This is our first time to spend New Year's here in a long time, and I'm happy to say that the new year comes just the same while I'm sleeping here too.

EPIC PARTY

New Year is a big holiday here, which I find kind of ironic, since you know, Lunar New Year is the real thing. But years ago my teacher explained to me that it's because Lunar New Year is seen as a "family holiday" but the other New Year is seen as a "public holiday." So that's why schools make such a big deal of it. At any rate, both of the girls had very big parties. In fact, New Year's and Children's Day are the only parties schools do. I think if we lived in a more homogenous area, there would probably be other parties, but because almost everything else is religious in nature and there are very mixed religious backgrounds in schools here, I guess they just avoid it all.

The teacher wanted all the girls who were dressed "pretty" to take a picture.

In my attempt to shove myself into M's classroom in every possible way, I volunteered to help decorate the classroom, which also got me a top secret invitation to join the party the next day. (Pats self on back.) But wow that decorating was a lot more involved than I expected. We even broke a light in our zeal. But it was nice to be involved in the class in a way that didn't involve mopping floors or fussing at other parents to get their kids to finish their homework, which is what my previous attempts have gotten me. Anyway it was really fun! I got to hang out with my favorite mom friends (who are incidentally also in the category of shove-yourself-into-the-classroom) and it was so fun to get to be at the party! I also rescued the N in Happy New Year from being upside down. Apparently E's teacher didn't have a helpful parent like me to do that for her class.

Poor "N"

Also, M finished her final exams the day before the party! So wow did we really have something to celebrate! If I hadn't been so exhausted I would've been dancing around and singing all day long. EVERYONE IS SO RELIEVED TO BE DONE WITH SCHOOL! I told E's teacher that since I'm not having to get out and bring M to school, E's not coming either (I'm a great parent), so we are just at home until we leave for the States in a couple of days! After the parties, everyone was home by lunchtime and by some miracle of God, I convinced the kids to be silent for TWO AND A HALF HOURS (okay, they whispered a little) and I just worked on photo books on the computer and it was like our house was a haven of peace. After they clearly couldn't maintain the silence anymore, I let them watch the Nutcracker, which we had never gotten around to finishing before Christmas. It was an amazing day! And I was in bed by 10, where I happily rang in the new year by sleeping.