It’s the far end or Chinese New Year’s, but I want to share some fond memories of my childhood on this day.
Vermont didn’t have a very strong Chinese community when I was growing up, and though the Asian community has grown much since then it’s still nothing like the cities. There’s no Chinatown or sense of culture here. But this story is not about the present, but the past.
Every kid growing up had a bed time. Mine was 8 pm. Chinese New Year’s broke all the rules. We didn’t follow the standard template of lighting firecrackers or lion dancing. We did pray to out ancestors and cook lavish meals, but I’ll cover that in another post. What made my Chinese New Year’s special was staying up late.
After completing our traditional customs, my brothers and I would open presents from a family friend. Usually these consisted of clothes that none of us could wear. They had badges for the CIA and other US government agencies that we just didn’t want to wear. They were from her work. Sometime though, she would send us some nice two piece sweater and sweatpants that had cute teddy bears stitched on them.
After opening the presents, we would turn on the Super Ninetendo and play the best game from the 90s: Super Mario World. We hadn’t beaten the game, and most of the time it was just 6 year old me failing by not jumping quick enough before hidden a Koopa or falling off mountains. I was not a Chinese savant who could school you at video games. My brothers would help me out, but as the baby of the family I just whined until they gave me the controller. Who’s number one? Me.
I actually never remembered how long we would stay up. The following day at school we would have quiet time to write in our journals, and I would talk about how I stayed up till 4 am playing Super Mario Brothers with my big brothers. It was always an amazing night.
I really miss those times.