cny in sydney

This is the first time in my 4.5 years away from home that I am spending Chinese New Year in Sydney without my family. 独在异乡为异客, 每逢佳节倍思亲 (simple translation: I'm alone, a stranger in a foreign land, and I miss my family more on festive occasions.) aptly describes how I feel when I read/hear about all the merry making and family/friends get-togethers, especially on 除夕夜 (CNY Eve) when all families sit down for the symbolic 团圆饭 (reunion dinner).

A group of "orphans" like me who cannot bear the thought of dining alone on CNY Eve gathered to have a pseudo reunion dinner of hotpot (we call it steamboat in SG).

We even splurged on an abalone to simulate what we usually see in reunion dinner spreads back home.

Some other hotpot favourites that we cannot do without: sliced beef and chicken, fish tofu, assorted balls, fishcakes wrapped in dried tofu skin, enoki mushrooms and quails' eggs (my #1 fav!).

The orphans settling down for the spread.

Everyone present had their +1 (a spouse and 3 accompanying pets) except me. I had planned to bring along my monkeys - 小毛 and 小黑 - to join the zoo gathering but forgot due to the rush in getting to the dinner venue after flying back from a work trip to Wagga Wagga. So I was the loneliest of them all. :(

Pockey, Summer and Barley held by the 1x spouse in the last pic.

We spent the after dinner hours chasing after the over hyper pets which greatly helped with the digestion in our overstuffed stomachs.

There was a mini highlight on CNY Day 1 in the office in the form of 年糕 (a sweet and sticky glutinous rice cake) - a dessert popularly consumed during this festive period that symbolises 年年高升 (raising oneself higher - mostly referring to one's career - with each year).

The girls preparing the sweet sticky rice cakes in the kitchen.

We had it coated with a mixture of flour and eggs and panfried until it turned crispy on the outside. I remember my Grandma used to add slices of sweet potato or yam with the rice cake pieces before coating with the flour-egg mixture which was doubly yums.

I kept to my family tradition of wearing red on CNY Day 1 and so did several others at work. I am embarrassed to say I did not buy any brand new red clothing this year and had to recycle my outfit from last year's. Another :(

Here we gathered all the ang kong kongs (a Hokkien phrase meaning extremely red) for a photo session where after a few NGs, we finally got a decent shot of all the pretty people.

We then got back to our respective stations at work and spent the day trying very hard to concentrate but still frequently got distracted by thoughts of our loved ones back home.

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