The so-called "Chinese New Year" isn't only observed in China, a fact that my Korean mother would like to remind me when I got excited about dragon dancers in elementary school.
The sign says "Denny’s" in a red font that’s jauntier than you may be accustomed to. The first question you’ll likely be asked by a young woman in a uniform the color of mint chocolate chip ice cream will be “Smoking or not?” And then you’ll get a whiff of an all but extinct smell, eau du diner—a griddled aroma with a top note of stale smoke.
When I woke up earlier this week, my stomach was churning, as if a snake was uncoiling in my belly. While it’s not an unfamiliar feeling as of late, that morning's feeling of nausea and tummy troubles certainly was. Whether the uncomfortable sensation is caused by nerves, anxiety, too many cocktails the night before or lately, a tiny human growing inside me, it always remains the same.