23 April 2012


I've learned different words for "happy" in Mandarin, but the one that gets me right now is 开心 (kāixīn). It's made of the words 开 (kāi), which means "open," and 心 (xīn), which means "heart."

我真开心 (Wǒ zhēn kāixīn)。I am truly happy.

When he moves, it's as if he simply reaches into his pockets and finds whatever it is waiting there, to be extended on an open palm. All these things he says or does, like little treasures — a pebble, a coin, a sweet — are offered to me like it's the easiest, most natural thing to do.

When I move, I reach into my pocket and pull out rings of keys, which open a building, which houses a vault, which houses other vaults and safes, which house little boxes, which contain things I didn't know I still had. And it takes all my courage to get through all these heavy doors and walls I don't remember building, just to give him the tiniest peek at the thing I want him most to see.

The thing is, I knew from the beginning that I had nothing to fear. I knew — I know I can believe him. I know I can believe in him. I know I shouldn't be afraid.

So, I'm not, or I won't be from now on. I'm leaving that house and taking my treasure with me in my pockets. Life has never felt so light.


17 April 2012

06 April 2012

Moved Out, Moved In

I was sad when I first heard that my family was moving, but I can't deny that I was kind of excited yesterday to come home to the new house. While it was once the home of my oldest friend, and it felt strange to turn onto her street and down her driveway instead of ours, as soon as I went up the stairs, I knew that this was now my family's home, too.

It's not just because of the same old position of the couch relative to the dining table, of my bed relative to the door, or of my mom's blue-and-white cabinet to the stairs, though these little details are kind of funny. My family didn't just transplant everything as-is, either. Old cabinets and shelves in new corners, an unfamiliar coffee table, and maybe the biggest change of all, my lola sharing a room with me, all pointed to one thing I realized before falling asleep in my (our) new room.

This is a good change. The new house somehow suits us. My family is growing older and mellower. Our habits are shifting. We are throwing or putting away things we no longer need. And the things we keep, from the broken elephant lampstand to my dad's penchant for funny dances, are for us to enjoy. We are still home.