Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year, Y'all.

Today dawned cloudy and threatening rain. So we did what any family with three young children does in such circumstances: planned a big outing on the train into the city! This weekend is the start of Sydney's Chinese New Year festival. Back when Jason and I listed the ten things we'd like to do in the next ten years, we talked about making more efforts to do fun things with the kids, to build memories with them while they're young. And even though the weather wasn't looking so good, I'd heard that there were Chinese markets in a city park today, lots of yummy Chinese food, and entertainment. So, we loaded up the kids and headed for the train station.

A train ride was the selling point of the whole endeavor. It's about a 40 minute ride from our local station to Central, and for about half of that time, riding on a train is the most funnest thing ever conceived of in the mind of man.

Then it becomes wretched drudgery that we are cruelly inflicting on our children. How many more stops left? Are we there yet? Why did you make us take the train and not our car?

But after a slightly longer trip than we'd expected--having to change trains--we made it! Ava and Nate loved the red lanterns in the trees,

the dancing,

and this freaky clown game that I will see in my nightmares tonight.
I know. Terrifying, right? Oh, and get this!

Rats. Sheesh. Everywhere I go. So apparently, Chinese culture is getting in on the act now and tormenting me, too. Do you know what it feels like to be mocked by, like, a billion people? Thanks, China!

So, how did it all pan out? Overall, I'm glad we went. The kids had fun. But Jason and I were pretty underwhelmed by the whole affair. I was expecting a lot more activity, market stalls--just more hoopla than there was. The city has about 3 weeks of events planned for Chinese New Year, so I know today isn't the whole deal, but we expected something more. How do you say "Meh" in Chinese?

Grace was pretty much over it from the start.

So, let's see...what else happened? There was a group of people protesting against the Church of Scientology outside the train station, and I got to explain to Ava what a protest is and what Scientology is. That took some skillz. There was a nice-enough young guy next to me on the train who kept trying to get Grace to grab his finger and then wanted to hold her. (I pretended not to notice when he put out his hands. Look, I know I have an adorable baby who smiles at everyone, and I know she is like a ray of golden sunshine into the lives of others. But a mom's gotta draw the line somewhere, and a stranger holding her on a train seems like a good place to me.) Oh, and also the diaper bag tumbled off the stroller into a busy intersection and I said a swear word. I don't think the kids heard though--their sugar high was causing the blood to rush through their ears. Phew.

And that was our big day out. Highs, lows, trains, noodles, fun, me cussing, mud, chasing pigeons

and so, so, SO much more.

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the tiger.

Ni hao and stuff!


  1. What a fun day! I can imagine that it was just about the right amount of excitement for Ava and Nate. Grace looks so comfy taking a snooze. I wonder if you bought any of those cute rats? Umm, I thought not. All in all a nice memory-making day and a great post. Ni hao to you!

  2. I did a quick Google check for the Chinese zodiac. I thought we might have just experienced the year of the rat, but, alas, it was the ox. So, there's apparently no cosmic explanation for your's all just about you.

  3. Big fun! With Jude, all he'd need is the train. In fact, sometimes, we'll just get on the subway here (yes, I know, a subway in LA is a wee big daunting) and just ride it back and forth. Good for you for venturing into new territory with the kids in tow!

  4. I always love reading your posts. Your honesty is so refreshing...I'm just laughing over that diaper bag in the intersection. I can so understand why that would cause you to cuss!

  5. Now, you guys need to be congratulated for taking all the three kids out in that rain we had yesterday!
    Good on you guys for getting about this wonderful we need to give you some tips on holidays spots where you can relax some:)

  6. Cool! I want more Sydney posts.

    Those decoupaged rats were actually sort of cute. I think that you should get one and put it on the coffee table. It would show your sense of humor about this rat business, RIGHT?

  7. ok, let me correct myself now - I "applaud you" not "congratulate you":)
    and it's meant to say "holiday spots" not "holidays spots":)

  8. I can relate to the highs and lows of fun ideas like train rides. They're all gung ho at first & then not so much. Then I'm left trying not to grumble at them for not having fun like they're supposed to. ha!

    Great pictures. I think that was a Chinese rat voodoo doll. MmmHmmm.

    Guy on the train--not cool, guy. not cool.