You have so much diversity and culture here it is unbelievable. I am honestly so surprised that it has taken me this long to see this side of Sydney. I have gotten and will get to yet experience some of the most amazing cultural traditions and expressions this week and I feel so very blessed to have been exposed to all the opportunities that I have had.
Sunday: So I last talked to you on Sunday, but that was before the Chinese New Year Parade! Around 6 on Sunday evening me and the rest of my CAPA intern group made our way down to the Sydney Chinatown. I studied Chinese for 2 years at Augie in order to pass my major requirements, but I was ill prepared for the language, the people, the atmosphere, and the culture that instantly surrounded me when I got there. From the gorgeous Chinese terrace entrance to the massive line up of Chinese food options, I felt I had been transported to central China in a matter of seconds. I have always thought that the Chinese culture is one that is easily seen, felt, and one of the most observable cultures of our day. It has such strong traditions, beliefs, and practices that it is hard to not almost envy them the experiences and complete commitment they have to their culture at times. Anyway, after what I considered a very authentic Chinese dinner, me and few friends waited along the Chinese New Year Parade route in anxiousness. So many students who had visited a year before had been amendment on our attendance to the parade and our hopes were high. After an hour of standing around and being slowly sucked into a Chinese crowd of oblivion, the parade started shortly after sunset. We were signaled the arrival of the parade to our area of the route by a score of fireworks off of a nearby buildings roof. After that is kind of a blur because I was so overwhelmed with sound, color, and lights. I do remember though that the first thing I saw and was so excited about was the real Chinese dragon costumes with the awesome faces and bodies that people hide underneath and move to realistically. They were white and gold with red accents and it was incredible and I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Other parade items included a lot of Chinese dancers in traditional garb, Chinese drum bands, samurai warriors, large floats in color and light of huge horse (it is the year of the horse in Chinese tradition), and more dragon costumes. (Pictures below). I also saw a LOT of lit up buildings that had moving projected pictures along their outside walls, as if a movie was being projected and played across the outside of the building in the craziest and brightest colors. I loved those and I loved the excitement of the crowd. No one was just excited for the waving people and lights, everyone was truly invigorated and excited for the New Year. You could tell it meant so much to them and they were beyond happy to be experiencing it. I think the most incredible part for me though is that I left this parade and within seconds was back in down town Sydney. A modern place of massive diversity and modern buildings and people. One parade and the millions of people honestly made you believe you were the middle of China celebrating the most amazing old traditional holiday. Anyway, A really great experience and I couldn’t be happier I was blessed enough to witness it.