Chinese New Year!

Happy New Year! The year of the Horse!
In preparation for this holiday I did some research and recollecting from my childhood.
I was lucky, lets be honest, I have lived a pretty charmed life. One of the many blessings of my childhood was the many amazing school teachers that I had growing up. My fifth grade teachers were Mr. Quan and Mr. Laine. Mr Quan was a Chinese American. From what I understand, he was born and raised in the US, but he was super cool about sharing many cool aspects of his culture with his students. He taught all of his students how to play Mahjong, he taught us lots about Chinese culture. One of the things I remember best was the Red Envelopes he gave all of us when we celebrated new year.  There were 60 kids in the class (30 in each room) and he gave all of us a red envelope with a quarter in it. We all got an Almond cookie. A really fun day for a 5th grader.

Flash forward 20 years.
I had to search all over the place for those same red envelopes.
I found then at the Asian market in Provo.
I filled them with Sacagawea coins. I thought it would be fun. A gold coin.  

Mirah seemed to like it.
I kept trying to get her to hold it up and smile. She just kept holding it up and covering her face. Cutely. 
Again. 
We finally let her open it.
Gold Coin. 
For dinner we went to the Green Panda. Our favorite Chinese place in town. 
The place is always slow…but the food is always good. Ordered and waiting. Mirah needed something to tie her over while we waited.

A half an hour later. the food came!
Worth the wait!
I had peppered chicken Karl had mongolian beef. 
A great low card meal. (We didn’t have much rice) And yes, we had 8 dumplings.
After dinner we picked up Krysta, and headed over to Nitsy’s place. 
Look at these little guys waiting for us!
We gave all the kids red envelopes and almond cookies. They liked it. 
These were the cookie I bought at the Oriental One market in Orem, near our place. 
Made in the USA, but still so…Asian.
Once everyone had a cookie, we started with the craft. 
A simplified version of something I saw on Pintrest.

One version
Judah’s Giraff. 
Karl, like he always does, added a little flair. 

Our last activity…what else, FIREWORKS!
But, it was 7:30 on a cold January evening. So we all bundled up and headed outside.
We have loads of left over fireworks at our house, but since Mirah still doesn’t like them and I think we could have gotten in trouble for lighting them, we only did two.

Mirah cried.
But it only took a few minutes spinning with Karen to cheer her up.
It was getting late, so we said farewell to Nitsy and the boys. We took Zac a red envelope at work. Then said good night to Karen and Krysta too, singing along to the Frozen soundtrack all the way home.  
Mr. Quan died a few years ago of cancer. He was young, my parents age. He had two sons. One Cam’s age and one my age, Jason, who was actually in he class with me that year. He was a really great man. I kind of feel like in remembering this holiday, I am remembering him too. He helped open up my world view, which was really important for a little white Mormon girl in southern California. Thanks Mr. Quan, Happy New Year.

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