by Alex Tran
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
“Lunar New Year.”
An alarm popped up on my laptop screen, the way it would for an assignment, class, meeting or work shift. I was scrambling my way through the mountain of homework after the first week of class, getting ready for the second and undoubtedly even more stressful one, while replying to emails with varying levels of politeness.
This is not how I remember my previous Lunar New Year’s eves. Coming from Vietnam, Lunar New Year, or Tet Nguyen Dan (Tet) in Vietnamese, has always been a special occasion for me — a time of reunion, remembrance and reflection. Cheesy alliteration aside, it was a time of rest. I used to get two weeks of break from school and homework, which I spent cooking with my mom or gardening with my dad before we lay in bed for a whole week watching Tet-themed TV shows while waiting for meals that produced leftover specialties.
Now, instead, my Tet is a short call with my family so we don’t end up crying in front of each other, after which I glue my eyes back to the computer like I would any other day of the year.
To be fair, I was lucky enough to have a sign language Zoom class when the new year came, during which I watched the annual Lunar New Year’s eve TV show in full. Lunar New Year is not listed as a religious holiday at NYU — and it is certainly not religious — so asking for a day off could be seen as lying to my professor. And regardless of the reason, it’s still the student’s responsibility to catch up after missing a class. Being the lazy nerd that I am, those two reasons are enough to deter me from sending that email.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.