This is a story about the homes one finds 8000 miles away from home. I have been living with 5 other Vietnamese where cultural barriers are non-existent.
Hieu Nguyen, Trang Pham, and Annie Hoang are all in art schools so they often help each other with work.
We know to leave shoes outside the door as we've been taught to do.
Unconsciously or not, we interact and understand each other with much less effort and more comfort thanks to the absence of language barriers.
We shop for grocery almost exclusively at the Asian market in town where the most authentic ingredients can be found.
No matter how comfortable we're each other, we have to make sure finance is a fair matter. Annie and Trang are dividing the grocery charges.
Food is the easiest way we can all connect with home so cooking together is an important activity.
Signature Asian dishes, such as the Korean Bibimbap in this picture, are always everyone's favorite.
Annie cracked up after her boyfriend/our honorary housemate Phang Lim made a joke in Vietnamese, which she has been teaching him since they've been dating.
Every Thanksgiving break, Hieu and I come to Philadelphia and stay with our best friend Quang, who's working his tie in the picture. This year, he's living with 6 other boys.
All of us know each other because we went the same high school with us back in Hanoi. I call the place a Vietnamese frat house because of how messy and dirty it is. From the left, Quang Pham, Tung Nguyen, and Quang Do prepare to go a fancy brunch as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Gaming is the hottest topic in this household as all of them are into gaming, especially an online game called Dota. Tung and Quang play as a team, a winning team.
Phat Le goes to Yale but he is also staying with us during break.
Phat helps Duc Lu with his tie as they are dressing up to go out.
The boys smoke pot all the time, especially during break. Duc helps Quang with a bowl.
Dinner often looks like this when they're lazy or too into games: rice, boiled pork belly with soy sauce in the red party cup. They're playing cards, drinking and smoking later.
After the Thanksgiving brunch, they really look forward to have their pictures taken for they only look this nice once in a while.
They wait for the Uber in front of Zara to get back home.