The New Year That I Celebrated Three Times

Life in Switzerland for a foreigner without family can be lonely. With the obstinate pandemic, lonely is an understatement.

We all hoped the year of 2022 would be different and better. So we used our “witchcraft” by celebrating it again and again to ensure it.

The international new year celebration for me and my Shanghai friend/old classmate took place on a cruise boat in Ouchy, Lausanne. Coming from Shanghai, such lake view and quality of food were too low-key. Nevertheless, we celebrated life and our reunion after life had pushed us to two different countries on the same continent, far away from home.

Why are we so adventurous? Was it too easy for us at home so we had to take challenges elsewhere? And one of the challenges is loneliness. How I meet the challenge is bring a sense of ceremony into life.

One month later it was the famous Chinese new year. In Chinese it is also called “spring festival”. We wait for the arrival of spring, giving it a lot of hope, again.

To my surprise, many non-Chinese people living in Lausanne were interested in this celebration with me together. I suggested a few simple rules according to the Chinese traditions and designed a fun game to enhance everyone’s knowledge of China and Chinese culture. So it happened, successfully.

Red, symbolising passion, excitement, success, victory, was our theme color. Coming from different corners in this world and different cultures, our hearts were beating to the same rhythm.

But the year of tiger didn’t necessarily make everyone’s every wish come true. Perhaps, sometimes we were wishing for the wrong things. I fell while skiing and badly twisted my right knee. My watery eyes remained me how lonely I was. I managed to stand up and to go to the hospital emergency myself. For the first time I was offered to sit in a wheelchair and was pushed around by a nurse. For the first time I had an X-ray and MRI scan done on my injured knee. Looking at the pictures, I was hoping my knee was instagrammable.

A strong sense of humour is my secret weapon to meet the challenge of loneliness.

Today is the Iranian new year. I was introduced to it by a brilliant Iranian girl living in Lausanne. I was glad to be invited to this special celebration. It certainly injected new hope into my life.

We were placed in an 1001 nights wonderland. Without a flying carpet, we took the stairs to go upstairs to visit the palace like venue and learned the old tradition of Iranian new year – seven “s” items were placed on a table. They were somagh (sumac), serkeh (vinegar), senjed (dried fruit from lotus trees), samanoo (sweet pudding), sabzeh (sprouts), sib (apple) and sir (garlic). Every item symbolised something, meanings could be easily found.

The real spring has thus begun. Has it?

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