mid-autumn is one of my favourite holidays. it’s also one that’s filled with endless memories: my big white rabbit lantern with its bright red eyes and fushia-lemon stripy bottom. my sisters and i used to have different lanterns every year, sometimes mum makes one out of pomelo skin; sometimes we buy them from the little chinese incense stall at wan chai market; and other times we fight over see-through plastic ones in the shape of our favourite cartoon characters. we would buy them well before mid-autumn and look after them like our own babies and as soon as the moon comes out on mid-autumn night, we’d eat dinner extra-quickly and run downstairs to light our lanterns with our neighbours on the streets.
one mid-autumn night, our family was having a barbecue under a clear starry night. i was ten years old, happily eating my last honeyed chicken wing. the moon was out and the fire was slowing burning out. it was then, out of the clear blue sky, my father asked if i would go study in the uk. it was as if time had frozen all of a sudden and each word he’d said rang and echoed back and forth. when my brain finally got to processing it, two pools of warm water had already filled the bottom of my salty eyes and all i managed to do was to shake my head with a soured runny nose. it was as if i had known all along that they would send me off to practice courage in some country, someday, and that mid-autumn night was the day.

despite the little teary hiccup that mid-autumn. it remains one of my favourite holidays. after all, it turns out britain and i get along rather well. and who could turn down that lovely juicy moon that looks sweeter than ever on mid-autumn? it’s been eleven years since i’d spent mid-autumn home but this year it’s extra special because my favourite person in the whole wide world is here with me on this special night, she is my baby sister, the sister who used to drag me out of bed and nagged me to play with her during the weekends; the sister who i blamed for the graffiti on the living room wall; the sister who i tricked into playing doctor and patient so i could stay in bed while she played doctor. this year, we grocery shopped together, we hang lanterns together, we ate sweet sesame rice balls together, we laughed and danced and sang and slept, all together under the big white moon.