Chinese New Year is the one occasion I look forward to every year with eagerness and anticipation.

When I was young, the greatest thing I loved about new year was the chance to dress up and wear nice clothes. Months before new year I would already be asking mum to get me pretty dresses, and I could hardly wait for the first day of new year to arrive.

Of course, I loved ang pows too—especially when I got more money than my brother. = D I enjoyed emptying all the red packets and counting the brand new ringgit notes after all the visiting was done.

Next would be the glorious food and the festive atmosphere. I loved having lots of people in our house (I still do). The way my uncles and aunts praised my mum’s cooking simply made the food all the more delicious. But after everything, when the cookie jars start emptying and relatives start leaving for home, that’s when I start feeling the blues and dread going back to school. Sigh.

Then there are also other things like playing fireworks, tearing open hampers, challenging jiu jiu to the tetrix game on the computer, playing boggle, and listening to jiu ma’s stories.

As I grow older, things like new clothes and ang pows bear no significance any more. But Chinese New Year hasn’t lost it’s charm, because it never fails to remind me of how blessed I am to have family.

I felt this CNY was very meaningful because we actually had a family devotion together—the last time the maternal side of my family gathered together and pray was like…7 years ago. Jiu jiu shared a short message from Rom 12:12…Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Perhaps it was just another encouraging verse, but it was special because we have never done something like this as a family.

I am indeed proud of my family. I look at mum, Jiu Jiu and Ee, I see how they honour their parents, how they take care of gong gong and poh poh’s material and emotional needs, and I feel warmth in my heart. I see how they help each other solve problems—marital problems, arguments and gong gong’s despair for life—without giving up or losing hope. I see how their unwavering faith has brought encouragement to everyone. I totally respect them for that! I know I want to be that kind of daughter to my parents in the future.

I have learnt that there will always be some heartaches in families, but when we stick together as one, we will pull through. As Lilo said, Ohana is family, and family means no one gets left behind.