Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Celebrating New Year's in Ipoh

The much anticipated time of year with Chinese, is their New Year. We were very excited when we received an invitation to come to Ipoh to help celebrate this occasion. We arrived in Ipoh late on Monday, in order to celebrate Tuesday, the second day of Chinese New Year with our new adopted family.

Mom and dad, Goh

We woke early as instructed by sister Hong, only to be told by older sister Ying, we didn't need to get up so early. We offered to help, but I think they felt we would be more of a liability, so they politely declined. I think they heard about my cooking.

After breakfast, while the sisters went into preparation mode, I had the opportunity to speak to my newly adopted father. With my limited Chinese and dad's much better English, we managed to have a couple of hours worth of a conversation. He told me about his family, he was the youngest, his migration to Malaysia as a boy of 15, his 6 children, and his travels. While I had some alone time with dad, Mark had time to catch up with Daniel and Ben, hoping to drive them crazy. He accomplished his mission! Yup, they missed him. Both seem to enjoy Malaysia very much. Can't blame them, they have their dogs, a backyard to run around in, and the opportunity to play/taunt their cousins in between their studying.

Dad, and daughter, he never knew he had

By mid morning, family and friends dropped by to enjoy the festivities. First off was the hong bao, which is basically a red envelope with money in it. It is typically given to children, and single people. Since Mark and I were newbies to this part of the New Year, we also received hong baos from mom, and sister Hong. I love this time of year!

First the prayers!

Later, the lion dance was held as part of the Goh tradition, and kids from all ages enjoyed the theatrics. Mark and I were the photographers of this event, which gave us the opportunity to contribute to the fun of the new year.

Lion had to retrieve lettuce out of the tree! Don't ask.

Afterwards, the lion grabs the fruit and throws it to the children
Children vying for the fruit

Family and friends enjoying themselves!

After the lion dance, the best part to many, was the food and I have to agree with them. Job well done to all the chefs, Min, Ying, Hong and Yi and of course, mom.

By 3pm, everyone left and we enjoyed a nice peaceful afternoon. Hong, Mark and I went into Ipoh for a short time, purchasing the famous white coffee before returning for dinner, which was held at 7pm at Maria's. This has become a family tradition to have a final get together before everyone leaves to go their separate ways. Our very generous brother, Alex, treated that evening. We ate, drank and laughed, while champagne and red wine kept flowing.

Our brother, Alex on the left, with family and friends.

Mom, friends, and the sisters

Mark, enjoying his night with Daniel! Not sure who is the older one!

Family reunion with my sisters!

Afterwards, Mark tried his luck at gambling, and ended up winning.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend Chinese New Year. We would like to thank our adopted family in Ipoh for a most memorable time.

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