Special holidays when you’re away from home can be difficult, but Herman and Karen report on how the community spirit at Worth made Chinese New Year a “wonderful event":
‘Happy Chinese New Year!’ This is a time of great joy for Chinese communities both at home and abroad. At Worth too, this happy occasion was celebrated by all. We entered the ‘Year of the Snake’ on 10 February 2013 and to celebrate this great event, the EAL department and Chinese department organised a celebratory Chinese New Year dinner for all the Chinese students at Worth, on Wednesday, 6 February, 2013. We went to a large restaurant called Cosmo in Croydon which serves many different Oriental cuisines. This was the first time many of us had left their hometowns for study abroad. Some of us thought that we might feel homesick as we were away from our families at this special time. However, this was not the case at all and in fact, we were all totally into the Chinese New Year atmosphere created by all our schoolmates and teachers and we found the event really enjoyable.
We were a large and happy group at the restaurant, accompanied by Mrs Gupta and Mrs Carminati (our English teachers), Mrs Morgan (the Chinese teacher) and Mr Matthews, who will take over as House Master for St Bede’s next year. Most importantly, we felt extremely honoured to have the presence of our Head Master, Mr Carminati, who joined us for the celebrations. We all felt that it was an extremely enjoyable experience and we would all like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and pupils who made the evening possible and contributed to this wonderful event.
As Cosmo is a long distance away from school, we had to leave at 6:15pm promptly in order to get there on time as our booking was for 7:30pm. Everyone waited patiently on the coach, talking to each other happily, adding to the cheerful atmosphere. Immediately, we could feel the main value of Chinese New Year, which is to gather as a community.
As we stepped into Cosmo, we were immediately shocked by the large variety of choices of cuisine. There was a wide range of cuisines from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Italy and Mexico! What is more, we could choose whatever we wanted in unlimited quantities. One of our favourite dishes is the Dung Yum Kung soup; it has mushrooms, a selection of vegetables and some seafood in it. Although it was undoubtedly very hot, it was also really delicious! Surprisingly, some of the students thought that it was not spicy enough! Also, the dim sum and shasimi were absolutely amazing! The sushi bar was probably the most popular with the group and the chefs had a hard time keeping up with our appetites!
For dessert, there were chocolate fountains of both dark and white chocolate, where we could dip marshmallow or fruits like pineapple and strawberries into the chocolate of our choice. In addition, there were several different flavoured ice-creams to choose from but as it was a buffet, we were able to try several flavours before we settled on a favourite. At the end of the meal, we posed for a group photograph, to keep as a memory of this wonderful evening.
On the way back to Worth, we were all quite full and content, and we continued to enjoy the good time that we had on the way to Cosmo. For me, it was an amazing experience for Chinese New Year away from my home country. Although I was not with my family at this important time, as a member of the big family of Worth, each of us felt the warmth and welcoming attitude from everyone else. At Worth, the sense of community is really strong which makes both teachers and students one big family.
Finally, I felt a much stronger sense of belonging to Worth after this Chinese New Year dinner and it is my honour to be a part of this big family.
Herman and Karen