New Years day was the day "Small Door Gods" (小门神) came out, which is an animated film for kids so I decided to just go ahead and watch it while I floated around the SunMall next Shennong City. I was strangely unashamed about going to see a kids movie alone on the first day of 2016. They only had it in 3d, so it was pricier than usual but I enjoyed it more than I thought. They had English subtitles, which was great because I'd gone in assuming I'd just have to pick up all kinds of other cues to follow the story. It was also great that my high school Chinese class and an interest in mythology already made me familiar with a few things since this movie was about warding away the monster Nian and Chinese new year traditions. CaiShen got his appearance in, which made me laugh after seeing his face in a tea shop and a convenience store among other places.
A lot came to me with that thought, about how this family never seems completely out of touch with China and certain things I feel like I shouldn't understand this many generations down (though studies have shown that regardless of how many generations a family has been in America, family structure tend to remain the same as in the country of origin) still spark some kind of recognition. There's a mother-in-law looking after her grandson on the same floor as my office at school and she always picks up little Jerry's hand to wave and says "Ah yi hao" (Hello aunty) and it's funny for me to be called aunty and realize that I've also called people aunty that I had no blood relation to back home. At times I wonder if, even though I grew up in a house that only spoke English and (in my eyes) didn't really take part in many Chinese holidays or rituals, it's possible to still turn out psychologically Chinese in some way. It may just be that I grew up in an area with so many other Chinese-Americans too. I haven't told my students that "back home" has an 85C bakery just like here and that people sometimes dressed as Sun WuKong or got together in a Chinese dragon costume for Halloween. Or maybe it's that towards the end of my time in college I was getting better at embracing where and when I was and started taking advantage of the fact that I was in Europe at a time when Europe was asking itself what a Europe with all these immigrant communities was going to be like and visited Chinese communities in Milan, London, and Madrid. In a way, regardless of what my family did or did not do at home, China seems to have echoed itself to me over and over again in its overseas communities. When people ask about my experiences here, I've kind of struggled with what it's like to finally set foot in a place you've heard and read so much about, that's been so weirdly out of reach and familiar all at once. I guess I should give the whole why I came to China it's own post in the future because I feel like I've gone on long enough, though most of it boils down to things that seemed to all line up together and were right for me at the end of my time in college.
But I've got a whole new year for blogging about these things. For now, happy first of two new years from China!