At the end of last Saturday night, Amy Rogers said, “This was not the type of night that you could possibly explain to anyone who isn’t here.” Well, this is exactly what I’m going to attempt to do.
Every Saturday night, a different dish crew plans the activities for the evening. This Saturday was our dish crew’s turn. Per the suggestion of our friend Evan Zhou, we put together a night in the honor of the Chinese New Year. Everybody at Chewonki is from a different background and has had different experiences that enable us to build a rich community where we can learn from each other. Evan is no different; he has been in the United States since his sophomore year and his family still lives in Chengdu, China. With his help, we were able to put on a great New Year’s celebration—Chewonki style.
Keeping with the Chinese theme, everyone dressed up for our dinner of fried rice and dumplings as the animal for the year in which they were born—roosters and monkeys. After dinner, Evan gave a presentation on the different Chinese New Year traditions, taught us some simple Chinese characters and a few steps from a Chinese dance. After a chopstick tutorial, we tested our new chopstick skills with a pudding eating contest. I was starting to feel as if the festivities were winding down, but then the chicken fights began. Chicken fights involve each contestant putting their legs through the arms of a large sweatshirt and putting the sweatshirt on over their head, forcing them into a squatting position that’s absolutely hilarious for spectators. The two “chickens” battle each other by trying to knock the other one down. We all gathered around to watch our friends make fools of themselves trying to combat each other while strait jacketed in sweatshirts.
For our grand finale, we formed a quasi-dragon out of bed sheets and made our way to the waterfront, relying on each other to find our way. When we arrived we all shouted out into the dark night. We then took a few minutes of silence. I looked out over the water that shimmered in the moonlight and thought about my experience at Chewonki thus far. I couldn’t believe how fast three weeks had gone by. I thought about how I was now best friends with some girls who, three weeks ago, I didn’t even know. I thought about the cold, and how I was no longer apprehensive about it. I was more focused on the scene: the moon, the water, the trees; everything was just so peaceful.
-Maggie Nelson, Smyrna, GA