The Year of the Ram has arrived!
People born during the year of the Ram are known to be considerate, careful and artistic. They are wanderers, and although none of the students here are years of the Sheep/Goat/Ram, I'm sure that we can all appreciate that the year we get to spend in China is one of a more adventerous tendancy.
Of course IES students have off this week of festivities while all of Beijing is home with their families, and the city is dead quiet. Except, of course, for the perpetual fireworks in the distance that started last night.
The Chinese have a ton of awesome traditions that we learned with the help of our teachers this past week. The reason behind the fireworks and wearing red, is that in Chinese tradition, the last night of the new year is when a monster called the “Nian” comes and wreaks havoc. In order to scare away the Nian, the people must use the fire crackers to make loud noises. The red color also is too bold a color and scares the Nian, protecting the people of China. “Nian” also happens to be the same pronunciation as the word for “year”, reiterating the fact that Chinese New Year is truly just a wordplay and pun-filled holiday. The people of Beijing sure succeeded in scaring away both a hideous monster and the old year. The streets are littered with fireworks boxes and this morning I was woken up before my alarm to fire crackers down the street.
Before New Years, we all made jiaozi (dumplings) with the teachers in the IES kitchen, they didn't taste half bad, but we probably need a little more training before we can open our own dumpling shop in Beijing.
IES students had a great new years night with Sung Joo, Caroline and Susanna's host families who gratiously invited us into their homes for the celebration, lots of food, and noisy fire crackers.
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<p>My name is Claire Vodicka and I travel to learn language and culture and grow as a person. I currently speak English, Spanish and Chinese, with a little bit of Italian on the side. I love to take pictures, especially of people; capturing their true emotions in the moment. I'm just enjoying my time in college and documenting every opportunity I have been blessed with.</p>