Sunday, January 29, 2012

Year of the Dragon

In January 2011, a few of my classmates decided to celebrate the New Year by jumping the fence and sneaking into Regents Park at night to light Chinese lanterns and toast with prosecco.

January 2012...we decide to make a tradition of it!  Our lanterns sailed much better this year given that it was much less windy (but equally cold!).   According to Chinese astrology, this is the year of the dragon, the mightiest of the signs.  Dragons are known for their dominance and ambition.  They live by their own rules and interestingly can feel unfilled and exhausted by their passions and enthusiasm.  I asked one of my Chinese friends how she traditionally celebrates Chinese New Year with her family.  Though different in specific traditions, there are striking similarities in how Western holidays are celebrated (great feasts, friends and family gathering, joyful greetings and optimism, parades, etc.).  I believe humans tend to overweigh the differences amongst cultures and discount the sameness.   This is an example.

I was curious to know what my Chinese zodiac sign is.  I was wanting some ferocious beast and was initially disappointed with the lackluster pig.  However, after actually reading about the character of pigs, I'm so happy I am one!!  Pigs are known for their diligence, compassion, and generosity.  They are giving souls (sometimes giving too much) and place a premium on honesty (which they expect to receive).  They have trouble asking for help (known pride issue), enjoy spending more than saving (ouch), and are astute bargain hunters (of course!).  Pigs can always be counted and are detail oriented.  And they enjoy opportunities that allow them to express their creativity.  I don't believe in astrology because I feel life circumstances and context (nurture) are as equally impactful as nature is in determining character.  However, it's hard for me to ignore how my Chinese zodiac sign perfectly nails qualities I aim for and am most proud of.   Just something to think about.

After our Chinese lanterns become specks of light in the distance and the bubbly was gone, we headed over to Berkeley Square.   My sweet friend Emily introduced me to this swanky area when we celebrated my birthday at Murano, an amazingly delicious Italian restaurant.  Another one of my friends ended up moving to this area and hosted a birthday gathering at The Only Running Footman (great pub on ground floor, two additional floors of fine dining, and an awesome chef's kitchen lounge on top floor).  If and when I land a job in London, I'm determined to settle in Berkeley Square :)

Pictures of the evening below.

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