Maggie Mei-Yin Wong

the one thing i’ve been doing ever since i was born has been moving. i’ve lived in 4 different countries, 6 different apartments all in just one city. counting all the college-related moves i’ve done, i’ve moved 10 times in my life—with an error margin of, let’s say, 3, just to be safe.

if i were to one day wake back up in my childhood bed, i think i’d find myself scattered into a million little pieces all across the globe. or maybe i’d still be intact but floating instead, my mattress masquerading as an island in the middle of nowhere, everywhere, the Pacific.

home, for me, has never been a location.

home is the headboard that’s followed you all across the city, perhaps the most solid fixture in your life. it’s a guitar that is somehow always in tune no matter how long it’s been since it was last taken out of the case. it’s a closet door you never remember to close and a broken dresser that never stays that way even when you do. it’s the ever-rotating cast of posters (and the not-so-impermanent set of taylor swift polaroids meticulously arranged into a 13) on your wall and your collection of fox plushies being promoted to series regulars up on their own shelf. it’s finding little anecdotes cluing you into all the people you’ve ever been scribbled atop all of these pieces—taylor swift lyrics (age 8), twilight quotes (age 10), doodles of double helixes and golden ratios from that one summer you got really into orphan black and were determined to make science your Thing (age 13). more taylor swift lyrics (age 19). it’s your mom telling you you have too much stuff in the same breath she leaves with you movie ticket stubs and scraps of fabric and gift wrap because she knows of the stash of memories you keep in shoeboxes underneath your bed, sleeping every night perched like a dragon atop a mountain of glitter and gleam.

it’s no backyard but shared swimming pools and shared garages and scaring each other to tears playing hide-and-seek in the unlit laundry room. it’s always living on the second floor but family across the hall and yelling down at your apartment-neighbor-turned-best-friend to come up and play with you. it’s always splitting one room into two and an absence of locks on the door, but the reassurance that any ghost that tries it will get to your brother’s side of the room first.


home, then, is car rides down the 10 freeway, tires on asphalt crooning a song that lulls you to sleep easier than any lullaby you’ve ever known. it’s age-old fables in the morning and terrible political commentary in the afternoon from the cantonese radio station, and not enough sense to keep from tuning in anyways. it’s driving a little slower, or taking the long way home, or purposely missing a right turn at 5 p.m. because it’s been a lifetime in this state and you still haven’t had your fill of how the sky breaks out into a pretty pink blush every time the sun kisses the horizon. like the simple act of spinning on a preordained axis is enough cause for celebration. it’s faking sleep 5 minutes from home because you know your dad will always be there to pick you up and tuck you in. (and realizing one day that you are too big. and he is not. and then it’s writing letters to the moon in your head to please take it slow.)

it’s feeling homesick in your own room. it’s also feeling like you’ve never fit in anywhere better than on an airplane coasting lifetimes above the LA skyline.

it’s a perpetual taking of the road less traveled by and a lifetime spent trying to pin it down, that barely-there grasp on an idea of a thing.

it’s also realizing your hands were built for creating, not chasing.

Maggie Mei-Yin Wong is a sophomore from Southern California. She’s an Asian American Studies and Psychology major whose career aspirations mostly involve making coffee and watching the room change colors with the sunset. She was named after the actress Maggie Cheung and thinks that gives her some authority on what it’s like to have big shoes to fill.