United States

she/her | asian
wtw community’s official older sister
running off into the sunset with circe
est. april 27, 2020

swordwielding protector of all minority groups
satire sorceress, lady knight

she clasps peonies, allure, & love

Message from Writer

mwah! incapable of writing normal footnotes. wtw’s resident soft knight in shining armor. wave a hanky to say hello—i’m always eager to converse!
legend has it that i'm notorious around here for: well, ask me and find out.
can be seen trying my best to be sweet in comments OR wielding daggers. please do not interact with me if you: support bigotry (racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc), demean movements such as BLM, glorify Trump, or anything that goes along with these. i've discussed such stances in my pieces already and want no part of them.
talent manager is joella. she’s a sweetheart—go greet her!

Two Realms of December

December 10, 2019

It doesn’t snow in Houston. Not even in the dead of winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t feel the cold, even inside the bustling segments of Hong Kong City Mall. Every few moments, the automatic doors will open, welcoming a breath of frigid wind into the complex, and everyone shivers as one.

My family and I dodge shopping carts pushed by people who hurry to toss rau muống into a plastic bag. I just laugh with my younger cousins as we run up and down the halls, counting the red lanterns strung up in front of each store. We play with dancing yellow dragons with bobbing heads and bow delicately to the Buddhist monks before slipping dollars into the buckets at their feet.

I look at each store in the mall, labeled in Vietnamese words that I struggle to read. I flush, ashamed of barely being able to grasp my mother country’s tongue even as I am wholly surrounded by its culture.

It’s hard not to think about these sorts of things in December, thought-stirring December, when I visit my faux homeland every year.

My cousins tug at my sleeve as we edge towards the exit, and our parents load our arms with groceries.

Even outside, the night is lit up with vibrant neons on the exterior of the mall, with crimson red and golden yellow. Electric colors fill the blocky letters of Vietnamese labels, dappling the evening with splashes of the otherwise blue, green, and purple of “open” signs. The smoky smell of pastries and prawn treats fills the air. A Vietnamese rendition of a Celine Dion song echoes out from the open door of a music store.

The mall isn’t what an outsider might consider seasonally joyful. Yet, the liveliness of the mall is undoubtedly there, in all its neons and dragons.

Life and cheer just take different forms.

I see mothers gripping their children's hands as they scurry through the parking lot. Men casually lean against the lion-dragon statues in front of the mall’s entrance, taking drags of cigarettes and stubbing them in the stone ashtrays. They all speak in clipped Vietnamese, seamlessly creating a little enclave of Vietnam in a city in Texas.

In Hong Kong City Mall’s parking lot, there’s a little grassy area at its edge, and then a sidewalk next to the busy street. If you look up and down the sidewalk, it’s not much different—boba cafes, shaved snow-ice stores, and Dim Sum palaces. Vietnamese. Still enclosing around this part of the city.

But if you look at the other side of the road, as I always did as a child, the world seems to rotate 180 on its axis. A younger me walked this sidewalk often.

In English labels, each store across the road displayed an obvious Western background. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, a restaurant with mistletoes and candy canes painted on its windows instead of lanterns and red envelopes. Words I could actually read and understand. Words that made me feel like I could easily find some familiarity in where they were.

Younger me reached out for that side of the road. I wanted to cross over and be part of a world that I thought fit me most. A black street covered in dead leaves and drifting trash bags was all that separated my two spheres—two parts of a whole.

I didn’t feel like I belonged in either of them, completely.

Too Vietnamese to fit in as a complete, true American. Too American to even speak my country’s language.

I was a child back then. Too young to even begin to attempt to toe that line. So like children usually do, I took my mother’s hand and didn’t think about it any longer.

Now, as I peer across into that other world, I stand on the sidewalk. My boundary.

December brings the year to a close. It is the transition period, the doorway between one phase and another. It holds me by the shoulders, forces me to look around and examine the inner workings of my being.

It is a time of intuition. To look into two horizons: to examine the past, to look into the future. To accept or mourn what you are, and to hope for what you wish to become.

In my situation, I find this month to be a time of longing for transformation. I wonder about the contrast between these two definitions: between acceptance and wishing for change, or wanting to be someone different—better than what you think you are.

Upon further inspection, I do not find the two to be mutually exclusive.

“Hey,” my cousin sidles up to my side on the sidewalk. She motions for me to hold out my hand, and drops a candy cane in it. “Merry Christmas, chị.”

I turn it around in my hand. Red and white. Familiar.

Someone taps me again. It’s my mom this time. She slips a red envelope into my other hand. The outside is covered in golden characters and the image of a dragon.

“Your lì xì,” she smiles. “Merry Christmas, con.”

After hugging both of them, I return to examining the two in my hands. The red envelope—the lì xì, I mean, is also familiar to me. It is Vietnamese. I understand it. I am Vietnamese.

I embrace both, holding the candy cane and the lì xì gently to my chest.

A thought ricochets gently in my mind, and it’s that: two things do not have to inherently cancel the other out. They can exist as equals. Two sides of a coin. Yin and yang.

I look across to the other world again, with its warm, twinkling lights that surround soft words. I look back to my side, with neon signs and brushstroke characters.

I think both to be inexplicably beautiful.

I find myself content in this liminal state. My family chatter ahead of me, English and Vietnamese mingling together in the conversation.

