Happy New Year! Or, in Chinese: Xin Nian Kuai Le!
We all remember how to say Merry Christmas, right? "Sheng dan," meaning Christmas, and "kuai le," meaning happy or merry. It's easy to throw "kuai le" around and make a couple of useful phrases, like, for example, happy birthday (sheng ri kuai le).
"Xin" is literally "new," while "nian" is literally "year." So "xin nian kuai le" is ... that's right, happy new year. You can also say "yuan dan kuai le," which is an alternate way to say happy new year that means something slightly different (what the difference is, I do not know).
I spent last night at the rock-climbing bar, ringing in the New Year with Nicki, Steve, Kevin De Palma (KDP, KDP15, etc.), Shang, and Lynn. There was drinking, jenga, that Chinese drinking game where you bluff the number of dice on the table (they play it in Pirates of the Caribbean 2), and (of course) rock climbing.
It was a great night, the beer was cheap, and buying a single round of vodka shots toward the end resulted in a happy manager giving us a free round of beers and a free seventh shot. As were prepared to go, there was a drunken round of darts, a bicycle or quadracycle that sat three people, and two Chinese girls that kept asking for pictures.
We made our way to a taxi, and while I don't much remember the ride back (that seventh vodka shot), the last picture in my camera shows Nicki and Shang riding one of the big stone lions in front of the school. Any night that ends with riding lions is a good night.
So, new years resolutions? Ah, I've got a ton. Rather than go through all the ways I want to change my life, I'll just list three simple big ones:
1. Exercise more. I've lost some weight here, but not enough, and the key to good health is more exercise.
2. Study Chinese. I've made some great strides in understanding Mandarin, but there's still a long way to go. Na li, na li.
3. Be a better teacher. I've got to put in more time and energy into my teaching in the future, so that I'm better organized and better prepared, and so that my students learn more and learn more easily.
So, welcome, 2007: this is the first year where I really have no idea what to expect. That is very exciting, and I think great things await.