How is the Year of the Goat treating everyone? Or, as some of the cool kids in Hong Kong say, the Year of the Greatest of All Time? This year I was lucky enough to experience a little bit of the Chinese New Year in both Hong Kong and Taiwan! I even managed to collect a few red envelopes. But I have learned from my colleagues that, if I get married, I would be expected to hand out red envelopes to my younger or unmarried relatives and co-workers. I think that I’ll go ahead and put off marriage while I am still in Hong Kong!
I ended up spending more of the Chinese New Year holiday in Taiwan than I did in Hong Kong. So I won’t be able to compare and contrast! But throughout the end of January and the month of February, major areas throughout the city were speckled with goats!
Every now and then I will walk home from the office. To do so I walk by the harbor so as to get away from the noise pollution and whizzing taxis on the main road. Also, the harbor offers the best views of Hong Kong! And with the new year, most of the largest skyscrapers were decked out with goat-themed or new year’s-themed lights. And, of course, major malls are going to have a field day with decorations for the new year! I was only passing through one of the designer-brand oriented malls when I caught sight of the above scene of super king goat surrounded by a rainbow assortment of fellow goats!
This next mall decided to play up on the coming of spring as well as the coming of the Year of the Goat. It’s only natural to cover the – sheep – with beautiful pink cherry blossoms instead of fluffy wool since the theme is spring and PINK! Speaking of these sheep…I grew up thinking sheep and goats are more or less interchangeable. So just in case you had the same confusion growing up, sheep and goats are not the same! They diverge when it gets to genus! But remember that English and Chinese words don’t necessarily translate perfectly. So it is perfectly acceptable for the Year of the Goat to be the Year of the Sheep and the Year of the Sheep to be the Year of the Ram. Because in the end it is the year of this: 羊!
I wonder if the malls compete with each other to see who can have the most elaborate display. Or the most original. The most creative. The most charming, etc. etc. The spring-themed mall really went all out decorating even more sheep with unique, hand-knit and crocheted sweaters!
And Hong Kong’s parks aren’t missing out on all the celebration either! I would have loved to go to Victoria Park, Hong Kong Island’s largest park, but I was not able to brave the crowds this year!
But for the most part, I spent Chinese New Year in Taiwan. I decided to have a new adventure. I befriended someone through Couch Surfing who welcomed me to spend Chinese New Year with her family in her hometown. So upon arrival in Taipei, I headed for the bus station and a trip to Miaoli county, an area surrounded by mountains and full of promise for a more authentic CNY celebration compared to the city of Taipei!
The first night I learned a little bit of Chinese chess and Mahjong, but I’ll need more practice if I ever expect to win in the future! The next day involved a trip to the mountains and festivities. In the mountain town, a group of elementary and junior high school students put on several performances while we were there. They were excellent drummers and dancers! They didn’t perform the lion dance on the stage, but they went around to each of the shops to bring them fortune and luck during the new year.
But my favorite part of the festivities was when the gods came out to dance! Aren’t they cute?!
I couldn’t resist getting a picture with the joyful dancing gods! (At one point it was raining – hence the poncho!) Enjoy the Year of the Goat! Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Lunar New Year!
Have you heard of this thing called a Wine and Paint? You might have to look around, but by now, you might have one in your town. I’ve been passing by Canvas and Cabernet in downtown Walnut Creek for years. Always wanted the courage to try it out, but remembering how well my painting classes DID NOT go in junior college…I’m a digital artist by day, so painting in the permanent was very challenging for me. I just wasn’t cut out for it.
But after passing the studio one too many times, my girl friend and I decided we would go for it! I picked the first painting because I love Halloween and Jack Skellington, so it seemed like a safe venture.
We were such scared little newbie painters! It took a lot of (liquid) courage to get us to loosen up. But the instructors are AMAZING. Fun, silly, and super helpful. They break down even the scariest painting steps into manageable parts and the results are always so gratifying! We sipped on a great selection of wine, listened to some killer music and painted away! By the end, we were completely hooked! It was such a relaxing creative outlet. We decided to make it a regular thing, so each month since, we’ve alternative who picks and pays for that months painting.
Got brave, and maybe a little too cocky, and tried this one of the SF skyline. Neither of us were too happy with how they turned out, but we would not be discouraged! We learned a lot about how we paint best in that session.
We were feeling the holiday spirit and decided that a happy Santa would be fun! Its hard to see in this blurry picture, but there is what the instructors call “painterly” things happening in that one. Loved how it turned out and one of my favorites.
Next month was time for some landscape work. We both were pretty confident during this one, doing our own techniques to get the style we wanted it.
And we’re ready for another one! Tonight is our 5th time and we’ll be doing this pretty seascape. Hope it turns out good! Wish us luck!
Check out Canvas and Cabernet if you’re in the Walnut Creek Ca area. Or look for a local wine and paint near you! I highly recommend it!
A classic plaid shirt with leather and grey skinny jeans is the perfect edgy outfit for a zoo day trip. Don’t you think?
Loving how cute Nicky Hilton looks in this red plaid shirt and her little koala friend! Want a similar look? Try our Classic Tartan Shirt paired with Etienne Marcel Grey Skinnies and a leather jacket. Easy peezy!