Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yeehar! Ushering in the Year of the Horse!

Happy Chinese New Year, everyBARDY!

Today is 初五 and I still can't believe we are celebrating our second lunar new year here. Take a look at us last year. Vic and Jo had just arrived and it was the first time I invited anyone home for dinner, due to my limited culinary skills. Now, hosting dinners is a regular thing among the FC housewives!

This year, Panda invited his new colleague to have reunion dinner with us. We had planned on having a small dinner between us two, but I couldn't bear the thought of someone eating alone on the eve of Chinese New Year! I was also glad that we did, because I could cook more and it was pure joy watching the food being gobbled up!

And meeting new friends is always exciting. Now I know there's another place to visit before I die: Yellowknife in Canada. I want to see the Northern Lights, and Yellowknife seems to be less of a hassle than Norway!

Baked salmon filet, sambal chicken wings, mama's pork chop, black pepper prawns, curried vegetables and chicken soup. 

Homemade 黑芝麻雷沙汤圆

On the first day of CNY, the Lows also invited us over for steamboat dinner. I can't say this enough - I love, love, love steamboat! I love eating it at home too because if the food is not cooked well enough, you can always run to the toilet and let it all out. Ok, just kidding.

The dinner's highlight had to be the homemade fruits yu sheng by Wendy! Lo hei is a CNY tradition in Singapore and while I'm not a die-hard fan, I've grown to love it because it's fun. Each ingredient has its meaning, and you got to say all sorts of wishes for the new year while you lo them as high as you can, often resulting in a big happy mess after that.  

We ate so much during steamboat that I could barely carry my tummy home. It was a miracle that I could fit into my cheongsam the next day.

Why did I dress up? Because we had visitors!!

It was the first time we had so many people in our house. I thought (and still think) that our house is too small to host anything more than a party of four. But with a little bit of shifting here and there, we managed to squeeze in 8 adults and 2 bouncy kids.

Special thanks to Yiru for bringing her own chairs too. I was grateful because my pink plastic ones from Ranch99 would be too ugly and uncomfortable!

In the mood for CNY snacking and chatting!

We went to four other houses to bai nian over that weekend, going as near as Wendy's place down the road to as far as Mountain View. It's fun because each house has its speciality - bak gwa, nian gao, cookies, coffee... I made lo pak gou and siew mai earlier that week but we finished them before CNY, so I replaced them with cinnamon and chocolate banana muffins instead. Not Asian but still homemade! Heh.

On a separate note, stepping into my cheongsam again made me realised how much I have grown. Metaphorically, and ahem, literally. I first wore it on my wedding day and I bought it purely as a substitute for my kua. (I wasn't able to wear my kua for my Singapore wedding, but that's a story on its own.)

Four years on, I felt more womanly and prouder of my Asian heritage as I wore it. Maybe because I have taken on the full role of a wife the past one year. Maybe because I'm living in a country where people are obviously different, yet they are so receptive and there's no outward barrier to making friends. Whatever the reason, I have grown as a person. 

Panda must have sensed it too, because he kept saying that he will lose the present me once I get back to work in Singapore. He's been enjoying my full attention until now - daily home cooked food, endless chit-chatting, exploring new places together. Life here is almost like a dream for the both of us... we shall enjoy it while it last!

At our wedding dinner at Pan Pacific Hotel

After 4 years of marriage

And now, to work on those butts which almost caused the cheongsam seams to split...

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