children, and extended family!

After all of the "horror" stories we had heard from other expats- the around the clock fireworks, everything closing down, and the general mass of people in transit (which is no small thing in China); the idea to remain here over the holiday never appealed to us. We have always taken this particular holiday break to go back to the US for a family visit. Given the fact that I would be 32 weeks pregnant with our twins this time around, staying in Shanghai during the Chinese New Year was our fate.

Expecting nothing but annoying firecrackers and difficulty getting food (due to all of the closures); I was surprised to find that halfway into the holiday week- we were eating well and had no real sleep interruptions from the fireworks. I was beginning to think we were in the clear since our new apartment is not in a heavily residential area, but I wouldn’t dare verbalize this thought for fear that I would jinx us.

Just when I thought it was safe to take a deep breath- day 5 came upon us. I mentioned that we didn’t live in a large residential area right? Well, we do live in a huge retail area and it just so happens that day 5 ushers in the money god. Midnight hit, and all firecracker hell broke loose. It was absolutely amazing how many firecrackers were being lit off around our entire building. Every window I looked out had firecrackers going off. It got to the point that I couldn’t see across the street because of the heavy fog of smoke oozing from all the fireworks. These retailers wanted the money god to notice them, and they certainly won’t be able to blame this night for any poor sales in the future.

Other than that night we had a fairly relaxed and firecracker free week; and a week that we were essentially dreading turned out to be a pretty decent one.

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