Celebrating Lunar New Year As A First Generation Chinese American

Celebrating Lunar New Year As A First Generation Chinese American

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It was the day before New Year's Eve. I could tell that the windows had been rubbed clean with stale newspapers and a little too much Windex. The distinct fake citrus of hardwood floor polish lingered, even though it had been hours since the Swiffer had been out. Soon after, that biting scent of chemicals was easily overpowered by a sweet, fresh aroma. The fragrant citrus of pomelo leaves boiling on the stove seemed to swell and envelop our entire two-story house, warding away any malevolent spirits.

And then it was New Year's Eve. Fingers hastily tugged hard plastic clothing tags off of a soft new shirt. I ran my hands through my hair, still surprised when fingers reached an abrupt end at my shoulders. Freshly cut strands brushed the back of my neck. Waiting at my grandmother's door, my hands started to sting. Heated palms and prickling fingers fought to hold the handles of the red plastic bags I carried, full of hospitality -- oranges and biscuits. Walking in through the door, I was met with warm embrace after embrace. With each hug, my relieved hands gratefully accepted the crisp touch of red envelopes, good luck being passed on from older generations.

I snacked on dried, chewy coconut strips and bit into a homemade fried sweet dumpling, filled with peanuts and sugar. During dinner, my taste buds are met with our traditional dishes: vegetables and mushrooms soaked in oyster sauce, pork with fat choy, takeout fried rice noodles (classic), crispy egg rolls, fresh fish topped with green onions and soy sauce, all complete with warm white rice. There is a choice of a savory radish cake or a slimy sweet brown rice cake at the end.

After dinner, my cousins and I walk the streets of Chinatown to the beat of a deep drum, listening for the bang of firecrackers and incessant clanging of cymbals. The loud sound of snappers filled the air, of kids throwing tiny poppers "bang snaps" at the streets, screaming with laughter when one was aimed too close. Older relatives chanted in a sing-song voice, "Mai lan, mai lan, mai lan," putting the laziness of their grandchildren up for sale for the new year, "Mai doh lin, sam sup man."

The night was filled with vibrant red and flashes of gold. There were red good luck scrolls, red envelopes, red firecracker confetti littered the streets. Lion dancers jingled and shimmered, greeting the businesses and wishing people good fortune and health. I looked around me. Grandparents held the hands of their grandchildren, parents laughed at their children goofing off, everywhere I looked was family. This is my American Chinese New Year.

Cover Image Credit: Uwishunu

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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