My boyfriend and I made these Chinese knotted lanyards during the last Chinese New Year. Now they hang on our apartment wall as symbols of luck and prosperity. For me, they also represent my multicultural life as a US citizen who is still tied to her Chinese roots. I am a first-generation American in our family; my parents immigrated to the US in the early 90s and settled down in New York. We later moved to Seattle, Washington, but now I have found myself back in New York, and time has taken a circular characteristic when I look at the lanyards on the wall. The process of making them by hand, carefully holding some parts of the cord while slipping other parts through them, echoes the careful and patient way my parents constructed a life for us in the US. An apartment to a home, Queens to a suburb to the west of Seattle, Master Degrees to new jobs in America, there is a steady progression of building towards the finish line inherent in the immigrant experience. Our lanyards on the wall serve as a reminder of both the hard work of my parents as well as a signifier of the next chapter of our story in America, that I will carry on.
– Lee Xie