Feb. 4th, 2021 at 8:40 AM
You are officially invited to a Chinese New Year celebration at my and Gretchen's apartment.
Traditionally, Chinese New Year is a two-week affair complete with honoring the gods and the ancestors, meant to ensure prosperity and good luck in the coming year. My father's family is from Sichuan (western/southern/southwestern China), but I grew up in California, so I've acquired traditions from all over the place. The most important tradition in pretty much every Lunar New Year celebration, though, is the Reunion Dinner held on New Year's Eve. You invite the whole family, you make enough food to feed a small country, you give lucky red envelopes with money inside (even if it's a tiny amount of money, it's just a thing you do) to the younger people, and then you set off fireworks at midnight to welcome the new year. I went to a reunion dinner in every year of my human life, and since I just got my cooking gear back, I want to have one here.
If you're on this invitation, you're part of my extended Vallo family, either by virtue of living through Dark Vallo with me or being attached to someone who did, or by being a new favorite person from Nice Vallo. If I were my grandmother making this invitation, I would be deeply offended if you refused and would tell every other old lady in China about the terrible heartbreak of ungrateful children with no sense of filial piety. As I am not my grandmother and I can't contact every old lady in China from here, you're free to say no without fear of reprisal.
If you want to come, here's how it goes:
- Show up at the apartment on the morning of Feb 12 if you want to help make food. I'm willing to teach things like dumpling folding and spring roll wrapping if you don't already know how. This is an equal-opportunity invitation, we don't do "cooking prep is only for ladies" here. You do have to follow my kitchen orders, though. I am lord in my kitchen.
- If you just want to eat, show up at the apartment around 4 p.m. on Feb 12. This is going to be a lot of food, so we pace ourselves.
- Wear red if you've got it, for maximum luck.
- I'll explain the food traditions as we go. I can also teach you to eat with chopsticks if you don't know how, but I'll have forks in reserve just in case.
Give me a yes or no on the invite ASAP so I can start planning how much food to make and how many chairs to borrow. Also tell me if you're allergic to fish or anything like that so I can make sure there's something you can eat.
[Filtered to Jiang Cheng]
I know you've got family here but it's weird. If you want to bring your people to this, we'll be happy to have them. If you guys already have your own celebration planned, enjoy it. If you want to come and leave your brother et al. to do their own thing, that's also fine. I just didn't want to put them on the invitation without talking to you first.