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Unknown-1Happy Year of the Rat!

or

恭贺新禧 (gōng hè xīn xǐ) Literal translation: respectful congratulations on the New Year.

Yesterday, after cello lesson Julia and I went to The Dumpling Palace in China town for lunch and celebration.  The restaurant was noisy, tables too close together, everyone was either leaning very close together to be heard talking or speaking loudly. We were asked to sit at a round table with two other small parties. The wait staff hurried from table to kitchen and back to tables. The arrival of dishes was announced and diners shouted to claim what was theirs. Julia had beef stew noodle soup, I had hot and sour soup, and we shared beef and crab juicy dumplings. Ours was a very small order for two compared to our tables mates but it filled us up. There was no encouragement to rush through the meal and the tea pot was replaced more than once. As we left, waiters wishes us a Happy New Year and when we returned the wishes, there were smiles. 

We peeked into a crowded bakery a few doors down to bring home those funny yellow almond cookies and made our way back to our car, looking into other restaurant windows to spy on the loaded tables of other families.

It was a damp and chilly afternoon, our keeping of the holiday was small and simple, and yet, it felt warm and complete. It was enough.

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