I smile, and walk the sidewalk between the two sides.


See History
  • December 10, 2019 - 9:41pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Currently Unavailable

    Replying: Well, thanks for the info! As my history teacher says, there are always three sides to every story, so I will be on the lookout for the third side! XD
    In all seriousness, I do agree that political pieces and comments are easy to be taken the wrong way, especially when they are said virtually, which leaves out the tone of the person in question.
    I have known and been friends with Kit-Kat Sully and SavannaC for a while (though just through virtual), so I would like to think that they are not lying. And you seem like a pretty good person, so I would like to think that you are not lying. Maybe it's a little bit of bias on both your parts, or maybe it's just perspective. I really don't know.
    I have no idea what the comment was, what the piece was, who the user is, so...I don't know the facts, so I don't know if Savanna's mom or Savanna herself or the user or whoever was right or wrong. All I know is that Savanna seemed like a nice, encouraging person, and it doesn't really matter to me why her account got suspended, I just hope she's able to come back soon.
    Again, thanks for informing me! I am sure that your friend had no ill intention and I'm sorry that she has to put up with all that hate. That being said, I think Savanna's account being suspended was a little drastic. Whatever the reason, please tell your friend that I hope she and you get through this and I hope that she stays strong! <3

    about 1 month ago
  • outoftheblue


    3 months ago
  • EliathRose

    replying: ok, I did

    5 months ago
  • EliathRose

    ugh, i would join if i was allowed to get prose :(

    5 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    also, i hope your exams went well!

    6 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: haha that was from a time when i was super angsty (maybe after the spoken word and poetry comp ended?) so a lot of pieces from that time frame are just raw and angry.
    ps. glad you liked it. i worked my butt off on that piece *sticks tongue out* but it was super fun to write! thinking of doing other pieces related to kpop songs maybe soon.
    pps. yea try topping that *sticks out tongue*. i'll look forward to our next duel ;)
    ppps. hope the peer review goes through soon.

    6 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: maybe ;) as well as that added chinese line in the message box, it's a reference to whom i was dedicating the piece to (hint, profile pictures). maybe you can name all the people i referenced? except for mudbugs. i don't think mudbugs is anybody lol.

    6 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: yes, there's something pretty big we're missing here lol. i got the biggest whiplash in eternally. seriously, i was thinking "i could fall asleep to this song" but WHAT. eye- i can't believe they've done this.

    6 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: moas, ASSEMBLE

    6 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: well... i do have pinterest... but i'd prefer things on there to stay on there. *shudders* kobayashi dragon maid is so cute! kanna is just *clutches heart for the millionth time*. yes, figure skating DOES exist and boy is it holy. i've got a soft spot for nathan chen and shoma uno :). my zodiac sign is scorpio, so basically right after libra haha. same, i have a thing for personality types, they're just so interesting! enneagram even has a whole song series by sleeping at last (an artist which i love. their stage name fits them perfectly)! jsut a few more hours until the comeback... haha i won't stay up that late ofc. i think i'll publish one more thing and then turn in. it'll be great to wake up to txt content!
    go global shookies, tomorrow by tudorow!

    7 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: yea yelling at each other in the comments is totally fine! rpf ... maybe i'll try it but technically i've only written 2 fanfics (only one being published on wattpad) and a ton of cringey oc inserts. maybe i'll try my hand at it again, but writers' block is very powerful.
    ps i don't think there's a rule against that, but most people tend to avoid giving out their email addresses and such for privacy reasons. i'm one of them :). maybe if i get a little braver.
    now that we're in this territory... do you watch anime? listen to vocaloid? i was a hardcore anime fan and vocaloid listener (still am) so it was a completely new (expect for my figure skating rpf binge oof) experience getting into kpop because 'they're real people!'. it's pleasant though. i recently published a piece about mob psycho so...
    lol there are probably so many typos in this comment...

    7 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    replying: according to AO3 *cough cough best fanfiction site* yeonbin is the most popular for those two, taegyu for those two, and sookai for hueningkai. i'm gonna go on a long speech now: holy crap they literally flirted with each other (all members) on live television and yeonjun on the soobin birthday vlive??? i am deCEASED.
    this piece is pretty good tho! i've actually been to houston a few times to check out rice university! it was pretty beautiful but i never stayed long.
    ps. i admire everyone who can write rp fanfiction. they're not like fictional characters, they're real people, so although there's room to expand, it might not be 'accurate'. i'm a little scared of writing it tbh.
    btw: do you have wattpad (basically one of the only social media sites i have)? it might be easier to chat there.

    7 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    yes, asian americans really are stuck in the middle, aren't they? i can see that mall so well... beautiful descriptions!
    replying: me, forgetting that you had asked for a nickname OwO. yea, you can call me chrys! i'm not sure if you ship anyone in txt but like... yeonbin be wilding so hard rn i can't. like yeonbin shippers be sitting here and trying to separate fiction from reality and then yeonbin just rolls in and gives us HEART ATTACKS with this new content? wHo GaVe ThEm ThE rIgHt? seriously though, they're so cute together and i'd hate for their friendship be ruined by all this shipping.
    TL;DR yeonjun is giving us all the quality yeonbin content we don't deserve *cough cough* "you are my baby" what the heck eye-

    7 months ago