Up until about a year and a half ago, we never really celebrated Chinese New Year. Honestly, I didn’t really even know when it was or why it was different than when the rest of the world celebrated a new year. That was until I met our Chinese student that we have had the privilege of welcoming through a local program and partnership called Friendship Families. I’ve shared before how we have had the best time getting to know her and are so honored to get to be her “friendship family”. We’ve learned about a culture that is not our own. We’ve gotten to eat foods and I’ve learned to make foods that are a little different than what we were used to. Who gets to have dumplings at their Thanksgiving dinner?!? They were amazing by the way!! We’ve gotten to enjoy sweet surprises and gifts from her home and family. We’ve been way more blessed than I feel like we’ve blessed her. Isn’t that how God works!?
Our eyes and our hearts have been opened to love not only her, but her culture and her home. But it’s taken intentionality on our part. I’ll be honest, Chinese New Year was just another day on the calendar, but not anymore for our family. As we are gearing up to celebrate Chinese New Year with her in just a few short days (January 25th), we still have lots to learn about this day and this beautiful country and culture, and we are learning and loving in several ways:
1. By reading books together. We have loved the ones that we got from our local library! Books like Runaway Wok have made us giggle and also pause to see how they decorate, give gifts, dress, and so much more. A New Years Reunion has opened our eyes to what life is like for a working family in that country and how they celebrate the holiday. For a list of other great books to read together and learn about Chinese New Year, be sure to check out our Pinterest page.
2. By seeking out resources and ideas online. Sunny over at Spot of Sunshine has done an amazing job of sharing resources like books, crafts and activities, traditions, and recipes from a personal perspective. Also Kayla over at Baby Devotions has been sharing great ideas each Wednesday with #worldlovewednesday as the holiday draws near. If you’re not following those two ladies, you are missing out! Instagram and Pinterest are filled with so many fun filled ideas to do with our little ones to teach them about a different and new culture!
3. By Spending time with our student! There is no better teacher than a Chinese friend! Ask questions, listen, watch, invite them into your home, learn from them! If you don’t have a student you can learn from, there are other ways to learn! Stop by and order food from your local Chinese restaurant, chat with the waitresses, get to know them and become their friend. We have the world right here in our backyard and we have so much to learn not just about the Chinese culture but also about countries and cultures and peoples from all around the world. You’ll be better for it, I promise!
The more we expose our little ones to other cultures and countries and people, the more it becomes natural to them and to us to want to love and pray for those cultures and peoples. And it’s oh so fun to celebrate! Really, who doesn’t love getting some fresh dollar bills in a beautiful red envelope and enjoying yummy Chinese food!
What are ways that you and your little ones have been learning about a new culture or new country? Share your ideas so we can learn from one another!
Happy New Year to our sweet friends!