Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse) from icy Chattanooga!

Friday, Jan 31 is the first day of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse. According to the Chinese New Year lesson in, a website for ESL teachers, "people born in the year of the horse are active, energetic, and like to roam."

My husband and I were not born in the year of the horse. But we like to roam and explore. Frequently we ventured into uncharted territories. You may have read those stories in this blog. One such adventure was in Beaufort (pronounced Bow-fert), N. Carolina. It was 2004, the year we cruised from Jacksonville, Florida to Baltimore, Maryland, and we had gotten to Beaufort in late May. There's a protected anchorage overlooking Cape Lookout, where the iconic lighthouse with the diamond-shape design stands. Raves about Cape Lookout from magazines and cruising friends had piqued our interest, so out the Beaufort Inlet we went, arriving at our anchorage just in time for the sunset. Alas, the weather failed to cooperate. The seas got rough, rocking and rolling Mai Thai through the night. Weather forecast of 20 knot winds and waves of 5-6 feet had us running back to the mainland early the next morning.

The seas were much more manageable after we entered the Beaufort Inlet. To the right was Shackleford Banks, apparently a local hangout. Many boats were plying in and out of there this Saturday. We decided to join in the fun. We sounded our way cautiously around the shoals (lots of them here!) to find a good spot to drop the anchor. The next several days found us admiring gorgeous sunsets, watching wild horses roam the dunes and beaches. We dinghied around and found some beautiful conch shells. What a wonderful gift to commemorate our anniversary! Sometimes, the best plan is having no plans.
Mai Thai (far left) anchored at Shackleford Banks, a local hangout
Horses roaming Shackleford Banks, N. Carolina one early morning
Shoals and sunrise at Shackleford Banks
Fast forward to 2014. I've been teaching ESOL (English for Students of Other Languages) to adults at the Chattanooga State Community College for the last three years. I always do a lesson on Chinese traditions and culture around Chinese New Year. I also like to do a reading on a famous Asian American. As serendipity would have it, I chose Yo-Yo Ma (馬友友), not knowing his last name Ma is the Chinese character for horse. The Chinese character for Yo is friend. Anyway, I've heard of the name, but knew little about the famed cellist. Until now.

I love the piece of music (by Dvorak) that Yo-Yo Ma and Itzak Perlman were playing.

So yesterday, while my class was enjoying the video, a colleague came in and reported that the college will be closing at noon due to the snowstorm. Many businesses were also closing around this time. Traffic was horrible, taking some people two hours or more to get to their destinations when it normally only takes them half an hour. I don't know how long it took me 'cos I stopped at a few places. I got off I-24 at Lookout Mountain and took local 41, which winds around the mountain. A Porsche 911 that was behind me took the turn to Ruby Falls up on Lookout Mountain. I couldn't help wondering how that drive was... I will never forget the time I skidded and slid uncontrollably down a tiny hill in my Mercedes 190 in Boston one snowy day.

This morning, we awoke to temperatures in the teens (or lower?) with ice on the river.
Scenery outside the boat - ice on the river
Thank you Canada for blasting us with more artic air!
If you have to be out, please drive safely. Stay warm, and have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

You might also like:
Happy Chinese New Year Remnants of Hurricane Ida drench the Mid-Atlantic Magical winter wonderland in Banff National Park, Calgary, Canada

1 comment:

  1. Beaufort is the name of one of my favorite French cheese ! Have a great Chinese New Year celebration ! Hope you get to warm up with some delicious food ;)