Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Yesterday in China, it was the most important day of the year! New Year! Out with the year of the tiger and in with the year of the rabbit!

To celebrate, we went to a local chinese buffet with some friends, including Jing, who is from China and is here as an exchange student learning English. He lives with our friends Adam and Hannah, and they invited us to join them in a Chinese dinner to celebrate the New Year.

The restaurant was packed out, and there are a lot more Chinese people in Blacksburg than you might think, because we have Virginia Tech nearby. We didn't take many pictures at the restaurant because we were too busy eating, but it was great to celebrate.

During dinner, the woman who heads up the exchange program came into the restaurant and handed Jing a red envelope. The others at the table didn't know the significance, but David and I did. Dad Chinn would always mail us little red envelopes every Chinese New Year, with a $2 bill inside. This is a Chinese tradition, in which the parent shares a small gift of money with children, wishing them good fortune, wealth and prosperity in the New Year. These envelopes are also given at other celebrations such as weddings or funerals. For happy celebrations, money included will end in an even number. Odd number values are typically given at funerals. This is why Dad Chinn would give us $2 -- it's an even number! :)

We will start doing this with Daisy when she is old enough to partly understand, and we look forward to sharing some of her heritage and culture with her when she grows up a bit more.

Speaking of Chinese culture, David and I are taking a Chinese class! They offer a Beginning Mandarin Chinese class through Virginia Tech that we are able to take at minimal cost. We went Tuesday night for the first class (one hour each week) and we are so excited! It is such a hard language to learn, but we want to try to learn at least a little bit.

Fun week for the Chinn family celebrating our Chinese roots. Next week we plan to attend a local Chinese New Year gathering at Radford University and we'll try to take some pictures then!

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