Happy Chinese New Year 2012 (Xīnnián hǎo 2012)!

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Here it comes, Chinese New Year. Many Chinese say it’s the most extraordinary celebration in China, where there is no alcohol and food limit and you can hear and see fireworks almost everywhere all day long. It’s my first time in China so it’s also my first (surprisingly) Chinese New Year to celebrate. Since December many people (teachers, students, friends from Chongqing and Hunan province) have been inviting me to their hometowns (small towns, villages and big cities) so I can enjoy this time with them. But I still had no clue what I was going to do and who I was going to hang out with.
One day I got into the hospital with a quite serious food poisoning. Jordan, my best friend,  whose name I have probably mentioned here 100 times, took me to the hospital directly and spent there more than 10 hours translating word by word what the doctor said. When we were coming back to the school he asked me if I had an idea where I’m going to spend “Spring Festival” (that’s how they call Chinese New Year and other big events) and with whom. I said I had not decided yet and then he replied: “You can always visit me but who would like to stay more than a day in a cold and unknown village like my hometown??”. I said “Me!!!!!” He started to laugh and said “You? You must be kidding me!” I explained to him that all I need now is to turn my phone off, go somewhere not very far away, get some rest, sleep till 12 pm, eat some local food, get some fresh air and enjoy myself. “Sounds like Ma an shan!”- He said. At that moment my decision was made!!! So excited, ready to go!!

I was supposed to stay in Jordan’s hometown for 10 days, unfortunately I left the village after 5 days due to unbearable living conditions. Call me a hero, honestly!!! Why? There are a couple of reasons such as: the wooden house we lived in was located in very high mountains, it was snowing and the temperature was -13 degrees!!!! There was no central heating there, no hot water, broken doors to my room, no internet and no electricity!!! In one word: disaster! I was sleeping in my winter coat and gloves, couldn’t take a shower when I needed to and I was freezing all the time. I know, I know. I wanted to experience some “wild” life and find out a little bit more about Chinese farmers’ life and customs but I didn’t expect to live like that at all!!! C’mon! How can people live in a house with no windows in winter?? Or don’t take a shower at all?!? I was cold and I couldn’t even wash my face, I got angry and annoyed so you can image the expression of my face for those 5 days :-/. Apart from fireworks and nice food, I didn’t experience anything which might have been worth describing here. The food was good but it didn’t really differ from everyday food I eat in Huayuan. I got a cold and didn’t feel well so I took only a few pictures on first days and then put my camera back in my backpack. Sorry for pictures but they probably don’t express anything and don’t show a typical Chinese New Year celebration :((((((((((((. People did nothing apart from eating, drinking Baijiu (Chinese spirit), playing a very popular game here called Mah Jong. Mah Jong (mah jongg) is a traditional Chinese tile game with many variations (that’s all I know). I don’t even know how to play it. Actually, it seems to be very complicated but Chinese just love it!! Moreover, the kids were playng with fireworks and they were going from house to house to say Happy New Year to their families and neighbours (I joined them).
To sum up, my Chinese New Year was not one of my best and favourite events in China but my friends had a great time in Beijing and the fireworks looked extraordinary!! At least they enjoyed it :-)))))))

新年好 2012!!!! A.

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