On January 25th, 2019, my school celebrated the Chinese New Year. All of the teachers dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes from different dynasties and my advisor, Kru Nok, found me one to match hers. She picked me up early to go to school and we went to the morning assembly together. As the students gathered, I took a seat in a space in the middle of the sports dome designated for watching the celebration. I sat next to my Scottish friend, who teaches math and speaks fluent Chinese, and my Chinese friend, Yang, who teaches Chinese language. She stood out from the crowd, by far wearing the most beautiful dress of all. We watched recreations of Chinese dance through the ages and it finished with fireworks. Photos began shortly after but eventually, Yang and I weeded ourselves out of the group to talk.
She ushered me up to her empty office, which I rarely frequented, and pulled open a drawer in her desk. She handed me a red packet, with a beautiful depiction of a Chinese family celebrating the holiday on the front, containing Chinese money. She also gave me a bookmark decorated by white flowers and a message she had written in Chinese, wishing me good luck in the new year and that my grades go “up, up, up!”, as well as a little panda keychain. She explained the meanings behind the gifts and told me that it is traditional to give them to children, like little siblings. I felt so overjoyed that she had been so kind to include me in celebrating a holiday from her native country.