When we were kids, we always looked forward to Chinese New Year with great excitement and anticipation. Somehow, the flurry of activities around us - my granny making cakes and cookies, stocking up sodas and candies, spring cleaning and hanging decorations around the house - never failed to put everyone in a joyous mood.
Maybe it had something to do with the kampung (village) spirit that was highly infectious, even the air felt different in the weeks leading to the Chinese New Year. It is hardly any surprise for it signifies the start of the Spring Festival where everything comes to life. It's a happy festival, a time for family reunion and celebrating with friends.
As we grew up and moved out, that convival spirit diminished as we became burdened with work and family life. My first Chinese New Year as a single parent was the hardest. For the first time in my life, the kids spent part of the holidays away from me. When they were away with their father, I felt lost and lonely. They were sad and miserable.
I stayed in my room when relatives came visiting to avoid answering questions or discussing about my life. For some reprieve from the crowd, I even went camping with CH at the rustic Pulau Ubin island which was strangely quiet the last 2 years we were there.
This year, I wonder if it is still necessary for me to go on that little retreat. I'm pretty sure nobody will ask so many questions anymore. Even if they do, it wouldn't bother me at all. Maybe I'll go hiking with CH instead. We need to burn off those extra calories anyway.