The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.

A recipe for remembering home

February 2, 2018

I miss Tet.
I will be honest with myself and say this without doubt, hesitation or any type of implications. This feeling is a simple but incredibly intense feeling which I had never felt before I decided to come half-way around the earth, far from home. It is a feeling that is so strong that if the emotion were a recipe, it would be:
• 3 teaspoons of happiness,
• 1 teaspoon of sadness,
• 2 teaspoons of excitement, and
• endless teaspoons of homesickness.

Older people give the young lucky money in Lunar New Year.

3 teaspoons of happiness is how I remember the time of Lunar New Year in Vietnam. Happiness presents itself almost everywhere. Whether an avenue or a small road, a fancy restaurant or a cheap food stall, a community park or a time square, all are lit up and decorated. Lunar New Year songs are played from morning to night. Even though the songs are so incredibly old and classic that a four-year-old Vietnamese kid can sing them perfectly, their spirit never gets old. Shades of red and yellow coming from the apricot blossoms and lanterns appear wherever you look, bringing the wish of wealth and health. To be honest, even before these colors bring a wish for the new year, they make my happiness a little richer.

1 teaspoon of sadness is how I feel the value of Tet has changed over the years. Growing up as a city girl, never did I have a chance to cook rice cakes (Banh Chung), the traditional food during the Lunar New Year. Instead, my family bought them from the supermarket. Although I have celebrated Tet every year since I was born, and people always hung beautiful calligraphy writings in front of their homes to bring luck, I rarely saw somebody truly appreciate the calligraphy writers. This makes me wonder if people, with the flow of technology, have begun to forget such priceless traditions.

2 teaspoons of excitement is how I say goodbye to 2017, the year of the rooster and welcome 2018, the year of the dog. I am excited about the video calls from somewhere on the other half of the earth. I am excited to celebrate Tet not at midnight but at 9 am (we are 15 hours behind Vietnam). I am excited to watch fireworks live from Vietnam, and I am excited to say that: “Finally, the ‘actual’ new year has begun” on the 16th day of February.

Finally, endless teaspoons of homesickness are the main flavor in this recipe. I miss the time back then when I was celebrating Tet in my home country. I miss how tired my dad and I were after cleaning the whole house because we are not allowed to clean anything during the first days of New Year when cleaning means sending good luck away. I miss how my mom and I spent 8 hours shopping for the New Year. I miss how I felt that the time to go back to school came too early even though students were given more than two weeks to celebrate Tet. I miss the feeling of “richness” when I received lucky money from my relatives even when it was worth only a couple of dollars. Now, I have more money on my debit card than the total lucky money that I had before, but the feeling of “richness” is nowhere to be found….

Tet and me

I miss Tet.
I will be honest with myself and say that without doubt, hesitation or any type of implications. This feeling is simple but an incredibly intense feeling which I have never felt before I decided to come half-way around the earth, far from home. The feeling is so strong that if the emotion were a recipe, it would be:
• 3 teaspoons of happiness
• 1 teaspoon of sadness
• 2 teaspoons of excitement
• endless teaspoons of homesickness

3 spoons of happiness, is how I remember the time of Lunar New Year in Vietnam. Happiness presents almost everywhere. Even it is an avenue or a small road, a fancy restaurant or a cheap food stall, a community park or a time square, they all brighten up and decorated. Lunar New Year songs are played from morning to night. Even though the songs are incredibly old and classics that a four-year-old Vietnamese kid can perfectly sing them, their spirit never gets old. Red and yellow color coming from the apricot blossom and lanterns appear wherever you could see, bringing the wish of wealth and health. To be honest, before it could bring the wish of a new year, it already makes my happiness a little richer.

1 spoon of sadness, is how I felt the value of Tet has changed. Growing up as a city girl, never did I have a chance to cook the rice cake (Banh Chung), the traditional food during the Lunar New Year, but just had it bought from the supermarket. Although I have celebrated Tet every year since I was born, and people always hang such beautiful calligraphy writings in front of the house for bringing luck, rarely I saw somebody truly appreciate the calligraphy writers. This makes me wonder if people, with the flow of technology, begin to forget such priceless traditions.

2 spoons of excitement, is how I say goodbye to 2017, the year of the rooster and welcome 2018, the year of the dog. I am excited about the video calls from somewhere another half of the earth, I am excited to celebrate Tet not at midnight but at 9 am (we are 15 hours slower than Vietnam), I am excited to watch fireworks live from Vietnam, and I am excited to say that: “Finally, the “actual” new year has begun” on the 16th day of February.

Finally, endless spoons of homesickness are the main flavor in this recipe. I missed the time back then when I was celebrating Tet in my home country. I miss how tired me and my dad was after cleaning the whole house because we are not allowed to clean anything during the first days of New Year since cleaning means bringing good luck away. I miss how I and my mom spent 8 hours only for shopping for New Year. I miss how I feel the time I went back to school was too early although the students were given more than two weeks only for celebrating Tet. I miss the feeling of “richness” when I received lucky money from my relatives even they worth only a couple of dollars. Now, I have more money on my debit card than the total lucky money that I could have before, but the feeling of “richness” is nowhere to be found….

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