Families and Fat Cats

Monday is at my doorstep. Time to finally put on some pants.

Twas the pleasant and much needed Thanksgiving break this week. We drove up our usual route to Chicagoland to visit my family, accompanied by the usual crop of windmills that we always pass by.

It feels like it was yesterday when I saw those windmills for the first time. It was a cold and gloomy November morning in 2009, much like this year’s, as we drove for four hours with just some printed Google maps to guide us. My sister and I were still in high school, and had been living in the country practically by ourselves for three years. We knew of our father’s side of the family, but hadn’t heard anything about them for 15 years. We had spent every previous Christmas alone, perhaps cooking a special dinner for ourselves. When we both started dating, we would part seperate ways for the holidays and I spent my Christmas night at the local Japanese restaurant eating eel and sushi with my then-boyfriend. So much for holiday spirit.

Why did it take so many years? Perhaps we were scared that we wouldn’t fit. After 15 years of absence, you can’t just abruptly add-on family members like accessories. Maybe we were finally driven by a desire to fill a void, to cure an emptiness that haunted my days, unnoticed. Everyone around me had loving families and people who supported them no matter what. I was alone.

Even though I didn’t remember my grandparents anymore, our first encounter drove everyone to tears. It was then that I realized there was familiarity to my grandmother’s scent, the way it smelled like a mix between cigarettes and old purfume, and my grandpa’s abnormal thumb, which I must’ve stared at furiously as a child. Old childhood memories are always there, it just needs retrieval cues.

Ever since that lovely winter, we go back and visit whenever we can, hoping to make up for lost time. There’s still so much to tell them and so much to learn about them. I don’t know how I would’ve survived my first year of college without having them in my life. They have become my motivation.

Over this Thanksgiving, we also visited the wonderful (and freezing) city of Chicago. I absolutely love the city – the air, the tall buildings, the scurrying people – it’s all so beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the rain (more like misting, squared) and strong winds, I didn’t want to risk damaging my camera. So the only pictures I ended up being able to take were of Giordano’s amazing pizza. My sister and I destroyed a whole pizza by ourselves. I’ve never had anything so delightfully cheesy before.

Hoorah Chicago!

I’m going to end with a picture of my grandparent’s adorable obese cat, Sweety.

Happy Holidays!

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