(The entrance to Lam Tsuen)
So this past week I jumped over from my aunts place to another cousins house for Chinese New Years. Her dad was kind enough to drive us to “Lam Tsuen” which is located in Tai Po in New Territories. Lam Tsuen is most known for their “wishing Tree” and similar to the flower markets I visited earlier, Lam Tsuen had there own special festival for New Years and a lot of people from both Hong Kong and Mainland China were there to celebrate. My cousin told me that the new wishing tree was made of plastic along with the oranges that you throw on to the tree with your wish, and the reason why it is now plastic is because the real tree couldn’t sustain the weight of of the oranges and snapped in half. I chose not to make a wish because there were a lot of people and it was getting crowded by the minute.
As this was also a festival, there were “festival” food also. This stand was selling fried quail eggs and it tasted like normal fried eggs but on a stick. We walked a round a bit more and found this pagoda housing really pretty lanterns and the 12 zodiac animals. My aunt told me that the chicken is extremely lucky this year so let’s hope that is the case.
There were also stands selling lucky/peace charms. My aunt bought one for each of us and it’s supposed to keep us safe from danger.
On our way out, the festival also had some of the New Years Parade floats on display. It was cool to see the floats in person as I watched the parade on TV instead of in person at Tsim Tsa Tsui!
As I spent half of my week with cousins around my age, it meant I spoke Cantonese the majority of the time. Even though HKBU is a Hong Kong university, the majority of the classes are taught in English and are not reserved just for exchange students (which I found out through my cousin is 100% normal). So I haven’t had many situations to interact with others (other than ordering food etc.) in full on Cantonese conversations. Being with them allowed me to have these conversations and made me realize that I have a hard time expressing myself. My cousins would be talking about a subject, but I would process everything they say at a slower speed, and I would also respond slower or not even at all because the topic would have switched by then. This made me realize that this might be how a non-native English speaker must feel like when they’re having conversations with fluent speakers. On another note, after coming back to the dorms after not speaking English for a week, it feels weird to speak English. Some times I would forget that my room mate doesn’t understand Cantonese and say phrases in Cantonese to her (and she gives me a really confused look). I definitely need to find a balance between the two languages within myself.