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An Open Thank You Letter to My Big

I cannot believe it has been two years since I have met you because it feels like we already have a lifetime of memories. I still remember my first impression of you. I really have to thank Lillian for dragging me out to that first TASA event (my beloved Taiwanese American Student Association at UCSB), and we talked outside Hana Kitchen (our favorite wannabe Yoshinoya). 

I tell every stranger we meet this story, even though I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it. I didn’t like you at all, at first. Second-year you were loud, obnoxious and opinionated as you jumped around in excitement. Essentially, everything that I dislike. 

Walking away from the restaurant I generally liked everyone I met, except you. The second time I thought it was just a general meeting, but it turned out to be Big and Little Speed Dating. I didn’t even know what a Big was, but here we were speed dating, freshman on the outside, returning members on the inside. We were all trying desperately to find someone that we thought we might like. 

I remember talking about Game of Thrones to someone else, you heard from across the courtyard, dashed up to me and joined the conversation. Once we realized how similar we were, and that we were passionate about the same things, we knew we had found our match. 

As per tradition, you tricked me into thinking someone else was my Big for a while. As soon as the truth came out though, we smiled and laughed, eating the snacks we had just gifted one another (gummy worms and Slim Jims), watching the rest of Big Little Reveal. 

It’s been two years since that day, and honestly it has been a wild ride.

You are my brother from another mother. The social butterfly that you are, pushed me to meet more people than I bargained for, like Sophie your girlfriend. I was so excited for you guys to start dating, and when you finally did, you forced us to hang out. It was the first opportunity in which I got to know her, and I am so glad it let us develop our own close relationship. 

Like my Twin, Michelle, with whom I prove opposites attract. Then you picked up four additional people my second year and two more people after I transferred to UCLA. I don’t know any other idiot that has eight Littles, but you make it work. At first I was nervous about sharing you with other people, anxious about accepting strangers into our tight-knit family. Nevertheless, you proved to me that while in good company, I have the capacity to love many people. I still claim I am the favorite Little. 

During our time together you have taught me, in your own way, what a good Big is. Formally, a TASA Big is meant to teach his or her Little the ins and outs of TASA and of college, to act as an older sister or brother during a Little’s college experience. You have ensconced yourself into my college experience, and after my transfer to UCLA, I must say it is definitely not the same without you. 

In terms of TASA, the club, I don’t remember if it started with you inspiring me to get more involved or if I motivated myself. Either way, becoming involved with the Executive Board and becoming treasurer in my second year brought years rich full of experiences and memories.

In terms of my college experience, where can I even begin? The first few months you were always coming over to my dorm, and we did all kinds of things together: study, watch Taiwanese dramas and Spartacus, learn Kpop dances, and have late night chats. We played Smash together and ate numerous dinners together. You were there that night I drank to comfort my lovelorn heart, and took care of me when we realized I am actually deeply allergic to alcohol. 

We constantly discuss movies, TV shows, books, politics and school. I did not realize how alike we were until our president Ellen said one day, “When Ryan and you talk, you guys are like the same person!” I will also never forget the day you introduced me to your roommate, telling him, “She’s basically me, but with a work ethic.” 

You and I are not that great at keeping up on social media, and you have never said to my face you love me, unless you were drunk. However, if I was ever stranded somewhere and needed help, you’d be the first person I would call. You and I are similar in that way, we do not tell the people we love them when we do, in fact, love them. We prefer to spend boatloads of time with them instead, saying in our secret language, how much we do care. 

It is because you have been such a good Big to me, that I have tried to do the same for my own Littles, Eric and Peggie. The relationship the four of us have is irreplaceable to me, and I all I can say is I have you to thank for it. I learned from the best. 

You were the first person at UCSB I told I had applied to transfer, and your immediate support meant more to me than you could have known. It was not that I did not love TASA and my friends; it was not that I was ungrateful for all the memories I had made. Transferring to UCLA seemed like the correct choice for the sake my career, it was an opportunity too good to pass. You seemed to understand without me explaining it. You were also the first person to find out about my acceptance to UCLA, standing over raw chicken, equally as nervous as me. Even in the midst of our preparations for Night Market, you shared my excitement about the acceptance, and apprehension about my leaving.

While we were cleaning up the end of our Night Market that year, I almost wept. I remember standing on the steps in front of Storke Plaza, looking down at all the members, the lights still shining and suddenly realizing this was my last Night Market. All of sudden the lights blinded me. 

It was the last year that I would contribute to uphold this wonderful tradition. You and I had helped make it happen, and I was turning my back on it all in pursuit of something else. Knowing you would remain while I left you behind felt like I was my turning back on you, like the ultimate betrayal. “Should I stay? Can I stay?” I asked myself, but I already knew the answer. I knew you would never let me stay, you who have always pushed me to go forward. 

Now you are a fourth-year, and one quarter away from graduating. As a second-year, you were a brilliant, yet unmotivated boy, who had big plans for himself, but didn’t quite know what they were. I know you love college, but it’s time to move on. Now it’s my turn to push you forward.

Two years later, and you have finally made a path for yourself. You’re in the middle of interviews for your post-grad job, and I am so excited for you. Even though you’ll be moving away from L.A., always know that SoCal is your home. Like you said, we’re Más y Menos from Teen Titans, we speak our own language and rely on each other to fight our enemies. Thank you for everything that you have done for me, taught me and pushed me to do.

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