Chinese New Year is on the 18th but it was celebrated on Saturday here by the Chinese Association. They booked our cities arena, put on a great spread and provided entertainment and some auctions of Asian ornaments etc. Some friends of ours invited us last year and we were unable to go because we had already registered for Breakforth, but no such barrier this year. It was a nice time. I wish we had more opportunity to chat with our friends, but we did get to spend some quality time with their newest daughter Kayla, a real Asian cutie.
The auction items were interesting- ceramic and jade bonsai fruit trees being the items that stood out to me(not the greatest looking design, so although it was interesting, I wasn't tempted to purchase :). They had an Asian lady magician perform. We only caught the first half of the show. She was technically sound, but her english wasn't great so it made for some awkward moments with her and her volunteers for one of the tricks.
They had a number of traditional Asian dances, the Lion Dance, to bring in the New Year(Year of the Pig) started it off. They did a nice drum dance, but the hilight was the butterfly dance. The use of hand held fans, choreographed very nicely into a beautiful display of grace and movement. There is a crazy story connected to it, a Romeo and Julliet type romance and then the guy dies, the girl goes to the grave, the grave opens she jumps in and then 2 butterflies fly out of the ground and into the beyond. Obvious Asian Religious symbolism of reincarnation etc. in there, but the dance itself didn't tell you any of that, it was just a dance.
It is one of the interesting thing Cara and I talked about in relation to Julia and her birthplace countries culture. Being Christians there are philosophies and beliefs the Asian culture holds which we obviously don't agree with. Yet for some Asians the things they do(action wise) are done without the spiritual connection to the event, the action and the culture have mingled so much that the original spiritual intent is lost and just delegated to culture or tradition, similar to the Jewish people, many who just follow actions out of tradition or because they are "born a Jew" but don't do it out of the personal belief system they have.
It is a challenge because we don't want to ignore or cut off Asian culture from Julia(much of which I am fasinated with and personally enjoy, before I even thought of adopting my Asian daughter), but we don't want to endorse any spiritual belief that is contrary to Christ, so trying to figure out what is good, and what isn't will be an interesting journey.
On the other hand, because I have worked closely with a generation of Asian kids who have grown up in Canada. I have seen the challenge they have faced in trying to determine their identity. They have grown up like "any other Canadian kid" but at home there is the influence of Asian culture, thought and practise that is also part of their world, so they have to work through that, and the result is they end up saying "I am Canadian". But being Canadian means very little(I am proud to be Canadian, don't get me wrong, not saying that at all...) but what is a Canadian? Because of the cultural diversity we have in this country, it is very hard to define what that actually looks like. I am GLAD we have the diversity, which will make it "more acceptable" to have a baby from a "different ethnic origin", and that there are many different ethnic people groups around, so we aren't a "white only" type place. This outweighs, in my opinion, the country confusion idea.
The thing that totally dispels the determination of "Who am I?" is not who my parents are, nor the country I originated from, or the country I live in, or the way that I look, or the people I hang out with... or any list people us to try to answer this age old question. The answer, the key that solves all of that is simple and yet profound....
We are to be a child of God. Our Julia has been created by Him, with purpose plan, personality, passions, and gifts uniquely hers, given by her Heavenly Father. Her identity is found, and blossoms, in her relationship, we pray, she will have with Jesus Christ. We are not citizens of this world or this country, or country of our origin. As a Christian we are a citizen of the King, a citizen of heaven...and when Julia(or anyone) comes to the place of realizing and living in that truth, the identity issue is resolved and you get a focus that guides you in who you are, who you become and what you do and why you do it, that is amazing, and that spiritual perspective puts the temporal things in their proper place.
We hope that by the next time CNY rolls around Kayla and Julia can hang out, eat some Chinese stirfry veges together, watch a butterfly dance, and begin to gorw their appreciation of some wonderful apsects of the Chinese culture while being totally content to watch hockey, live in an igloo all year round, be polite, say "ehhh" a lot and enjoy ALL there is about being in Canada ;) heh!