I have an enormous family, well I guess my dad has an enormous family. Would you believe his mom and dad had 18 freaking kids!!! I really only have 1 sister, but a gazillion cousins and aunts and uncles and aunts that aren’t really aunts but I call them aunt, and uncles that have zero blood relation but somehow became a real part of the family, and it goes on, and only gets more confusing.
So, to keep it simple, let me just say that if I get married, I can either elope or look at inviting a minimum of 400 family members to the free food gathering. It’s too many people you know. Too many people to respect and love and blood is thicker than water and all that shit. It’s just too many! I tried for many years, I tried so hard. I would go and visit and spend all my savings on these long flights, only to arrive to a small town where everyone had moved on, and grown up, and done their thing. But I tried, I talked about them to all my friends and always remembered the times, many many years ago. I visited everyone and made time for tea, or lunch or dinner or all of the above so long as everyone was happy. And then one day I woke up! Voila, just like that, I realized that just because you’re family, especially a part of mine – seriously it’s too many freaking people!!!!. Doesn’t mean you and I are gonna be besties.
Family or not though, when you spend enough time or just the right amount of time with the right someone, friendships develop and bonds are made. Not because they’re family. Maybe it helps that they’re family so you have to spend an extra heaps of time with them, but because you actually genuinely enjoy them. It’s just a freaking bonus that you share the same blood, but it’s not what makes you tolerate each other, it’s just a bonus. A bonus that you can share childhood stories, or the same “crazy drunk uncle” or that time when the dude did that stupid thing!
I love to travel, and I love to be on my own. I’m away from the drama, I’m away from the stress, I live in my own lala land and I do my own thing. Out of soo many people, I think it’s a survival thing for a few of us to get away and balance it all out.
I arrived in the Middle East, with not much more than a google education and my regular, naive, open borders, gypsy, nomad, wanderer of the globe attitude. To be honest, so far it’s worked for me, so i’m still milking that cow. A cousin of mine, I think another black sheep lives in that part of the world. Hadn’t seen her in something like 10 years or maybe more, who knows, but from a social media point of view she’s kinda cool. So somewhere along the way, I grew some balls and made another attempt to reach out to my dear old family.
“Hey Cuz, How are you?? So the thing is, i’m right near you and I’ve noticed that soo many flights go through Doha, so maybe I could extend one of the layovers to give us enough time to catch up for a wine or a coffee… maybe a day or two, what do you think?”
I hit send and then a flashback of all those times a cousin hadn’t replied or god forbid hadn’t responded to my Facebook request went through my mind. I had already hit send, there was nothing left to do but wait.
I woke up to a novel and a half of thing to do in Qatar and the fun we could have if only i could ensure I arrive when she wasn’t away on her vacation with her family. She messaged me almost everyday I think until I arrived. She was there waiting for me at the airport like someone who really cared, she even took photos. I hadn’t seen her in so long, so there was that short awkward period, but she had it handled and she kept the questions going just to keep me talking. She took me out to every edge of that country, she bough enough food to feed an army and their enemies, and she came home early from work just to have that drink with me!
When you travel and you’re so far from it all, it’s easy to tell yourself a story, without hearing anyone’s side. It’s easy to become a loner and a bit of a black sheep. I went to Qatar, it was amazing and beautiful. But for me it wasn’t because of their paved roads, their wonderful deserts and their turquoise waters. For me, Qatar was amazing and beautiful, because of her and her family. My very own blood line, my very own family who stands for all that I believe in. Someone so amazing, that I can only hope that if ever I grow up, maybe, just maybe I could be just like her.