I was sitting at the front passenger seat of the tiny car that we rented. We just finished a hike, and was looking for a dinner place with good beer. That’s what we always do when we travel together, the entire Vaz family, beers and laughters and gossips and sometimes, a little bit of drama. We were traveling in a few cars, just like how we used to when I was young. My skinny sister Michele and Mama was in my cousin’s car. My two nieces were arguing at the back seat, little (okay, not-so-little) Denise was laughing at her elder sister for getting to the peak slower than her when we were hiking. My eldest sister was asking me questions about my life in Canada. I was patiently answering her questions as I helped Papa navigate the route through Google maps. Surprisingly, he wasn’t agitated by the noise level in the car and was quietly driving. Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer was lightly playing on the radio.
Although chaotic, I was enjoying the moment until my alarm rang. I woke up before we got to our dinner place. It was a short dream, or maybe I only remember this short part of the dream, but I’m contented. It’s been a year since I last met my family in person, and the homesickness is finally kicking in. It all started when I was watching Dallas Buyers Club and realized that the skinny Matthew McConaughey looks exactly like my dad when he was younger. I cried so terribly seeing his resilience in fighting the disease and the FDA, he reminded me so much of my dad (not the AIDS of course, the look and the alpha male personality).
I wasn’t intending to go home this summer or the coming winter, and I think that I am sticking to my plan. It is a challenge I set for myself, to not see my family for 2 years until my graduation next summer. Instead of spending my money on air tickets to go home, I used them to travel instead. It’s just absurd that the price of my air tickets alone can cover for my accommodation and other traveling expenses if I were to travel around here. And sadly, I can’t afford to do both with the tight student budget that I am on. Sigh, why am I studying so, so, so faraway from home again?
It’s not as though I am depressed or crying every day over homesickness. I’m taking a good care of myself here, keeping myself healthy and busy with things and people that I love. I just miss spending time with my family. The early morning thosai breakfast and the midnight teh tarik sessions when we get to spend time chatting with each other and catching up with life. I know that as I am experiencing new things here in Canada, I am missing out on my family’s life too. The white hair on my parents head is growing and my nieces are going through puberty, I have been missing birthdays and weddings and festive celebrations, but c’est la vie, there’s always a pay-off in whatever decisions you make right?
I am so thankful for the technology these days. I talk on the phone with my mum almost every night via Facebook call. I can easily Facetime with my family if I want to, and our family group chat in Whatsapp is always making me laugh. Like today, 9-year-old little Denise just announced that she’s making videos and posting them on YouTube. Even though it’s a little terrifying to see the unedited video with bad angles that gave her a double chin, I am so incredibly proud of her for being so brave and throwing herself out there. Not many kids are as brave as her, not even me when I was her age! I’m so, so thankful.
I am really lucky to have such a loving family, one that is so supportive and is always there for one another. Although I won’t get to see them until next summer, I am really grateful that our virtual connection is sticking us together. I know that this blog post is mainly about me and my family, but I hope that by sharing my homesickness story, those of you who are living with your family, or are back home for the summer with your family, will be reminded to appreciate your loved ones more. Do me a favour by giving them a hug, making them a meal, or sucking it up and not arguing with them today okay? Take care, and I’ll get back to a more formal blog post alright?