It begins with me Snapchatting my surroundings: cramped cobbled streets, Chinese letters on building facades, a warm palette of reds and yellows. This is what China looks like in my dreams. And, of course, I am attempting to capture it all via short term social media.
My first dream thought is “dim sum”, so off I go through the muggy streets in search of a tiny restaurant embedded in the crevices of the streets when I come to a square (think Washington Square Park). It’s dark. The streets are damp, and lurking in the corner is a strange figure. He approaches me quickly and attempts to drag me into a nearby apartment where a mattress fills the cramped living room nearly touching both walls. Somehow, a wooden stick (probably a chopstick) appears in my hands and I proceed to gouge out his eyeballs. CRAZY, right?? Next thing I know, there’s an elderly man sitting in the corner, almost like an apparition, guiding me through the rooms with strange proverbs. Finally, I make it out back onto the streets, shaken but proud of myself.
Next thing I know, I meet a young man who looks almost exactly like a person I know in New York, except he is bald, shorter, and slimmer. We hit it off right away and I find that he is the exact opposite of the doppelgänger back home (I still don’t know how or why I ended up in this country). I share these sentiments with him and suddenly, his room shifts into my maternal grandmother’s old house in New Jersey – this place pops up frequently as a setting for my dreams – and my paternal grandmother walks through the door with groceries in hand. She enters the room we are in and goes off on a rant, leading me to bolt out the door and somehow end up on a train platform in Harlem. At this point, it seems like I’m heading to Washington Heights to find said doppelgänger.
I don’t make it up there, instead, I’m at the wedding of a girl I haven’t spoken to since ninth grade, singing terrible karaoke and drinking champagne. At the reception, I am seated with an old boyfriend and find myself flustered and a bit agitated that I have to sit next to him when I haven’t even had the chance to shower since my transportation from China. We hold an awkward conversation and eat our first two courses until two women I don’t recognize approach the table and ask him to join them later at a nightclub. I sit back and smirk, leaning back in my chair until I fall out of the dream.
Photo Cred: Jasmine Tea & Jiaozi