Yesterday I met up with one of my friends to take a trip to Newtown and she gave me a Chinese lucky charm as a gift as seen in the picture above ^^ One day doesn’t seem enough for exploring Newtown, but walking for just even two hours is bound to make one tired. In Newtown, I mainly did a bit of window shopping and saw a lot of interesting shops with many cute objects. The only thing I bought were two scarves with patterns on it – one for me and one for my mum. Apart from that, I took lots of photos of anything that captured my attention, such as these cute green peas plushie.
After window shopping, my friend and I went to the Pakistani restaurant that we had ate at last time. This time she had the opportunity to try chicken biryani and she loved it! She even had mango lassi (a yogurt drink that can come with fruity flavors) and raita (a condiment made out of yogurt that is used as a dip) and liked it too. She later mentioned that we should have bought Pakistani food for the Lunar New Year celebration organized by her, a couple of our Chinese friends, and others. I was surprised to find out that one of my friends from Singapore and a friend from Italy, who we met at the dinner, know a lot of Pakistani dishes. This definitely calls for a group trip to Pakistani restaurant now! xD After having lunch at the Pakistani restaurant, we went to 2040 Cafe for some chai latte.
Soon it was time to head back for the Lunar New Year dinner. There were about 12 of us and the dinner was held at an Italian friend’s dorm. Some of us spent some time walking to and shopping at an Asian store for groceries and my Chinese friends explained the different types of ingredients used in their food. We bought quite a bit for the hot pot. My friends were making sure that the ingredients in the food that they were buying for the hot pot did not contain any animal fat. I can only eat seafood and Halal/Kosher meat since I’m Muslim (I’m happy that there are Chinese guys that know why we can only eat Halal/Kosher meat…I was surprised that they were able to explain it to the girls really well. I guess it’s ’cause they have Muslim friends that have already explained everything to them. In China, Halal/Kosher meat is supposed to be called “qingzhen”). My friends did not buy any pork because they were aware that pork is strictly forbidden in my religion. I told them that they can go ahead and buy it for themselves if they wanted to, but they decided not to and bought beef tripe and lamb instead. I spotted White Rabbit candy in the store and my friends immediately bought it when I pointed it out. However, I didn’t eat the candy because I noted that there was gelatin listed under the ingredients and I didn’t know whether it had animal substances in it or not =( My mum remembers the candy from Hong Kong =P
Furthermore, a new Chinese girl came with us on our trip to the grocery store,. She’s from Guangzhou and has only been in Sydney for three months. She said that she was going to go back home today to spend the Lunar New Year with her family. My friend from Changsha missed home a little too because it was the first time she was spending Lunar New Year away from family. I guess this Lunar New Year event is some serious family time…it reminds me of Eid, a time when Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan (a time when we fast), and most of us have a huge feast with family and relatives. I can imagine how much my friends must have missed home during this time because I remember being away from home for the first time when I joined my undergraduate university and how excited I was to head back home for Eid.
Anyhow, a Japanese friend that I made at the dinner made some amazing sushi! It was really tasty and looked great too. Overall, the dinner was good and I also made a couple of new friends. The other new people that I met included a guy from Hong Kong, a guy from Singapore, two Australian girls, and a guy from South Korea. We spent most of our time talking. It was a lot of fun. I tend to jump to topics on just about anything, such as life in the Middle East, history, politics, entertainment, etc. and it’s always great to hear input from others and have a whole discussion going around the table. One of the Australian girls had similar interests as me such as K-Pop, Anime, and video games, so we clicked right from the start. She has studied in South Korea too, so it was really interesting to hear her stories as she practically knows A LOT about the country now. She has met two or three K-Pop stars in person as well (she hung out in a group with two of them =P The world is really small…).
After the dinner, we had dessert, which was tiramisu cake. My Italian friend made it and it took him five hours to complete it. It was super good!
This was the first Lunar New Year celebration that I got to witness. I, of course, don’t celebrate these kind of events, but it was nice to spend the time with some lovely friends.
Other than that, I’ve been really busy lately >.< I’m sorry that I can’t post much on here these days. I have to get a few things done otherwise I will have to suffer the consequences if I don’t =P
Happy Lunar New Year! ^^