Today was a day of celebration! Today is Chinese New Year and tomorrow is my Dad's birthday, so we chose to combine the two events into one! My parents came up this afternoon when the boys were out of school and we had a little birthday party for my Dad. My Mom made it Star Wars themed and the boys thought that was great! I think my Dad secretly enjoyed it too.
My Dad and the boys getting ready to blow out the Darth Vader candle
My Mom brought small 'party favor' bags and Caleb's had a light-up light saber (which Joshua calls a "light saver")
Joshua's had a new My Little Pony, one of his new favorite things! :)
Joshua was not sure he wanted to go to Chinese New Year. He asked if he could bring his new pony, and we said yes-- especially since this is the Year of the Horse!!!
After Dad's birthday celebration we loaded up and went to the Texas A&M campus. The Confucious Institute at Texas A&M puts on the annual Lunar New Year Celebration in Sbisa Dining Hall, which I believe is the largest dining hall in the world! We arrived close to 6pm when it started and the place was already packed. We got Chinese food from the serving area and luckily found a place to sit. We also saw friends from church and my Facebook travel group who are adoptive parents of kids from China. It was nice to see some familiar faces! Joshua got a tattoo on his hand of a rabbit, which is his zodiac symbol.
Joshua posing with the horse for CNY and receiving his red envelope
After dinner we went outside where it was VERY cold and watched a group from Houston perform kung fu and a traditional lion dance.
The performers stretching before the Kung Fu show
This guy was amazing! I had never seen Kung Fu before and really enjoyed it- it was athletic and artistic all at the same time.
The performers had set up gongs and drums and Caleb was so nervous about the noise. He kept his ears covered most of the time but ended up enjoying the lion dancers.
Traditional lion dancers. Bryan and I had never seen this type of performance in person-- only on TV-- so it was great to experience it live!
After the performances, Joshua was fading fast. We headed home while my Mom & Dad headed back into Sbisa to some of the demonstrations. They had origami and traditional Chinese writing. My Mom got this young woman to write "Welcome Home Hannah" in Mandarin so she can hold it up at the airport! As my Mom explained to the young woman what it was for, they began to discuss Hannah's age and where she was from. Out of the billions of people in China and all the many, many populated cities -- would you believe that this woman is from Anyang City, the place where Hannah was born and currently lives??? I wish we had been there to meet this young lady and possibly get her contact information. I would love to have a connection to Hannah's birth city that we could maintain for her, if anything to have a positive role model and friend of our family!
My Dad enjoying coffee & a cookie with the Mandarin writing
Joshua was pretty wiped out on our ride home. He pulled his hat over his eyes and passed out!
I am sad to say that this was my first time to experience Chinese New Year. Bryan and I had no idea that Texas A&M had this kind of event, in spite of being graduates. The attendance and participation at the celebration was unbelievable. As we sat and ate our dinner, surrounded by so many people of all races, but especially many people who look just like our Hannah- we watched a Tai Chi demonstration and I almost started crying. To know that we have this amazing, welcoming community in our midst and that Hannah will grow up seeing the beauty of her culture was such an encouragement to me. I can't wait to go to China and experience it first hand.
Happy Chinese New Year to all the people we know & love! May the year of the horse bring you much prosperity, happiness, and blessings!