新年快乐 – Xinnian Kuaile! – Happy New Year

I’m back in Beijing after a six week trip back to Blighty. The break was longer than originally planned as there were various family things to be sorted out.

We wined and dined with friends in London, got the once-over from doctor, dentist and hairdresser; then braved the Artic weather to spend Christmas and New Year feasting with parents and children up in Fife.









Now I’ve settled back into my ‘China’ life – and a new year begins…and no, I have not made any New Year Resolutions.

On the long flight back here I went through the little notebook in which I keep a record of everything I read, and for want of anything more amusing to do compiled a list of last year’s reading.  On the off-chance you may be interested, here it is:

Books read in 2010:  100;

37 by male authors, 59 by female authors; 27 crime fiction; eleven non-fiction; seven translated into English from other languages; one Graphic novel.

The books that got top marks from me during the year were (in no particular order):  Small Wars by Sadie Jones, The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore, Brothers by Yu Hua, Hearts &  Minds by Amanda Craig,  Stir Fried by Jen Lin-Liu,  Tom Bedlam by George Hagen, China Cuckoo by Mark Kitto, Best American Science Writing 2007.

Though the weather up in Pittenweem was very cold with lots of snow and ice – I’ve never seen a beach covered with snow before – the weather here in Beijing has come as something of a shock.  It is a whole different type of cold.  Clear blue skies, lots of sunshine, dry as a bone with a daytime temperature of about  -4 C  and a northerly wind which cuts through clothing like a knife (at least it blows the pollution away).  I am told that at the moment it is ‘too cold to snow’ not that there are any clouds anyway. It has given me a new understanding of the phrase ‘the dead of winter’ as the grass is all brown and dead looking, there are no leaves on any trees, and the city’s public horticulture department has had the ornamental plants and hedges in parks, residential complexes and on roadsides carefully bundled up in what looks like padded green tarpaulins firmly tied with twine. Any plants that are exposed seem to have been heavily pruned.

Everyone is wearing layers and layers of clothing, and many people have face masks on. I’m thinking of getting one myself.  AMM looks like some Russian general about to take a military salute in Red Square when he’s all togged up in coat, hat and gloves!

About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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12 Responses to 新年快乐 – Xinnian Kuaile! – Happy New Year

  1. I am so glad you’re posting again! I’ve just started following your blog and thought I’d just be looking through your archives. I always find it interesting to read the impressions of people living in foreign countries.

    Happy New Year to you!

    • herschelian says:

      Lisa – welcome!
      I am delighted you have found my blog – I LOVED your blog about Delicious Monsters and the unfurling fronds. I left CT when I was 22 – and never thought it would be permenant, here I am now, years and years later, after a long sojorn in London, living in Beijing who would have thought….. your blog reminds me of all I miss in life in SA. Bitter sweet!

  2. John Rollason says:

    Alistair definitely looks more Russian than Chinese, though he also seems to be trying to compete with Michelin Man! Meanwhile in `sunny’ SA we have had a wet, wet, wet Christmas and New Year.

    • herschelian says:

      John – he’s got about four jumpers under the coat, which also has a buttoned-in sheepskin lining! Never-the-less, I worry about a Michelin Man tendency and am doing my best to diminish it!!

  3. Emily Barton says:

    A nice, round, even 100 books for 2010. How did you manage that? Thanks for your list. I love reading everyone’s lists. Love the pictures of Scotland in the snow. (I’ve never seen it in the snow.) Reading your post has made me cold, though :-)!

  4. marj says:

    and its HOT HOT HOT in CT at the mo- 20 in flat in the City Bowl this eve! Thinking of you ……

  5. Hi! Could you do me a favour please and tell me what this means:

    My husband was in Hong Kong a couple of years back, and had a jade stamp carved for me which is supposed to be my name i.e. “Lisa”. Just wondering if it does actually say that!

    Thank you in advance!

    • I realise that Chinese isn’t just one language, but maybe one of your readers could tell me if it isn’t in Mandarin.

      • herschelian says:

        Lisa, even though there are several Chinese ‘languages’ eg Cantonese, Mandarin, Fukkianese, etc the written language is universal. The only slight hiccup being that in order to get as near to 100% literacy as possible, under Mao the written characters were ‘simplified’. HK and Taiwan still tend to use ‘traditional’ characters, but on the whole most Chinese can read the same written script. Looking at your ‘chop’ it looks to me to be in ‘traditional’ characters, and does say Lisa. I am going to double check with a very knowledgeable Chinese friend.

      • Thanks for such a speedy response!

        It’s very interesting that written Chinese is universal. Also that bit about “traditional” versus “simplified” characters. Am learning so much reading your blog.

  6. Ajeet Mehra says:

    Actually most Taiwanese cannot read Simplified Chinese and Many Singaporeans cannot read Traditional Chinese when they come here. It is really not that Universal

    • herschelian says:

      Hi Ajeet, thanks so much for reading my blog and for making such an informed comment.
      I don’t know where you are living – is it Taiwan? – anyway I take your point, however, I know quite a few Chinese from Taiwan, the Philipines, Singapore, Malaysia and what I would call the Chinese diaspora, and most of them can cope with the ‘simplified’ characters. When I said the written language was universal I wasn’t being very clear, what I meant was that if I had something written in Chinese characters and went from Beijing to Sichuan or Xinjiang provinces or anywhere else in Greater China, the locals would be able to read what was written even if they couldn’t understand the spoken words.

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