For the majority of Chinese people, Spring Festival is one of the most anticipated times of the year. Like millions of other Beijingers, I’m eagerly anticipating the end of the lunar calendar. I’ll be traveling home for an extended break with family this Chinese New Year. Distance, migration, and the speed of modern life make it hard to gather the whole family in one place at one time. So I’ll make two stops on my journey into the west; one to see my brother’s family in Slovakia, and the second to be with my family and friends in Ireland.
This month, I spoke to two families about their Spring Festival traditions (p.48). Their stories resonate: the same things are on my agenda – going to my hometown, seeing relatives and friends, eating my regional foods, and decompressing. The 26-person village I live outside of is, as you can imagine, pretty sleepy. On the program will be long talks and day trips with my mother; rehearing family legends that I never get tired of, recounting childhood memories, sleepovers with my nieces and nephews, eating Christmas lunch prepared by my mother, sister, and sister-in-law (if I’m lucky I’ll get to peel a few spuds), and catching up on the friendships that no distance can sever. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s heartwarming to experience, and it’s heartrending to leave them to return each year.
Alas! Another heartbreak scheduled for later this month: our School Editor, Yvette Ferrari, is moving on to a new role with Dulwich College Beijing. Yvette has been with beijingkids for two years, and in that time has become a huge part of the magazine and a true friend. We’re sad to lose her, but delighted that our paths are guaranteed to continue to cross in future. Best of luck, Yvette! With Yvette’s departure, beijingkids is hiring. If you want to be part of the best international family resource in Beijing, please contact email@example.com to learn more about our vacant positions.
So much for leave taking! For those of you sticking around and spending February here in the capital, there’s plenty of ways to connect to Chinese culture. Take in a folk performance and shop for traditional handicrafts at a temple fair (p.52), try Yi minority food at Asiniuniu (p.24) or check out one of our tried-and-tested recommendations for families (p.26). Temperatures have been dropping recently, and February, although technically the beginning of Spring, can often be the coldest month of the year. Find out how to protect yourself with our TCM tips (p.22). Ember Swift contemplates her longstanding love affair with China (p.44), WAB students conclude that anyone can “understand China” – given enough time and commitment (p. 40), while Keystone students take us through their Chinese culture and history studies (p.36). See you in March when I return from Ireland, and Xin Nian Kuai le! from all at beijingkids to all of you!
This article originally appeared on page 7 of the beijingkids February 2016 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org