• @smalltownboytravel

How an Instant Noodles become accidental Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

Updated: Feb 27

The past 1 year and a half had been tough on me. Desperately trying to salvage my personal life a, it had taken a toll on me both mentally and physically. For the second year running, I choose to escape from Chinese New Year's reunion dinner with all my family members to avoid being bombarded by questions regarding my personal life.


With the excuses of out-station working in Europe, I decided to extend my stay by flying over to Iceland to fulfil one of my life long dreams. Seeing Aurora borealis while holding the hand of someone dear to me. What a wonderful and romantic scene even just by imagination. At that moment, I wish my loved one will fly over to Iceland to bring me home for the reunion dinner. What a silly and childish dream.

Blank future. At that moment, I am really lost. Have no direction on what to do next after the incident.

Aurora borealis

It was in the middle of winter and it was the season for Aurora. The colder the weather, the higher the chances it is to see this majestic natural phenomenon. Finally, after 33 years, I fulfilled half of my life long dream. To witness Northern Light, ones need to travel far away northern hemisphere. Hence, I would wish to witness the counterpart of this Northern Light, the Southern Light (Aurora australis) when we are planning for our visit to New Zealand's South Island. However, this little dream was scattered due to that unexpected incident. The cold weather and strong wind make this little brittle hearts cracked under the shadow of this amazing Northern Light.

I might be smiling on the outside, but it was tearing up in the inside.

Unexpected Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

Packing my somehow complicated heart, I headed back to my hostel in downtown Reykjavik after the Aurora hunting. It was 4th February 2019, Chinese New Year's eve. Before that incident, I always spend this important day with our family for the past 10 years. However, to escape being interrogated during the reunion dinner by extended family members, I finally found myself homeless although I did have a home to return.


After a warm shower and quick new year greeting with my mother via Whatapps, I made my way to the kitchen of the hostel. The memory from that day still vividly playing in my mind even until today. Reykjavik was snowing heavily that day and the whole city was covered in black and white.


With some local food that I bring over from Singapore (Indomie Mi Goreng Sedap x 2 packets😁 ), I made my way to the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, I was greeted by 2 Asian. Being a friendly person, I started to talk to them, initially in English. When they introduce themselves as Chinese from China, my Mandarin mode was switched on. Seeing my hand armed with 2 packets of instant noodles, they invited me to join them on their reunion dinner. We are then joined by another lovely lady.


My lonely instant noodle Chinese Reunion Dinner had been upgraded to a wholesome meal. Unexpected proper dinner and 3 new companions warmed my somehow cold heart.


Although we are stranger, we did spend the night talking into midnight with 2 bottles of beer (they only brought 2 beers because they never expected to bump into me. Haha). At that moment, I realise, although I did lost something, I found some consolation in another form of love.


This is a simple reunion dinner which leave a big impact on my life.


Many of the unexpected opportunities we encounter are small but significant   - S. Truett

Year 2021

Our brief encounter ended as fast as we it started. Fast forward to 2021, I already lost contact with all 3 of them. The following year (2020), I am still escaping from the dinner with family in Kajang. Again, this time I encounter another 2 fellow Chinese travellers in India and we cook our reunion dinner together in Udaipur.

Hope everyone is doing fine during the pandemic. Stay safe

By travelling, it opens my eyes to the world and realises I am the fortunate one as I still have a place to call home ready for me to return whenever I wanted to. For 2021, due to border closure, I was not able to celebrate in my small hometown.


Finally, for the first time in so many years, I had the accompany of my sister and brother for this important day. It a week away but my heart is beating excitingly waiting for its arrival.


2020 and 2021 are tough years for everyone due to the pandemic. Many families are separated due to travel restriction and border closure. Stay strong everyone. The worse will come to the end soon. As Chinese New Year is around the corner, I would like to wish everyone Happy Chinese New Year in advance. Stay Safe and Stay Strong.



Image by Jonny McKenna

@smalltownboytravel

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