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As a child growing up in Idaho, my family celebrated ringing in the New Year twice.  We’d have the traditional, watch-the-ball-drop-in-Times-Square-countdown-to-midnight party; and then about a month later, we’d have a Chinese New Year party.  We’re not from Asian heritage, so why celebrate this holiday?  Aside from the fact that my parents were known around the neighborhood for their parties and my mom loved nothing more than a house full of laughter, food, and friendship; they held their annual party to celebrate the time they spent in Taiwan, when my dad was stationed there in the Air Force in the early 1960s.  During those years, my family grew to love and appreciate the Chinese people and its culture.  

Our family’s Chinese New Year party was very authentic.  My mom even made a Chinese fire-breathing dragon out of chicken wire and paper mache.  She made traditional cuisine including her famous spring rolls where we’d spend all day folding her “secret” ingredients into won tons.  She’d put money into little red envelopes to hand out to her guests; and all the while, she blasted bona fide Chinese music from our record player.  I have so many good memories of these parties and traditions. 

The Chinese New Year is celebrated January 23, and according to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 ushers in the Year of the Dragon.  This makes it a special year, and legend says that children born under this revered mythical creature can achieve great power.  Tracie Grimes writes more about this celebration in her article, “Welcoming the Year of the Dragon,” on page 9, in which she interviews Amber Chiang.  Ms. Chiang describes centuries-old, Asian traditions that continue to be passed down from generation to generation within her family as well as many others in Kern County.  Ms Chiang will even be emceeing a celebratory dinner complete with cultural performances on February 12 at Panda Palace.

As part of our traditional New Year’s celebration, most of us set resolutions to make us better and more well-rounded people.  KCFM wanted to find out what local kids and families were planning on accomplishing this coming year, so I headed over to My Gym and caught up with some active preschoolers to see what they were planning for their resolutions.  To find out their cute answers and see their even cuter pictures, turn to page 7. 

Also in this issue, you will find our annual Private School Directory on page 10.  This directory gives you local private schools’ information at a glance to help you analyze which one works best for your family’s situation.  As part of this special section, check out the article, “Ten Questions Parents Need to Ask Private Schools,” on page 11.  This article gives you frequently asked questions that can help you talk with private school administrators to make the right choice for your children’s education.     

This month, Tracie Grimes writes about trying to find some of her own New Year’s luck in her monthly Humor at Home article, “Time to Delve into 2012,” on page 8.  She says that this year, she’s going to have to eat two bowls of black-eyed peas to try and persuade good luck to find her, because last year’s one bowl did not have the desired result.

January is a wonderful month when we have so much to celebrate – a New Year, resolutions, and the hope and anticipation that 2012 brings.  Whether you celebrate with Dick Clark or a Chinese dragon, remember that the Year of the Dragon holds much promise!


Happy New Year!!!

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