The Day After The Night Before Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year went off with the usual bang; the fireworks began at about 11:30, and our daughter woke up about 11:45, her wailing partly drowned out by the continued explosions. The partying still felt restrained compared to two years ago (a rocket full of Chinese people shouting the words to Gangnam Style as they flew into space) and I fell asleep shortly after midnight. I’m no more excited by Chinese New Year than non-Chinese New Year.

This morning I woke up feeling just as tired as when I went to sleep. We’re getting the keys to our new flat on Monday, which means the next three and a half days are filled with packing for the move. Packing all the accumulated detritus from the last three years in Singapore, and all the junk accumulated before that in Hong Kong, or brought to Hong Kong from my life before that, and all that being done while our daughter rages around us. It turns out that a nineteen-month old child hates nothing more than people putting things in boxes. In the afternoon I took her out to see the local chickens, but that failed to improve her mood. Well, that was probably because while running around like the demented terror that she is, she fell and banged her head. At least she didn’t run into a table today while doing laps of the apartment.

Oh. Yes she did.

In the late afternoon we went to a barbecue at a mutual acquaintance’s house. There was no barbecue; they had spent the day making beer, and at some point had broken a large glass container and got beer, glass and blood all over their kitchen. La Serpiente Aquatica Negra has no mercy or empathy for the pain of others, so she just ran around their house shouting joyfully for three hours, after which we bundled her back into her stroller and took her home. We got back late, and were both very confused; this was the first night in Chinatown in three weeks that there haven’t been high power, full volume celebrations. There was a lion dance going on in the hawker centre, which our daughter demanded to witness before remembering she was afraid of loud noises.

Thankfully, she went to sleep easily and we then spent the evening a little broken. I read The End Of The World Running Club, which annoyed me with its poor editting (“plain” and “plane” are not interchangeable) although the last pages made me come over all weepy, and then it was time for bed. So my triumphant return to Singapore has been not particularly exciting just yet. Tomorrow will involve more putting things into boxes, and more shouting from my daughter, I imagine.

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