Rikki Li is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An English Writing and Psychology major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
This week, Rikki celebrates Chinese New Year in London's Chinatown where she finds a slice of home.
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Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Technically, my well wishes are a week late, but the sentiment remains the same. As is customary, I wish you all good fortune, good health, and plenty of happiness in the Year of the Monkey.
Despite living in America, my family has always celebrated Chinese New Year, though it was never quite as loud of an affair as Christmas or birthdays. However, that did not diminish its importance. We would wear red clothes for good luck, and my mother would cook a traditional meal with all the important foods, such as steamed fish, braised tofu, and stir-fried bamboo shoots. Every dish had a significance, and I would watch in awe as my mother folded each dumpling like a delicate paper star, her hands a blur as she laid them out on a massive tray, either to be pan-fried or submerged in boiling water. After dinner, as we waited for our stomachs to settle for sweet pomelos and tang yuan, my siblings and I would go out into the cold, our breaths swelling in translucent puffs, and set off the sparklers we had left over from the Fourth of July. We’d dance until our noses were stiff and pink, until we’d burned the last of our sparklers and snuffed the smoking tips in the snow, until the night, once again, returned to darkness.