Congratulations on being alive

Chinese New Year is coming to an end. We chilled hard, learned to play Mahjong, ate a bunch of delicious food, visited some mountains, and visited some friends. It was awesome. At this point it’s almost a natural reflex for me to exclaim, “Xīnnián kuàilè! Gōngxǐ” (新年快乐! 恭喜), at the beginning and end of every interaction, but I hadn’t really given too much thought to the actual meaning up until now. “Xīnnián kuàilè” just means “Happy New Year.”  “Gōngxǐ” means “congratulations,” so basically, every time you say this to someone, you are congratulating them on making it to the New Year, congratulating them for living. Initially I laughed at the idea, but the more I began to think about it, the more I realized the beauty of this expression.

A lot of times, especially working this less than ideal job (a rant for another post), I take my amazing life for granted, but the words “gōngxǐ” have helped me to gain a little perspective. This idea has helped me to remember that life is really special, and that mine is full of loving people and incredible experiences. From time to time, I get really down about my situation here, but I am in it, and I am realizing that it’s fucking stupid not to live it fully.

Tim and I have some really exciting plans forthcoming (more on them later), and it’s really easy for me to fixate so much on those that I’m not even part of my own every day life. There are things about my job and even about Taiwan that I kind of hate, but there are also things that I absolutely adore. It’s important to remember that, so gōngxǐ to me, and of course gōngxǐ to you. I’m happy we’re alive.

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