Saturday, February 06, 2010

When Monkey Boy Grows Up...

When I visit T and T's stand this morning, Monkey Boy is jumping out of his skin. "Maggie, come!" he says, and beckons me back inside the house.

Thanh laughs. "When Monkey Boy grows up, he wants to be the Lion for Tet," she tells me as MB lifts up the heavy costume and puts it over his head. Her mother is sitting on a stool towards the back with a drum. When she begins to beat it, Monkey Boy starts writhing to the beat, making the heavy head go up and down, up and down as their father and the gathering crowd laugh at this tiny little boy controlling this great big huge head.

Monkey Boy always has a lot of energy; however, today he has twice his usual - in contrast to T and T, who are exhausted from selling almost all of their Tet candy stock.

I love this time of year; there's an energy here. People are cleaning, clearing things out, painting and placing flowers outside their homes. Gigantic pink and yellow lanterns line the major streets, along with tigers, to welcome this Chinese Lunar New Year - the Year of the Tiger. The flower markets are open and you see people on motorbikes carrying huge wrapped gift packages filled with liquors, cookies, crackers and other treats.

Today is the day that the Kitchen God is dispatched to heaven to make his report on the moral conduct of the family. I wrote about it last year here:

And since Seattle firefighter Sue is on her way to travel to Indonesia with me for our eleven-day Tet holiday starting on Wednesday, I will direct you back to last year, again, to my very special Tet day experience with Thuy and Thanh:

I am kind of sad to miss this time here, but how can one really be sad when on her way to spend five days in east Java and five days in Bali? I know, it's not right.

Hopefully I will be posting from there. So, for now, happy Year of the Tiger, everyone!


Angie said...

Have a great time in Indonesia, Marj. I'm glad you got to catch some of the excitement of Tet in your neighborhood this year!

Anonymous said...

Of course you are on your way! I am back in Skypin action-FINALLY! SPENT THE day with my Indonesian Exchange student-now I can talk more about TET WITH HIM SINCE YOU KEEP ME/ALL OF US in the know! xoxo Jaci