(I’ll admit, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch made me cry.)
Growing up, I always felt like my (mother’s) family was so small. Friends would often have large gatherings with extended families and mine was tiny. I knew it was because most of my mother’s family lived overseas, and we weren’t that close simply because we were physically so far away. Traveling there over the past few years, I was shown such generosity and unconditional love that I’m not used to, that we don’t show in the States. Now don’t get me wrong – I love my family in the USA, but the family culture, bond and love overseas is truly something else that Americans just don’t have. To be treated like royalty by some people I had never even met was truly something else.
I have been so fortunate enough to spend time with my extended family and go back to my roots, the places where my family comes from. My trips only solidified the strong connection I have to my family’s past.
This past week, two of my cousins from overseas visited the USA and stopped in New York for a few days. I hadn’t seen them in four and a half years. While their visit was short, it’s always so magical to see them. It feels surreal, like it was a dream that may not have actually happened.
Having family on the opposite side of the world and being so close to people who live clear across the globe is nothing short of difficult. Goodbyes are never easy. It’s always, “Until next time!” And it always gives me even more reason to want to travel, because there are so many familiar, loving faces to see. No matter the distance and no matter the time that passes between visits, this is my family.