A friend recently sent me this lovely Chicago notecard and a copy of an interview I did last month!
I started my blog seven years ago, not really knowing what I would write about. But my web designer, Christine, from Sorella Design, suggested I write a blog. So I tried it and voila–seven years later–here we are.
When I started the blog, I was still writing my memoir, trying to find an agent (which I did two years into the blog) and get it published (four years into the blog).
I’ve written about Old Hong Kong and have received so many lovely comments from people who knew my favorite city back in the 60s and 70s. Places like The Godown, Tkachenko’s, the August Moon Hotel, and the Tai Pak Floating Restaurant in Castle Peak are just a handful of former Hong Kong institutions that have brought me in contact with people from around the world who knew and loved these places.
Other highlights have included my family’s old travel photos, also from the 60s and 70s.
I’ve also featured other photos on Fridays and a book of the week (not every week, but I try!). Thank you to everyone who has read and commented over the years! Sometimes when I think I can’t possibly have anything else to write about, I find a new favorite book or go on a short trip somewhere. And here we are seven years later.
I was thinking today of the years I spent in Hong Kong and realized I was only really there for Chinese New Year right before I left the Territory for good. It was 1998, I was pregnant, and unable to travel back to Hubei Province (doctor’s orders!) to visit my in-laws. So I stayed in Hong Kong while my then-husband spent the holiday with his family.
This is my apartment from back then.
I don’t remember the particulars of the holiday that year, other than I was living with a good friend and her boyfriend. They’d moved into my apartment (I had the room on the right; they were in the one to the left) because my husband at the time couldn’t stay in Hong Kong due to visa issues and we were just biding time until late February 1998 when we’d fly to San Francisco and start a new chapter (which would last a couple years until I left in March 2000 to move back home with my parents in Chicago).
This is me in San Francisco some months later, pregnant with Jake.
I was technically in Hong Kong a few years earlier over Chinese New Year, but left soon after the first day of the holiday to fly up to Wuhan and then traveled by car to Hidden River, where I’d meet my future in-laws. So my memories of that Lunar New Year were more about mainland China than Hong Kong, although I remember a magical evening with my college roommates at the flower market in Victoria Park (the night I got the phone call from my fiance, summoning me to Hubei Province).
I suppose it’s only fitting that most of my Chinese New Year memories are from China itself. After all, I spent a week in Nanjing during the Lunar New Year in 1991 and in Hubei Province in 1995, 1996, and 1997.
Happy Year of the Rooster! What are your favorite Lunar New Year memories?
Last night I visited a lovely book group in one town over from mine. They not only decorated and served Chinese food for the Lunar New Year, but also presented me with this red envelope (complete with the year of the rooster symbol!) and a note.
The only thing is that I completely spaced out and forgot to bring the desserts I’d promised. I couldn’t believe it and had just been in Chinatown that morning.
It’s never too late to bring someone desserts, so I’ll make up for it next week! Still, it’s a lesson learned, as all mistakes are. Next time I need to make a reminder when I make a promise!
Here’s another old photo I recently found. It’s from my Hong Kong civil ceremony, ie, elopement, back in 1995. As I write in Good Chinese Wife, I had the worst time finding something to wear for this ceremony. So I ended up wearing a brown sundress, a white blouse, and a black jacket over all that. Not the most wedding-y outfit, but the flowers added a nice touch. I didn’t write about this in the book, but the flowers were a last minute thing and almost caused me to miss my ceremony appointment.
This friend standing next to me took my flowers back to the university when I went on my one-night honeymoon in Tsim Sha Tsui. I do write about that in my memoir.