It is rather challenging to buy fresh food from the local supermarkets during Chinese New Year Eve. Hence, I prefer to do my grocery shopping two days before. The challenge to me this year was that work has been hectic. We are ‘encouraged’ to put in extra hours at work. It is hard to explain to my non-Chinese colleagues – which is the majority with I being the only Chinese – the gravity of the situation. Without fresh food, there is no reunion dinner. How shall I delicately explain the importance of family members getting together for a reunion dinner? That I am the eldest and hence, dinner would take place at my home? That I prefer cooking to dinning out? On Thursday, I simplified the entire tradition for my non-Chinese colleagues with six words: I need to buy chicken tonight. Most of them got it, though some might have thought that I was joking.
Chinese New Year Eve was on Saturday. But my sister and I have decided to celebrate it on Friday so that she could celebrate the actual day with her in-laws. Fine by me. Except, I have to yet again explain to my non-Chinese colleagues that burning midnight oil on Friday was not an option. Because: I need to cook chicken tonight.
After our reunion dinner, my niece Bethany all of a sudden took my phone and wanted to take some self-portraits. I tried to explain that this is a Sony phone. There is no front camera. She sort of understood and asked me to take pictures of her instead. So I did. Picture frame and special effect are added to the picture thanks to Cynthia’s Samsung Note II LTE and her beloved apps Paper Artist and Cool Frames. Cynthia still loves her phone dearly, after months of having it.
It was less than a month ago when I hang out with my niece Bethany, when she asked me not to eat her family. Kids are the most wondrous beings on Earth. She likes to play with my Indonesian drum (which she dropped, and cried, and did not play that evening). And she likes to play with my guitar. The first time she played with my guitar, she yanked the strings really hard. I was more worried about Bethany being hit by the snapping of a string more than the hassle of replacing a broken one. A month ago, she would strum it softly knowing that I disapprove such harsh treatment of my beloved guitar. Last Friday, she would pluck the string with the right force, which is pretty amazing because she picked it up on her own.
Besides guitar playing, she has made slight progress on my F1 2012 video game on PS3. Mind you, Bethany is only 3-year-old. Her hands are way too small to handle a controller. Compare to a month ago, now she seems to understand how the accelerator works. She definitely knows how to reverse the car because she does it all the time. Not sure why. Perhaps she loves to see my shocked reaction. She also seems to understand steering, although she still can’t quite grasp the technique of acceleration and steering at the same time. When she is stuck (like hitting the walls), she would pass the controller back to me and ask me to get the car back on track. Previously, she did not have such awareness.
What is interesting to observe is that she keeps on thinking that pushing the joystick up is to move forward. And that she would turn the controller in mid-air like a steering wheel hoping that the car turns the same way she does. I have not tried Nintendo Wii. Looking at how Bethany intuitively interacts with the game, I think the simplistic design of the Wii motion sensor controller could well be a winner. Too bad. When Wii first came out, it was out of stock for like a year or so. By the time the stock was available, all interest was lost. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait that long for my Nexus 4 to arrive. That’s another story for another day.
Oh, one more observation to share. Bethany loves to play with my phone. But my Sony phone does not have many interesting apps or games (thanks to the super low memory). There is a pinball game that she enjoys playing. A month ago, she would think that the ball falling off the drain was a good thing. Now, she understands that it may not be such a good idea. She still has’t quite got the technique yet. I am sure she will get it in no time.