Let’s hear it for extended family! Yay.
Okay I admit there’s a bit of sarcasm there. But I do have extended family over this weekend and I am learning to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity.
Aside from my parents and my brother and a few distant relatives, the majority of my relatives are all still in the Philippines. We’ve visited maybe five or six times in the past, but I haven’t been back in maybe four years now and I’ve never really felt…connected to my relatives whenever I travel there. Part of the reason is I always feel like a passenger, a passive observer, rather than an active participant. It doesn’t matter what kind of career I have back at home, or what form of independence and self-drive I enjoy here, when I am there I revert to this teenage version of myself, self-aware and insecure, a stranger in a strange land, and always at the mercy and itinerary of others. Because of that I’ve never really been able to experience my stay on my own terms.
It’s different on this side of the world though. I have my cousin visiting for a weekend before she heads off to Cornell to pursue her MBA. I was able to take her and my brother to lunch this afternoon, and tomorrow we are going to do an Escape Room, hibachi dinner, and play pool with my friends. I’ve been able to sit down with my cousin for once and actually exchange stories, learn about each other. In suburban New Jersey I’ve been able to learn more about the country where my family is from and the family we left behind.
We have a lot of family back in the Philippines. And I mean a lot. It doesn’t particularly bother me whether or not I get to know them well. But for those I have a chance to I certainly don’t want to feel I’ve missed out. There are now two cousins, both from the same family interestingly enough, who are here for their advanced degrees in their respective fields. These two could not be more different. One a practical business major, the other an artistic soul with her head almost always in the clouds. It has been quite the experience getting to know them both. Definitely goes a long way in my goal of nurturing new and existing relationships while I remain single. It’s nice to have the comfort of familial relationships to add to the very small circle I maintain here back at home.
Man: 18 Loneliness: 6