Chinese New Year, Galantis, and Malahide Castle

Yes, I disappeared for two weeks…Sorry. But Happy belated Chinese New Year! Yes, it is only two days after Valentine’s day this year so I probably could’ve said it in the last post..but there you go. Work has most definitely started to pile up more since I have registered for a GRE exam in May, getting back to working on my summer project for the April H-CLEF (Holy Cross Laptop Ensemble Federation) concert, while also balancing impending mid-term exams, internship deadlines and piano practice before spring break. Apart from the daily grind that I carry with me from Holy Cross, I am also finally getting my GNIB card, which means that I will be able to get out of Ireland and travel around Europe finally (not that Ireland isn’t great, but I am also looking forward to travelling around Europe since it is my first time in Europe)! I’m also really excited for my friend, Mohan, to visit Ireland during Spring Break (her visa request just got approved and I am super excited about seeing her for the first time since our finals, showing her around Dublin and exploring Galway together before she heads back).

Anywho… Here at UCD, Chinese New Year is done really differently, just because of how much larger of a Chinese population that they have here. I can’t give you an accurate description about how large the population actually is, but definitely big enough to host a campus-wide event. The day before New Year’s, there was a livestream of the National Spring Gala in China, and there was a massive amount of Chinese food with performances from students playing traditional keyboard instruments. The entry fee was two euros, but you actually get a red packet of an euro plus the ton of free food! At Holy Cross, it was great in that we had a more intimate atmosphere to celebrate New Year’s since the Chinese student population base is pretty small (we usually just cook dinner together in a basement with a kitchen) and I really miss all of my friends as of now, but it definitely feels more “authentic” when everybody around us is celebrating it (even my Irish friends were like Happy Lunar New Year!). Even though my urges to celebrate Chinese New Year has kind of dimmed since I haven’t been celebrating it back home for so long, this definitely brought back good memories.

Chinese New Year Wall! Photo creds to Chinese Students & Scholar Association.
Set-up of Chinese New Year activities in Astra Hall: Look at the gift bags and the food! Photo creds to my friend Di.

The Confucius institute of Ireland hosted a similar Spring Gala show on Friday. They hired a group from Zhengzhou, China to perform a wild range of arts from music, dances and even Kungfu! I don’t think I have seen Kungfu performed live ever before, so that was definitely really cool to see what those people coming from Shaolin Temple are capable of doing. It was really impressive how the two hosts were so fluently and naturally changing back and forth in Chinese and English as well.

Spring Festival Gala Ireland
People were dressed up in the lion dance costume
The Dublin night sky that day was particularly pretty as well.

My friends and I kept the weekend pretty low-key celebration wise. We had a little get-together night for Chinese New Year Eve and ordered a ton of food, and then visited a bunch of museums for free on Saturday, and did a hot pot dinner later that night (it was definitely not as hard as I expected it to be!) that turned out to be delicious.

Part of our dinner for New Year’s Eve. Big shoutout to the people serving UCD students with this excellent takeout service!
Homemade hotpot. Set up and the cookery might be a bit complicated, but definitely was worth it and a lot cheaper than going to the 19 euro all-you-can-eat (not that that’s a bad deal though!)

I learned that there is a concert by Galantis on around Friday or so, but didn’t make up my mind to go until later on Sunday when there was only seats from the upper area left. But the impromptu adventure turned out to be great – I ended up going with two UCD students who are also studying abroad here, meeting two Spanish girls (one of them is doing an exchange semester in Trinity. I also tried to practice my rusty Spanish just a little bit but failed to understand all of the questions that they are asking – apologizing to my two poor Spanish professors) and having a great time! I wasn’t super familiar with their music, but it felt great to dance along. Their openers Pat Lok and DJ CID gave great performances as well. You really didn’t have to know their music in order to enjoy (and I didn’t know a ton of their music!).

Galantis with their Irish flag! (They also held out a #seafoxnation flag and a Dublin flag)

“Dublin friends.. you really think I will let you go that easily? … Would you RUNAWAY with me?”.. It was truly great even despite the run to the 145 bus immediately after the concert.

During the week, I received an email from Meghan working in Holy Cross communcations about filming a video for Holy Cross admissions aiming for accepted students. This definitely came at a great timing since I have came to realize a lot about what I appreciate about Holy Cross since my time away, and has been a bit homesick! I ended up filming the video in front of Malahide castle, where we visited on Saturday. Parts of Malahide castle was preserved from the 12th century, so it was definitely really cool to see the remnants. We didn’t end up spending the couple euros of entry fee but we took a pretty nice tour outside of the castle and around the gardens. The funny thing is that a really famous actor in China, Daniel Wu (吴彦祖) is filming the TV series “Into the Badlands” in Ireland, and a couple days ago he took a photo with his daughter at the exact gate next to Malahide castle (My friend even claimed that she ran into him in person!).

Photo of Daniel Wu with his daughter
Photo of Karen’s decent-ish attempt to walk like Daniel Wu and adding filters and all that. Photo creds to Mason
Pretending that we are the owners of the castle. Mason has become the default human selfie stick for the group now.

Later that day, we went around the Malahide beach a bit. It was a sunny day so the view was super pretty, but it was also freezing! We have been getting emails about weather warnings just because the temperature might get lower than 30 degrees Farenheit for a couple of days, and there is going to be snow and hail. A bunch of my friends who goes to school in more Southern regions relatively expressed a range of emotions from concern to excitement of seeing snow, but I guess Holy Cross has trained me well with the snow days happening only when you get six inches of snow and when it’s 15 degrees Farenheit out.

Malahide coastal walk view

Anyways, that sums up the second half of Feburary! It is crazy to think that we are doing things for Class of 2022, and it is only half a month away from them knowing if they are accepted to college or not. On another note though, I am definitely looking forward to my future adventures in and out of Ireland, but…just after I’m done with the papers and midterms! Next week is going to be a bit of a whirlwind, so I’ll probably blog again after Spring Break. See you then 🙂

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