Happy Chinese New Year (Spain to China)

chinese red shoesThe beauty of blogging is meeting fellow Bloggers from around the world. Last year, I met Marta through her blog, “Marta Lives in China.” She is from Spain and married a Chinese man. As her blog states, she lives in China and shares stories about life there compared to Spain. When she got married she had two weddings, one in China and one in Spain. She has fabulous pictures from both weddings. Recently, she shared her story about being pregnant and giving birth in China. If you visit her blog, you will be transported to China and learn about the Chinese way of life.

In her latest post, “Getting Ready for Chinese New Year.” Marta has photos of shopping for Chinese New Year. She mentions the importance of the color “red” in this celebration. This is her child’s first New Year’s, so it is very exciting.

Years ago when I worked in manufacturing a fellow co-worker, who was Vietnamese, brought in red envelopes ($1 inside) for ALL of his employees, he even included me. He invited me out for Chinese lunch with the group and wished me good fortune. I was honored to be included in their celebrations.

It’s a New Year, time to dust off my red shoes again, put on my prettiest red dress and head to Chinatown with my Chinese friends to celebrate! They will order the food, so I will try many new dishes.

Wishing a Happy Chinese New Year / Happy Lunar New Year to my Asian friends. Excited to be included in the festivities.

New York… SAVING “Wing On Wo & Co.,” the oldest store in Chinatown

china-town-new-york

New York’s Chinatown

I recently read a story about a young Asian woman who was saving her family’s business in New York’s Chinatown. I was moved by this story, because as a child my parents brought us (my brothers/sister) to Chicago’s Chinatown a few times a year. We would explore the different shops with excitement. At lunch my father would say, “Everyone eats with chopsticks, no exceptions!” As you know, it was hard at first, but soon we were experts. We would happily go home excited to wear our new Chinese pajamas, play with the toys we had bought and eat almond cookies. When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area one of my first stops was… YES, Chinatown.

So, I could understand how granddaughter, Mei Lun (26 years old), was inspired by passion and tradition to stop her grandparents from selling the family business (Wing On Wo & C0.) by offering to run the store as an “owner-in-training.” The store was started by her great-great-grandfather, Walter Eng, as a general store in 1890. She is fifth generation to take over the store.

Lun’s passion for her Chinese heritage runs deep. The Chinatown community has always been male dominated and now with children growing up, and not always wanting to take over the family business things are changing. In order to make an effort to bring the community together, Lun created The W.O.W Project. This is a non-profit whose mission is to discuss the future of chinatown. There is a very interesting video documentary on their website, www.wingonwoand.co, where they discuss the history of her family’s store and the start of The W.O.W Project.

There is more… China Residencies and The W.O.W Project are teaming up to create a new residency program between local artists and ceramic artists from Jingdezhen, China. This sounds like a really great program. They have already had a few events. As they are in their infancy, they are also in fundraising mode. You can make a donation on their website.

I am excited to see Mei Lun succeed, so New York Chinatown stays alive!

Happy Lunar New Year!