正月十二: day twelve of my ‘hóngbāo’ adventure

I can’t believe there are only three days to go until the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations! I have become quite attached to this mini-project of mine as it has genuinely been a little social adventure.

The twelfth day of the Chinese lunar calendar isn’t all that exciting..

So, from this day on, people start to take a light diet that is intended to give their bodies a detox before the celebrations on the fifteenth day. As the Lantern festival is only three days away, it is time to start preparing  and work should start on this day. Families will buy some lanterns and build the lantern shack.

“In some places in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei Province, the traditional custom is to make a fire with cypress branches. Then, people will sit around the fire to warm themselves. It is believed that cypress fire can drive out evil spirits and pestilence. Apart from cypress branch, people also burn the old furniture they no longer use. Some people even carve the burned cypress branch into the shape of a lock. Parents make a necklace with the lock carving and give it to babies to bless the babies. Children will not get any disease after they warm themselves by the fire. And old people can make a wish before the fire, wishing the heavenly god can give them a grandson.”

Source: chinatravel.com

Tonight Jack and I met for our once-in-a-while catch up. We went to a Korean restaurant in Nottingham called Sarangchae ‘사랑해’. I met Jack in Ningbo this time last year as he was a flatmate to the two Korean guys, Sooguen and Jisoo. He studies Politics at the University of Nottingham and is in his final year. We didn’t get to know each other very much during our time in China but since then have managed to go for a meal every now and again which has been lovely! Once we’d eaten, I gave him the red envelope and explained what I had been doing and how he now plays a role in it. He was a bit stumped on what advice to give so I gave him a little time to think.

Jack: excited about his envelope!

After chatting for a while he came up with his advice:

It’s totally okay to end up in awkward situations

Jack came upon a cartoonist who writes about her life and situations we find ourselves in and how she has dealt with it. She’s called Lucy Knisley and once he read a comic that explained that in situations that we find uncomfortable (or ‘awkward’) it’s not our own fault that we do, this advice stuck. It is a more common challenge for introverts but extroverts can experience this too. The message that the cartoonist conveyed was: “It’s not you that’s awkward; it’s the situation.” and she explains it perfectly in this cartoon: Lucy’s comic . We all have experienced being stuck in an uncomfortable situation, the most obvious being when we meet new people or are in a new environment. We panic too much about how we should be rather than being who we are and letting ourselves roll with it. This is really good advice (although it is one that is so much easier said than done) and I’m going to hope I can deal with awkward moments better in the future. This doesn’t mean that we suddenly have to change how it affects us and then how we react, but rather, instead of thinking “shizzle this is awkward…”, we think, “oh well, sometimes this happens”. This takes time and practice and does depend on feeling self-confident enough to not fall into – as my brother would say – a “five stage panic” and to understand that forget about enjoying yourself.

I found this post quite tricky to write about as there can be so much to say about this yet I don’t want to end up babbling to you all and finding myself in a profound lengthy post as deep as Dawn French falls into in that fantastic Vicar of Dibley episode. However I hope it’s a piece of advice that sticks with you all too. I get quite anxious about meeting new people and have to constantly remind myself that everyone is in the same boat and there are no expectations of me. Everyone just wants to be who they are… so be it. The awkward and not quite right will come and go, but we might as well enjoy it as much as we can.

Hope this has been a good one! & that I’ve done Jack proud….

Lots of love,

Xo.

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Georgie

British. Foodie. Traveller. Cat-lover. being a twentysomething and trying to have an adventure at the same time, speak chinese, spanish, korean and english, hence: this is the life of a language student, now transformed into georgettaloretta.com ! xo.

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