When I was at Grinnell, I took a class in Chinese calligraphy. I don't speak Chinese, I just studied it as an art. I found it very meditative and beautiful, and I was hoping to eventually study the language as well.
Brian speaks a fair bit of Chinese, so there are dictionaries and such on the bookshelf in our den, but my Chinese calligraphy materials -- ink, practice paper, instruction sheets, and a basic brush that I was accustomed to -- were among the various items that got abandoned or thrown away when I moved back to MI from Ohio -- the rental agency did not have the size truck we'd reserved, and my stuff did not fit in the smaller one they rented to Brian instead. After filling the two cars we had heading to MI, and leaving more with OH friends to store, I left many things on the front and back porch to give away, and submitted other things to the dumpster in the alley next door.
The calligraphy materials are what I have most grieved over that I left behind.
This year I decided to use some Amazon gift cards I've received to re-stock my materials. I just ordered some basic ink and practice sheets, and a child's intro to Chinese calligraphy that I can also use to teach Rosie in a few years, and also to refresh my own memory on technique as well as to start associating characters with words. Then I splurged on some horse hair brushes. I hope they will be as nice as they sound.
The Chinese New Year begins on Sunday, February 10th this year. I am hoping to throw a party for Chinese New Year's eve. The first time I celebrated the Chinese New Year was in second grade, when we made a multi-person dragon costume in class. I also celebrated it throughout high school with the family of my high school boyfriend Peter, whose father was Chinese and also an accomplished chef. I don't know if I will try to make dumplings and rice dumplings this year, but someday I'd like to. It was so challenging, to get a little bowl with some boiling water and a sweet rice dumpling in it, and then try to wait until the dumpling cooled before taking a bite!
If it all works as planned, party or no party, I want to follow the tradition of cleaning the house thoroughly and cooking lots of food beforehand and then resting on New Year's day. And I hope to festoon the house with red decorations painted with characters welcoming spring and good fortune into our house, which I will paint myself with my new brushes and ink.
I am not big on a lot of material goods, but I am really looking forward to having these ones.