Day 25 & 26: The Man and the Weekend with Family

Oh blog, how I have missed you. If I haven’t given you the attention and care you so rightly deserve please believe it’s not for lack of want. I am still in the process of making blogging a part of my daily life, but the imprint has definitely been made already. Eventually I imagine, and hope, that to blog would be like to breathe. Essential to every day life. The same thirst for life and adventure that fuelled my experiences before so I could share with my partner, I want to feel again to investigate and flesh out here on the pages of this blog. I am slowly replacing all those external motivators with more internal ones, reminding myself to life for my own purpose and my own growth. In the process I am also conditioning myself to make blogging and writing a reflex. Just like anything else though, it takes time and practice. Like learning to catch a ball. Slowly. Surely. The hand gets more conditioned, the eye becomes quicker, the action becomes second-nature. Soon I will be able to call myself a real blogger and I am excited for it. I’ve never so regularly and consistently exercised and stretched my mind.

Thank goodness for the warmup and the routine though. Otherwise how would I have been able to get through this weekend. It wasn’t a bad weekend at all by any means. In fact I’ve had an incredible past two days. But if it weren’t for this blog, those memories and thoughts would have been blurred, weakened, lost forever. Without this blog I wouldn’t have had a place to safekeep everything I’ve learned.

I am slowly becoming less and less of a stranger to those around me. Still working on the feeling of being a stranger in my own company, but this weekend I felt more familiar and connected to family that I very rarely ever see and ever thought I would get a chance to really know. Saturday and Sunday I got to spend some great times with family and friends.

A new escape room experience opened up in the next town over so I took my cousin and aunt there to try it out. I discovered an intensely self-assured and competitive side of my normally very reserved and withdrawn cousin. We were 99.5% done with the puzzle, and just failed the very last lock to open the door because of a frustrating triviality. C’est la vie. Everyone enjoyed themselves and turns out we make a pretty good team. Dinner was at a hibachi place with myself, my cousin, and friends. They all learned just how much sake I can take in one gulp as the chef squirted sake from across the room into my mouth and I learned that my brother has the best eye-mouth coordination I’ve ever seen. Those zucchini didn’t stand a chance. And then playing pool at my favorite pool hall. The Japanese food, the pool, I was grasping at what straws I had from my minimal interactions with my cousin back in the Philippines. With some degree of luck all these straws had held up over the test of time and were still interests so overall I’d say a successful and fun night. But the craziness didn’t happen until we got back home. I invited her to have drinks with my friends as we are wont to do on our Saturday nights and to my pleasant surprise she took up my offer. It started innocently enough. An Orange Blossom to begin with for everyone: gin, honey, orange juice. Simple. Sweet. A nice digestif, the acidity helps to cleanse the palate after our hibachi meal. Then we kick it up a bit. The strongly named Blood and Sand. Scotch, Maraschino liqueur, sweet vermouth, and orange juice (I like to work in themes). We’re talking, sharing stories, and then we decide to play some drinking games. Then the night gets blurry. There are a lot of games and a lot of shots. I take a good amount, and my cousin does too. She doesn’t like to lose, which fuels even more games, which she then loses. I see a whole new side of her. We are loud, excitable, laughing. I share stories about Las Vegas, the drunkest my friends and I have ever been. We go into the late late hours of the night, later than I’ve ever been up with my family, but a norm for my friends and I. For one night, I feel like there is an actual connection between my cousin and I. I don’t see a stranger or feel like one either. Definitely one for the books. And the wallet. One bottle of tequila, one of Canadian whiskey, and one of vodka down.

Sunday is all about the power and the pleasure of domesticity. I take cousin #2, the older one who’s been here now for about a year already for her own school, grocery shopping to begin her culinary education. There is a beautiful circularity here. I started cooking when I was in middle school, learning to make a traditional Filipino breakfast of egg (itlog), sausage (longanisa), sweet cured pork (tocino), garlic rice (singangag), and shrimp chips (kropek, cutely named for the crackling popping sound it makes in the pan). Now here I am teaching my Filipina cousin to make a French omelet. We do the whole gambit. Grocery shopping. Going over how to choose fresh ingredients that are in season, what essentials to always have in a well-stocked pantry, even going through picking up some kitchen appliances and wares. Hopefully also sharing some knowledge and appreciation. See she and I are of different persuasions. For me, domesticity is freedom, strength, independence. Domesticity is living. She still sees it as an obstacle, a necessary evil in order to get on with her life. The point I’m trying to illustrate to her is that there is a great sense of joy and accomplishment to be had in being a domestic goddess. Hahah. I am visiting her in her apartment in the city this week to continue the culinary education. Next step: stir-fry and braising. It’s a six-floor walk up with no air-conditioning. Today it was 98 degrees. I’m going to be miserable. The things we do for family, eh?

I’ve never denied the importance of family. But I never missed the family I never knew. Now I have the chance to actually get to know some of my cousins. I’m grateful for that because it is a relationship I didn’t have before and that I can now grow. And if it weren’t for this blog, no one would know, and I would forget, and maybe I wouldn’t chase this experience as readily and enthusiastically as I do now.

Day 25 and 26

Man: 20 Loneliness: 6

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