Explaining my living situation to people has the tendency to turn into long story. There’s a lot of back story about migrating with the family to Vancouver in 09 and some moving back and forth over the years, so to keep it simple: I’ve been living with my older sister in Vancouver for the past 4 years while 4/6 of the family are back in Manila.
The times we all have together have been nothing short of amazing. For the one to two months of the year that we do have together, we try to make the most of it. In previous years we’ve met up in different corners of the world — from Australia to Ireland to Japan. We all share the love of traveling, so there’s no better way of bonding.
As great as it is traveling together, what I’ve come to learn from living apart is that the little, seemingly mundane, moments make all the difference. Little things like Sunday family lunches at Lola’s, celebrating good grades at CPK, face mask nights, Yellow Cab movie nights, sports-filled Sundays playing badminton or swimming, and three-hour dinners. Those were little things that made up our “family routine” as we were growing up…and those are the moments I miss most.
Over time Patch and I have developed little routines of our own here in Vancouver. We have Sunday brunches at Burgoo (#blessup Dos Diablos sandwich), catching a movie in Fifth Avenue cinemas on Saturday afternoons with our white cheddar popcorn, watching Scandal and Survivor on Thursday nights, walking along Kits beach on sunny days, late-night Tim’s coffee runs, SNL nights, and dance parties in the kitchen. These little things have made up our routine for our family of 2.
It took a while but over the years we’ve made Vancouver our home away from home. But there are still times when homesickness hits hard. It’s when we miss out on the big things. We’ve missed out on a lot — birthdays (dad’s 60th), Emil’s HS graduation & prom, beach trips, baby showers, deaths & funerals, family parties, etc.
The most recent one was Emil’s HS graduation. It was Friday night and I was at my desk studying for a midterm (#rowdy). My phone kept buzzing cause Pia was sending me real-time photos and videos of the ceremony. She was sending videos of him crossing the stage, taking photos with his friends, photos of our old GS stomping groups (zobel4lyf). And yet the room was so quiet. It’s was weird to be sitting at my desk when there was a monumental family event happening on the other side of the world (yes i’m being dramatic). It sucks. Missing out never gets easier. There’s a lot of family photos that require photoshopping me and Patch in.
As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Truly, constantly missing each other makes the times we have together that much sweeter. I appreciate my parents’ advice more, try new things with my sister, spend more time with my brother even if it means talking memes and hamilton (google search: how 2 bond with a teenage boi). Ultimately, I’m just more present when we’re together. It’s easy to take family for granted because you’re with them day in and day out for years and years. It’s easy to develop a short fuse when you’re trying to find your own space in a crowded house. It’s easy to occupy yourself with more interesting things to do on your phone during dinner. As for me, I’ve been talking to them through a screen for far too long, so I’d rather soak up the moment. Take it from me, enjoy it.
Enjoy the little moments.
I can’t wait to be reunited with them in 2 days. (Although it doesn’t feel that soon cause I still have to get through my MBB final exam *cue tears*)
The 4 months apart have been long enough. Pia’s got a long list of movies for me to watch and Emil’s got a new girl to tell me about. Mom and dad, well I just miss them.