Between the snow storms throughout the East, the Grammys and the news about the Pope resigning, Chinese New Year has taken a bit of a back seat. It started this past Sunday. This year we’re celebrating the Year of the Snake.
It’s interesting. In North American culture, when we refer to someone as a ‘snake’, it’s not very complimentary. And yet, ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will never starve.
In fact, this is the year of the water snake. Water snakes are influential and insightful. They manage others well. They are highly motivated, intellectual and very determined. They are success-oriented. While they are affectionate with family and friends, they keep their private lives private. So don’t expect them to be demonstrative when they’re with colleagues and business partners.
I read, somewhere, that snakes and pigs should avoid each other. Which is unfortunate. Because I am a fire pig; and I’d hate to think this is going to be a miserable year for me.
Those born in the year of the pig, like me, are among the kindest, gentlest and most selfless of the Chinese zodiac signs. Hey, I’m not making this up. Google it, if you don’t believe me.
We hate asking for help and are happiest when helping others. So much so, we are the most committed of all the Chinese zodiac animals, to peacemaking. But don’t think we’re weak. We are physically strong and courageous; and are known for our stamina. And we never give up, whether it’s a personal relationship, a business relationship, a project, studies, whatever. We see it through to the bitter end. Apparently we are also affectionate, passionate and highly sexual.
Again, I’m not making this up.
Fire pigs, specifically, are forces of nature and completely motivated by love. We know no fear of any kind because we are blinded by optimism. Which, in turn, gives us an inordinate amount of confidence. We tend to always go for it, because it never occurs to us, we might fail.
So remind me to stay away from snakes, okay.
Tonight I’m going out to celebrate Chinese New Year. I go out to dinner every five or six weeks with a group of nurses, who work in the recovery room where I volunteer (and one who used to work there). It started when three of us decided to go to this fabulous Indian restaurant I’d been to in Little India. That was close to two years ago. Now we’re up to five; and I think we have a sixth joining us tonight.
All of us are foodies, willing to try just about anything. So each time we go, we pick a different ethnic cuisine. The only rule is, the restaurants have to be dives. The food has to be good, no Board of Health warnings or anything, but we’re not looking for fine dining, with white tablecloths. We want authenticity. Real home cooking, made by people who grew up eating it. We’re not looking for the dumbed-down, tourist version. We want the real thing.
Never have we had a bad meal. Never have we paid more than $20, including tax and tip. Most of the time, it’s less, actually. And that is for a TON of food. Usually our servers shake their heads and tell us we will never eat everything we’ve ordered. It’s too much. Never have we sent back any dishes with food still on them. Not once. We’ve had Indian, Thai, West Indian, Japanese, Chinese. We have Korean and Turkish coming up. We’ve been trying like crazy to find Mexican but a ‘dive’ still alludes us. We seem to only be able to find either high end or fast food. Doesn’t fit the criteria. So no go.
Tonight’s feast will be fabulous. One of the nurses is, herself, Chinese. So we’ll be eating the real thing. She was in charge of last year’s Chinese New Year dinner and it was spectacular. I lost count of all the dishes we had. None of us could move when we were done. But we had an amazing evening. I’ll be sure to let you know what we had, this time.
Until then, Gong Hey Fat Choy. Enjoy (xiang shou!)