"Gong Hei Fatt Choy!"
While people are off tossing Yee Sang, snacking on pineapple tarts, downing some Shandy, and collecting red packets, I am sitting in my room, alone, waiting for the next class - bitter at the fact that it is not a national holiday here.
I never adored Chinese New Year, though, to be quite honest. Driving 2 hours back to home town to prepare for the loud banging drums and festivities early in the morning, greeting distant relatives I have never met before, enduring the scorching heat of February, and... don't get me started with the tacky music.
Yet I found myself smiling at the sights and sounds of banging drums and clashing cymbals (and of course, Chinese New Year music), colorful and bright parade dancers, and being surrounded by Chinese-ness - whatever that implies - when I visited Manchester.
I guess, distant does make the heart grow fonder, doesn't it? As I am physically removed from traditions I have been so accustomed to, I start to wander back in search of familiarity, warmth, and comfort.
The further away I am from home, the closer I am to it.
Nevertheless, I find creative ways to be closer to home when I'm abroad.
Meeting fellow Malaysians so I can converse in my Malaysian accent while we munch on pineapple tarts (if you can't tell, I really love pineapple tarts), traveling all the way to Manchester just to eat Korean food, or just simply telling the people around me about the beautiful culture and place I come from.
Having said that, I am immensely grateful to God for all the blessings He has given me.
It is only in my wildest dreams that I thought it possible to be able to study abroad in both the US and UK. The Lord has been too kind to an undeserving me.
But even as I am so caught up in the many joys and wonders of being in York, I must constantly remind myself that God can only use me if I am Faithful, Available, and Teachable (FAT!).
I guess, I'll make the most out of it so I can return home fuller and richer than I ever was - FAT (in both sense of the word).