It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today, so tomorrow will be the start of the year of the monkey. Just because it’s a new lunar year doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a “good” year–I’ve never really believed that “new year, new me” stuff–so am I supposed to automatically turn into a new person the moment the clock strikes twelve?

But it’s a good thing, I guess. National holiday, right? And next year, in July or August, I’ll move away from here with my mother and younger sister. I’ll finally leave this place, which I have dreamed of leaving for seven years. I’m counting down the months, I’m looking to the future. So that’s two countdowns I’m doing now.

Anyway, tonight there will be a new year’s show, the Spring Festival Gala, on TV. It’ll last for more than four hours, and will be filled with explosions of color and dance and music and stand-up comedy. I used to be completely unable to understand Chinese comedy, because it often involves homophones and puns, but now I think it’s the best part of the Gala. China is this very loud, large, colorful, old country, and it’s filled with all these beautiful things, and it has these lovely old traditions involving food and decorations and clothing. It really is quite a beautiful country, if you ignore the construction and the smog in the cities.

I have read this book that my teacher gave me, called To Live. It’s by a Chinese author named Yu Hua. It’s about the life of a man who lives through the Chinese Civil War, the Cultural Revolution, and all the terrible things in between. He loses his entire family one by one, but in the end, he is still living, living alone with an old ox for company. It’s very sad, but it’s not the sort of sad that makes you cry; it’s the sort of sad that makes you think about history and old people.

I also watched a movie yesterday, called 压岁钱, or Lucky Money, the money adults give to children for New Year’s. It was about a single silver dollar that made its way through the hands of all sorts of people, who lived in Shanghai around 1920-30. The film was very, very old, and it was all yellowed and pale, but it was very interesting to see how it portrayed the people of that time: the poor, the rich, the poor that pretended to be rich, the old and young, men and women.

Also, I heard this lovely Chinese song on Friday. It’s called 猪老三, which is the name of the ex-girlfriend of the singer, and it has this wonderful feeling to it.

Along with my reading, I have also been writing. I planned out thirteen chapters of a multi-chapter story, so I can get an idea of what I’m writing and how I want the story to go.

I guess that’s it for today. Have a very happy Chinese New Year’s Eve–do something nice or go get dumplings or noodles or something, or wear something red, for good luck.

See you guys next year!

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