I’ve officially made it 6 months in another country! While I’m not technically 6 months into service (service officially starts after training) this still feels like a really big milestone. This is the longest I have ever gone without seeing family and friends in person. Sure I lived away from home while at college but home was 20 minutes away and I could make a quick pit-stop there if I felt like it. I want to take some time to talk about family-if you’re interested please read on!
Let’s start this post where it all began-my parents and my brother! Or, in more scientific terms, my biological family. These are the people that raised me-the people I grew up with. That’s not even counting the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My dad is one of seven so I’ve got a large biological famliy that’s growing all the time. My biological family was and is so important to me. I think that being away has made me realize how truly amazing they are and how much I miss them. I never thought I’d be one for homesickness but it hits hard for time to time.
Keeping in touch with them has luckily been fairly easy. My grandparents on my moms side have figured out skype so we talk weekly. One of the most difficult things about being away is hearing how my grandfather feels. He has cancer and always feels tired or sick. On the other hand I hear some things that I never would’ve imagined-my grandmother threw a surprise anniversary party for my parents and apparently she dance and sang a little! If anyone has video please send it to me. My parents and brother all use whatsapp and I’ve contacted other family through letters and Facebook. It’s nice to stay in the loop.
My parents (and family) are a big part of the reason I wanted to join peace corps. They enjoy traveling-when my dad was 17 he enlisted in the Navy and traveled a lot(mostly in a submarine but it still counts). They took me and my brother on a lot of trips, they paid for me to go to Europe while I was still in high school, and they always told me how important it was to learn Spanish. I recall a dinner with them while I was in college where my dad, seemingly out of nowhere asked if I had ever considered peace corps. I think my mom wanted to kill him but it was something I had thought about and it was nice to know it was something he could see me doing. My extended family mostly lives very close. We’re all practically in the same zip code. I love my family but I also wanted to break that mold. I want to see a little more than Maryland while I’m young and able to travel more easily. That being said I’ll be very happy to be back in a few years and catch up on everyone’s lives.
Then there’s my brother. We’re very different but we have a lot of things in common. I’ve never been an only child and I prefer it that way. Growing up with a twin assured that I always had someone in my corner. My brother is one of the best people I know. He’s creative, funny, and very driven. He’s also probably the smartest person I know. Not only that but he’s open and accepting- any issue I’m having I know I can come to him and he’ll listen even if he can’t quite understand the problem.
After I lived with my biological family I lived with my chosen family. Zac and Will, I hope you both know how much I love you. My “chosen family” are the two people I spent my college years with. First we lived on campus and then we got our own apartment where we lived for two years. They were there for so much of my growth and development and they helped to form the person I am today in so many ways. Had I not met them I’m not sure I would be considering a degree in public policy after peace corps. Not only did they help me find myself, they helped me have fun! We were the best roommate trio and I will physically fight anyone that tries to disagree. We grocery shopped together, cuddled on our couch, drank a lot of wine, and occasionally slept in the same bed because that’s what friends are for.
I can still remember the days spent in room 1411 where Will and I would watch psych and eat a ton of Chinese food. I remember the nights where the 3 of us would go to Paws at 11 o’clock to bitch about our lives. I remember when Zac and I tried (and failed) at making an herb garden. I especially remember when we got matching tattoos.
I have my ballroom family too. And my friends (admittedly mostly from ballroom) that have grown with me and helped me grow into myself. Know that I am thinking about all of you in this post. If I wanted to write about each person that affected my life it would be a never-ending story. For times sake I’m focusing on the families I have lived with. But I love you all ❤️.
Finally I have my host family. I am so thankful to them for fully opening their hearts and home to me. From day one in my community I have felt like a part of this family. They look after me the way my own family would. I can’t even count how many times they’ve told me not to open my door to strangers since I moved out. The amount of love I’ve received from them has been really amazing. And now I feel what it’s like to have a younger sister! She makes my world so much brighter and she always cheers me up. It’s interesting to watch someone grow through their teenage years and I see a lot of me as a teenager in her. It never ceases to amaze me how accepted I feel in this family and I know I’ll keep in touch with them as the years roll on.
So to all of my family, thank you. I love you all ❤️