Being married, means I am a part of my hubby's family and in Chinese traditions, I will need to celebrate most of the important festivals with my 'new' family (in-laws).
That doesn't mean that I am no longer part of my own family, but it just a form of assimilation into the families.
Reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve and the First Day of the New Spring is the most important and therefore, daughter-in-laws are always expected to spend them at their husband's home, and with her in-laws instead of her own family after marriage, as according to the Chinese customs.
I was looking forward to celebrating my first Chinese New Year with my new family, although I was nervous and also homesick at the same time.
Nervous as I was not sure of my roles and responsibilities around the house; whether I would mess up during the preparation and helping around the kitchen as I am never one with household chores. I remembered my mum telling me that it is not the same when I am married, and that although I do not have to do much (or anything at all) at home, it does not mean I need not do anything as well in others' places (meaning, my in-laws' place).
Therefore, I was hoping to help out and tried to assist my mother-in-law as she was busy preparing for the reunion dinner.
I am not sure whether it was the small crowd we have this year for reunion, or was it my mother-in-law was just overly efficient, but all the same, I must say she is one awesome mother-in-law who was pretty much just like my own mum as she didn't let me help out. She told me that she had already done all the preparations days ahead and that there was really nothing much to do around the house.
I felt really blessed that my mother-in-law was so open-minded and carefree, in fact, she is always so kind to me and treated me like her own daughter. It made living with her stress-free and like I said, it is almost like living at home!
Feeling homesick is natural as I have celebrated every single festive season and Chinese New Year with my family at home ever since the day I was born! I know that my in-laws are great and even my hubby is a lovely addition to my life, but that still does not erase the homey feelings in me as I just feel so attached to my family.
I came from a very small and close knit family, where we can talk to anyone at anytime, not to mention sharing.
I felt odd that for the very first time this year, I am not making plans to travel back home for reunion dinner with my family, going to Chinese New Year mass on the first day of CNY, and just watching movies shown on the television with my brother and laughing it all out.
It does not mean I am not enjoying the same thing with my hubby and in-laws, but the feelings are slightly different, I am sure you know what I meant.
I missed the atmosphere at home, and also the goofing around antics of my brother.
I did not let these feelings get too much in the way, as the way I see it, it is just a transitional phase and everyone moves into different phase at different points of their life.
I was watching the television with my hubby on the couch on the eve of the Lunar New Year, or was it two days before, and there was this Astro Dragon CNY music video showing, where the songs were shot in all the states of Malaysia and the singers were just singing all the previous CNY songs from the past years.
I am particularly fond of their first song; 'Da Tuan Yuan' or literally translated to 'Reunion' and I remembered how I used to feel so touched by the lyrics ever since the first time I heard it when they first promoted it a few years ago (during its launch).
Somehow, I always felt emotional whenever I hear the song as I am reminded of the warmth and togetherness of my own family.
When I watched the music video, I find myself getting emotional and homesick all of a sudden as I just missed the feeling of reunion at home.
I know it's a little childish, but this is just normal for anyone who is just celebrating such a merry festive season away from home and family for the very first time.
It was just a timely emotion, and looking at it positively, I would hope to bring the same warmth and culture into my new family!;)
It is something new, but it is something exciting and worth looking forward to.
Learning about the new traditions and cultures practised by my in-laws was a little interesting too, as I noticed how carefree and laid back my in-laws are about the whole festive season, and their style of celebration is rather modest.
New traditions include visiting the temple early on the morning of the first day of the Lunar New Year, and visiting elder relatives at their homes later in the morning.
Then there are gifts from friends and relatives which started making their way to our home as early as a week away, and then there are those friends and relatives visiting throughout the whole festive season (which lasts for 15 days), and these visitors again come bearing gifts.
There is no need to buy much CNY goodies, except for those to be placed in the trays to be served to the visiting guests.
It is a new experience for me; and one filled with goodies as well although there is still an element of homesick but it is not too bad. After all, I do get to go home on the 2nd day of Chinese New year; another part of the Chinese tradition for married daughters:)
It is indeed, a brand NEW year for me and my family too!~
HAPPY CHINESE NEW DRAGON YEAR 2012 to everyone!~