Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring Festival

Ellie really got into it this year...

I'm late in posting about this, but we had a wonderful celebration this year for Spring Festival, or Chinese new Year.  We met our good friends in Chinatown, Philadephia, at a Dim Sum restaurant.  Our friends have a 12 year old daughter adopted from China.  It is so nice for our kids to have other friends who are Chinese and who share in the adoption experience.  (It's also so nice for me to have another adoptive mommy friend -- one who I know in 'real life,' rather than in my bloggy world!

I hate to admit that this was the first time we have tried Dim Sum.  I suppose because of our kids' love of noodles (Nicholas' very favorite) we always go to noodle houses when we go to Chinatown.  But the Dim Sum was so fun.  We felt like we were back in China; all the hustle and bustle, very crowded, bordering on chaos.  One after another, waitresses approached our table with carts carrying little plates of food (Dim Sum means "little bites").  No one seemed to speak English, so we were not sure what we were eating, but it was all so good.

The boys.

After lunch, we followed the sound of the firecrackers until we came upon the parade.  There was drumming and a gong, and, of course, the lion dancers (my favorite part).

Long rows of firecrackers were being set off  -- a tradition that is supposed to scare away bad luck for the coming year.  It was so loud.  My poor boy with sensory issues was not enjoying it.

(Above, you can see Olivia covering her ears).

I feel so lucky to be near a community of Chinese immigrants, ones that can bring just the smallest bit of our kids' native culture to them.  And to us.  I am woefully unprepared to share their culture with them -- it would be so artificial even if I tried -- so I try to just give them glimpses.

 Nicholas really hated both Chinese schools I enrolled him in (trying to keep up his Mandarin).  I have such mixed feelings about that --  I don't want him to feel not "Chinese" enough one day because he doesn't get cultural references or speak the language, but, at the same time, I believe culture is so organic  -- to take bits and pieces and thrust it upon his otherwise-American life just seems phony.  I know a few Chinese-Americans who do not know Mandarin or Cantonese and who are more American than Chinese now, and, I suppose, so are my kids.

It's kind of ironic that we do not attend Greek festivals (or English ones) like these.  I have asked John to take the lead in all things Greek, but he is not that interested or motivated to make the effort.  I tell myself that we naturally get enough Greek and English stuff through hanging with the grandparents and through our family traditions, etc.  I guess we make an extra effort with Chinese things because it would be so easy to completely leave that stuff out of our family life, since it is not part of our (mine and John's) heritage.

Plus, we are interested in all things Chinese.  As much as people criticize China and its government, it is the birthplace of my children, and the government graciously allowed us to adopt them.  A gift, a wonderful gift for which I will always be grateful.

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