So Chinese New Year's Eve was Sunday night and I spent it with Jean. She was a bit homesick as this was the first Chinese New Year's that she hadn't spent at home with her family. And remember that Chinese New Year is to the Chinese like Christmas is to us in terms of being together with family.
Anyway, we stayed up to ring in the new year, and all throughout the night we'd constantly hear fireworks, not unlike you would in the states, perhaps for New Year's and certainly for the Fourth. However, at midnight... Holy Cow! (I just realized how appropriate that expression is after I typed it because on the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the ox.)
Anyways, at midnght, a deluge of firework and bombs went off. This wasn't like when you go to see a fireworks show and there's lots of fireworks they set off and you look at from a distance of perhaps a quarter or half mile. This was like fireworks being set off everywhere in all directions everywhere in the city. (By the way, I was in Hangzhou, a Chicago-sized city, during this.) And perhaps not as widely dispersing, but people would be setting off these rockets that would explode, with not a whole lot of fire, but a LOT of boom, and we're talking just outside the apartment. You couldn't talk, it was like a warzone, without all the imminent danger. It actually was kind of cool :) But, if you had plans to go to sleep shortly after midnight, you can forget it. While the super loudest bombs died down after about 20-30 minutes, there were till fireworks going off some place in the city until well into the night.
The next day, Jean left to go to Qingdao to visit her grandparents. She wasn't able to get a ticket to Harbin to see her family, but found a super cheap ticket to Qingdao to at least see her grandparents (like $40 one-way).
Since she was leaving, I went back to Huzhou. When I got back to the school, I noticed a bunch of leftover launch pads from dozens and dozens of rockets that the guards must have set off the night before. Considering how much is going at the school this time of year, I don't blame them. It's gotta be a relatively boring job to begin with, but when no one is in the school and off for vacation, ech.
Happy Niu Year everybody! (Niu means cow)