“Xīnnián kuàilè” (新年快乐) (Happy New Year!)




Feb 6, 2022

This past week, I had no school from Monday to Wednesday since it was Chinese New Year (CNY)! CNY is a public holiday in Singapore; therefore, many businesses and all schools were closed for the celebration. As a non-Chinese person, I had a great learning experience about the importance and appreciation of Chinese culture. It is the Year of the Tiger; all of the streets and signs were decorated and adorned with tigers. On Tuesday, we went to Chinatown and had an authentic experience of CNY. We visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the iconic Chinese temple, and it was adorned with cartoon-like tiger statues and was lit up to celebrate the two days. We later walked around Chinatown and visited the small shops. I purchased an amazing embroidered scenery, depicting the water and trees in China. We also were given red envelopes, called hóngbāo, and had dumplings.

Besides celebrating Lunar New Year, I completed a few errands on my to-do list. On Monday, I visited a barber shop in Little India to get a beard trim. My barber, Hassan, is from Egypt and was formerly hired as the private barber for the royal family of Bahrain. I really received the royal treatment! Talking to him, I was reassured of how Singapore is diverse and filled of people from all over the world. On Thursday, I called my campus pastor to update her on my life and Singapore and how our church community is going. It was great finding time to talk to her because she is one of my mentors in my faith journey. On Friday, I received my booster dose! I was really nervous because I was not sure if it was possible to have my shot as an International student. However, having my student’s pass made the process easy and accessible to receive it. I went to a community center where there were a lot of people as Singapore will be requiring it soon. I received my documentation so I could then notify my American doctors and Vassar about it. The bad news was that I was sick from receiving the booster vaccine. However, my friends and suitemates provided me with food and had a game night with my friends at our common lounge. I feel better now and am looking forward to this coming week!

Photo 1: My friend and I walking in Chinatown

Photo 2: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple