For those of you who celebrate Chinese Lunar New Years, gōng xǐ fā cái! That means “congratulations and wishes for a prosperous New Year” in Mandarin (I assume the “congratulations” means “congratulations on having made it through another year with your equanimity intact,” not “congratulations, you win!”). Ron and I were walking down Shida Road today when we heard the most annoying pop song ever. The lyrics were basically “gōng xǐ, gōng xǐ, gōng xǐ, gōng xǐ nǐ [you]!” over and over and over again.
Anyway, that reminds me of something I used to do when I was younger and Chinese New Years rolled around. When one of my relatives handed me a red envelope (hóng bāo), I’d take it and yell “gung hay fat choy!” That is the Cantonese version of “gōng xǐ fā cái!” and the version that is most well-known to non-Mandarin speaking Americans. I had many conversations like this with my relatives:
Me: Gung hay fat choy!
Relative: No, it’s gōng xǐ fā cái. We speak Mandarin, remember?
Me: Gung xi fat choy?
Relative: Gōng xǐ fā cái.
Me: Gong hay fa cai?
Me: Gung xi fat cai!
For some reason, I thought this was extremely funny. And, frankly, I still do! Gung xi fa choy!
I’ll be going down to Miaoli with Ron tomorrow to see my relatives and then continuing on to Kaohsiung to stay with my uncle’s family for a few days. I haven’t been out of Taipei for more than a day since moving here five months ago, so I’m excited to see more of the country and hang out with my awesome gene pool.