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The monkey year started off mischievously for me. Our celebration was very different and full of surprises. For the first time, we hosted a garden party where 7 families blended, plus a Portuguese guy who happens to be my fiancé.

Life that week in Labis vibrated in bustling kitchens, roared merrily at dining tables with endless food spreads 24/7, remedied by sleepy breaks in between where prosperous bodies heavy with food; sprawled on couches. To me, Lunar New Year is ‘The Feasting Season’. It’s funny how one can actually get busy just by eating and lazing many rounds a day.

Aside from all that festive cliché, the unique union that was with É brought to my attention the subject of harmonizing different cultures. It is not so much about blending two different cultures. It is about fitting in. The entire experience itself, when I was in Portugal last Christmas, can be summed up in one word: Overwhelming. Naively insensitive, I forgot that it could also be É’s experience too.

Back in KL, reminiscing both occasions, I was reminded of the inevitable feeling of being lost in a sea of weird language with no translation. My family? You can imagine what a typical Hokkien family from a small town talks and laughs about. É’s family, on the other hand, discusses about art and science over meals, where I digest food for the mind as I feed my stomach.

If the Chinese are loud, Hokkiens are louder. I have an uncle who doesn’t speak english but tried so hard he ended up sounding like he was talking at a stressed out É. It didn’t seem like that at the moment because I understood what he was saying, but to imagine his struggle reminded me of my own while abroad.

The hardest part is being miles away from home. When it is just the two of you, miles seem to diminish a little. When you live with another person’s family, suddenly the miles amplify. Falling ill during winter was the first time I understood why ‘homesick’ has a sick word behind it.

Nevertheless, this Chinese New Year has brought many people together. Every year, closer. It is the time of the year where families are celebrated; moments cherished, new memories created. Respects given, love received; forgiveness learned, imperfections accepted. A year older, a tad wiser. This is our new chance to be a better person than the previous year.

Here are my favorite moments from this vibrant, monkey year:

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{A colorful yee sang É helped mum sliced ‘N’ diced}

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{Same-same but different}

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 {This grand spread at home}

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{This sexy red dress from Zalora’s Lunar New Year Collection}

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{Because MONEY lah!}

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{A lil’ less conventional family shot this year}

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{This gorgeous dress from Zalora that is on a great SALE right now!}

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{Me and my brother at the railway station, where childhood memories live}

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{My two favorite smileys in crisp, handsome shirts}

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{Mum’s love, hard work, and effort}

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{A crazy-looking me, while prepping for the garden party}

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{É helping out with every tricky wishing lantern situation}

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{Obligatory family photo from the Tey family wishing everyone an abundance of health, wealth, luck and love}

 

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