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How We Started Another New Year

Facebook reminded me today I had New Year parties on this day for a few years in the form of outings and dinners. Somehow, we had no such plans this year, but we did begin the New Year with some parties.

Su’s good friend and ex-colleague Andrew moved to Tin Sum Village in Pat Heung. Andrew is 12 years Su’s junior; and is rather sportive and good sport. He would come over to Mei Foo at short notice after Su told him that she had bought some exotic fish or seafood. He is also generous with his siblings and other young people, including some of my mentees. He had been talking about inviting us over for housing warming, but scheduling has not been easy, until suddenly, we found ourselves at his new place for two consecutive evenings, eating and drinking with some young friends, and having a countdown for another new year. It was great fun, albeit a bit tough for the constitution. It also left him with lots of work afterwards. On New Year Day past at 9 pm, he was still dish washing and clearing up the mess we had contributed.

The New Year Eve Party began about 5:30-ish when another young friend of Su, Catherine, picked us up at Mei Foo. She had bought 2 kg of high grade beef from Admiralty together with some fruits and a bottle of red. On arrival, we were met by Katherine and Franco.  Katherine was seeping some red with Andrew, but Franco was hanging fast to his bottle of water, which he said had become his staple drink of choice for 40 days since Lan Kwai Fong closed down. He vowed that he would stay with such protocol until the place reopens. We would find out. Andrew was expecting four more guests – Karrie and Jeffrey had separately texted that they were caught up in traffic and would hence be late. We wasted no time and began preparing for the roast beef, heating up a good portion of Camembert for a fondue with Su’s homemade bread, and opening up more bottles. Karrie finally showed up, shortly before Jeffrey who came with some steak and two young ladies, Sammy and Ceci, by which time the beef in the oven was half ready. Andrew placed the rested tenderloin over the charcoal grill outside to a perfect hue under Su’s supervision, so that by the time the meat was carved, everyone had his or her choice slices together with their choice drinks. Franco did the carving, rather professionally and to the pleasure of everyone. Great work. While waiting for the beef, Andrew took out the steamed Alaskan king crab which young Jeffrey skillfully subdivided between the participants. It appeared that all the young men and women are experienced party goers and know a thing or two about good food and wines. Indeed, with the pandemic lock down and the social distancing requirements in restaurants which make eating out problematic if not impossible, many of us have developed sufficient working knowledge on food and good enough culinary skills for a decent meal for themselves and their friends.

The roast beef turned out perfect and was more than sufficient for everyone so that we didn’t touch the steak Jeffrey brought along. Time went by rather fast with good food in great company and soon it was countdown time. We had just enough time to uncork Su’s favourite bubblies, as the clock ticked to and past midnight, as the young people counted enthusiastically, followed by spontaneous hugging and New Year greetings. Surprisingly, no one sang Auld Lang Sync which used to be obligatory in my time. Has the ritual changed – I would find out at another time. Anyway, we had great fun; and it’s always good to be amongst younger people, particularly when they are reasonably well behaved. It was around 1:30 am on New Year Day when Andrew left the crowd and took us home, returning to his by 2 am. We found out that Catherine was home around 4 am, but had no idea how or when the others got home. We did receive a post of Jeffery facing the rising sun on New Year Day, or so it seemed.

New Year Day was spent uneventfully, with no parties, and we spent at least half an hour going through the New Year Greetings on Facebook from friends and group chats, many of which had been circulated umpteen times. We managed to take advantage of the sun and great weather for a stroll in the park and some rope jumping, but there were so many people everywhere. We haven’t seen the park so crowded, probably because we always avoid going there on public holidays. We then went for some grocery shopping for the breakfast we would be hosting the following morning.

As it turned out, only one friend – another Andrew – turned up for breakfast on 2 January at 10 am, as planned. Peter in Shenzhen said he would join our chat through We Chat, after breakfast.  We had yogurt, strawberries, fruits, smoked salmon, iberico ham, eggs, homemade bread, cheese and of course, champagne, followed by red wine, so that the breakfast did not end until just past 3 pm. What was meant to be a discussion on a book one of us had read in the week turned out to be a washout. Nevertheless, we had a great time, which is what matters.

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