Long-time readers might remember when Oliver and I went to the Chinese New Year celebration in downtown Los Angeles last year. The boy literally dragged me out of bed to do it again this year, and I am just so glad that we did. First of all, we realized that the really giant celebration at the main temple, the one that brings thousands of people and news crews and VIPs and limos, is NOT the one that we like. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that Oliver, despite being severely dyslexic, has an almost uncanny sense of direction. The kid can remember how to get ANYWHERE, and I mean anywhere. He can't even read signs that well, but he can find his way to anyplace that he's visited before, in any city at any time of day or night. I, on the other hand, am utterly directionally challenged and get lost literally everywhere, at any time of day or night. I used the GPS to go downtown at 11:00 last night, but when we found ourselves at the huge temple, we realized that it was the wrong one (different from last year), and Oliver promptly led us to the right one, a sort of outlier on an otherwise empty road. We got there just in time to mingle with mostly Chinese people, light incense and offer our prayers to the various Buddhas, eat the delicious chicken and rice soup and then be deafened by the lighting of what seems to be millions of firecrackers.
Hello only other non-Asian at the temple!
Here are fruit offerings along with incense sticks.
Oliver and I both loved the gentle and reverent atmosphere at the temple. It was a peculiar combination of exuberant joy and great peace. We each prayed silently along with hundreds of other people.
The lighting of the firecrackers is outrageous! It's so loud and so fast and seems so utterly non-politically correct to have that much fire and smoke and noise so close to so many people -- but it's awesome. I took videos but won't download them here -- below is a shot of all the spent crackers:
I told Oliver as we walked back to our car, shortly after midnight, that it was strange and wonderful how peaceful the celebration is, despite the deafening roar of those firecrackers being lit and the drums pounding. I am grateful to have shared this experience with Oliver for two years in a row.
It's something he will always want to do with you...your special thing. :)ReplyDelete
I just had visions of traveling down to Chinatown when I'm eighty.Delete
My ex-husband had that directional ability. It never ceased to astound me. The older I get, the worse I get at it and I was horrible to begin with.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful celebration! One of those times when saying YES! absolutely paid off with great light and prayers and food and noise AND peace. And you got to share it with that fine son.
Ms. Moon -- My father has an abysmal sense of direction, as do I and my son Henry. Oliver is really amazing -- it's almost creepy.Delete
DId you see this story about the font that is supposed to make it easier for people with dyslexia to read?http://themighty.com/2014/11/this-man-invented-a-font-to-help-people-with-dyslexia-read/ReplyDelete
Emma -- I did see that story when it came up -- so amazing. I don't think it has wide applications, yet, but I imagine it will one day and that Oliver will be using it!Delete
The seeds you are sowing...just beautiful.ReplyDelete
What a nice outing with your personal and cute GPS!!ReplyDelete
What a fabulous experience. You visited another country without the discomfort of travel. Well done Oliver! Sounds like he would be a good tour guide.ReplyDelete
Kathleen Scott -- Oliver would be a great tour guide! He is very enthusiastic and so game to try new things. I'm grateful that he dragged me there (well, I did have to drive, but I was in bed when he insisted!).Delete
I love Oliver's face. He wears so many expressions and all of them well. I agree, this will be your special outing from now on. It looked beautiful!ReplyDelete
Joanne -- Yes. Oliver has a sweet face that is still sort of baby-like with the outlines of the man he'll be.Delete
Terrific! It sounds like a great celebration. I love the part about you lighting the wrong end of the incense sticks. :) Great memories for Oliver!ReplyDelete
Steve Reed -- I'm really such a bumbler, sometimes. I was trying so hard not to stand out, but I'm afraid I did!Delete
Those cheeks, you could just pinch them!ReplyDelete
Boy does that look like fun - I love the way you and Oliver do things just the two of you. I think that's how we really get to know our children (if we ever really can). It looks like incredible fun, especially at the smaller function, that would be my style too.
I used to live in LA , just off Wilshire Blvd, a few blocks up from the Coconut Grove...or is it Copa Cabana? Whatever. I loved living there. But I never did see the China Town there. Didn't have a good tour guide like Oliver, but then he was even born yet!
Thanks for the great pictures. I could hear the firecrackers!
liv - Los Angeles' Chinatown -- the traditional one, at least -- is pretty lame. If you go out toward the outskirts of Los Angeles, though, you find all the real Chinese restaurants and dim sum houses and herb shops. I went once with my Chinese acupuncturists, and it was truly like being in a foreign country!Delete
That kid of yours! I remember last year. And if that makes me a long time reader, I am proud!ReplyDelete
How clearly the sense of the event comes through with your words, your faces. My son used to tug me along to do interesting things out in the world in the middle of the night. I love that this is your second year. xoReplyDelete