September 14, 2017 Cleveland, OH, USA

"Welcome to America": Maroon Blazer + Black Criss Cross Top

maroon blazer outfit, black criss cross shirt outift
maroon blazer outfit, black criss cross shirt outift
maroon blazer outfit, black criss cross shirt outift
navy tie knot shorts outfit
Blazer, LC Lauren Conrad | T-shirt, sponsored by ZAN.STYLE ($27); also on Amazon ($14) | Shorts, thrifted Mango | Shoes, Target
Photos by my brother

I received this t-shirt from ZAN.STYLE in exchange for an honest review. I wrote a more detailed post on ZAN.STYLE a couple weeks ago, but didn't get a chance to feature the second piece they sent me. I'm incredibly happy with the t-shirt--the material is so soft, and the cut is versatile and edgy. If you haven't already, take a gander at my previous OOTD with my thoughts on the site!

It's been awhile since I've written my life here. Since launching Thank You for the Tragedy, an online collection of romantic tragedy memoirs, I allot my free time to skype essay editing sessions instead of photoshoots and daydreaming. 

I've been writing, but elsewhere; I've penned my personal love tragedy, a reflection on my year abroad, postgrad fellowship essays. I've been writing, but it's been a while since I've let myself write aimlessly. My thoughts yearn to waltz across this blog again--unrehearsed, clumsy, and free.

So I'll take these 10 minutes for myself and write.


"Welcome to America," says the man passing by.

"Thanks, but I was born here..." I reply, bewildered.

The witty response always comes too late. Dang, I should've said "You, too."

On my walks and runs, I almost always greet any passersby with a smile and "Hello!"

This time, I wish I hadn't.

"Hello!" I smile at the older trio strolling through campus.

"Ni Hao," one of the men replies.

I'm too dazed to respond.

Perhaps these words are meant to be well-meaning and compassionate. Instead, they feel malicious.

If I'm greeted with "Ni Hao" before I speak, then that person has assumed my identity from my appearance. It's ignorance at best--they're not wrong, but there's much more to my identity than my ethnicity. If I'm greeted with "Ni Hao" after I speak--in English just like theirs--then they are refusing to accept me as a fellow American. That's a step beyond ignorance, and is far from well-intentioned.

The witty response never comes. Sorry, I don't speak Chinese? That would be a lie. Bonjour? Well, that would sure confuse them. But I already said hello. Have a good night? Too polite. You, too? Even more confusing, but all the better. Not you too.

"Welcome home," says the immigration officer when I clear customs in Boston.

"Thank you," I smile and tuck my navy passport back in my coat pocket, "Have a good night."

Funny how one word makes all the difference.

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