Saturday, February 5, 2011

My First Chinese New Year

This week marked another incredible, first-time experience - one that could only be provided by one of the top ranked MBA colleges. This Wednesday, February 2, marked Chinese New Year; and thanks to our school having such a wonderfully diverse student body, we were welcomed into one of the most unique and fun MBA student activities.

On Wednesday we were welcomed into the home of our Taiwanese friend and classmate (Alex), along with three of our Indian classmates, a Costa Rican classmate, and another couple from the US. Alex had prepared a "hot plate," which was electrically plugged in and glowed like it was on fire inside, and boiled a pot on top with various vegetables and meats that smelled (and tasted) delicious. She explained that it was like fondu. There were other snacks including shellfish, fish-balls, nuts and sausage, sweet sticky rice, and a special kind of tea that was very sweet. Dessert was filled with Pokey sticks and other tasty chocolates. She was a great host and we had a fun time trying traditional Taiwanese fare and telling stories of Bloomington.

Then on Thursday we were invited to our classmate's apartment at Tulip Tree for a South Korean New Year day celebration. We've celebrated with their family at many events before, including Halloween - Chul Woo is married and has three great children, who were quite energetic after having school cancelled for so many days from the ice and snow. Chul Woo's family made a traditional rice cake soup, glass noodles with beef, sunflower seed and sticky rice buns, and spicy vegetables. It was delicious, and we spent the night talking about how we had added years to our lives after eating rice cake soup, American politics, New Years traditions, how we all met and the kids' schooling.

I knew I was signing up for an international program when I came to one of the best two year MBA programs in the country, but I could have never known just how eye-opening and fun the experiences outside of the classroom were going to be. We're taking some of our international friends skiing for their first time tomorrow - I'll report back in next week!

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