August 31, 2010

Well, one more week!

This is going to be a busy week. Regular classes begin tomorrow, and in a week, I leave for Canada.

I’m actually very excited about the former. I’m looking forward to seeing my relatives after so many years away. For my immediate family, it’s been a minimum of 12 years since I’ve seen anyone, and for the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins), it’s been up to 25 years. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that this many years has past. I’ve been in Taiwan, now going into my 9th year, 2 years in BC, a couple of years in Windsor, 18 years in Ottawa… a lot of years have passed.

I’ve noticed over these past 9 years in Taiwan, that family to the Taiwanese, is very important. Relatives live together. People see their extended families all the time. In Canada, for many of us, seeing our relatives every week is almost impossible. We get posted to another city, or move to another province, or just because we have our own lives and other sides of the family, that seeing our own families, is not a regular thing.

I remember growing up and visiting my relatives. Like everyone (or most everyone) we have two sets of relatives. Father’s side of the family, and mother’s side of the family. In my particular case, my mother’s side of the family was a long trip away. It took almost a day to drive from our home to my mother’s family.

With my father, it was a bit easier. We could leave in the morning, get to our relatives in an hour or so, and spend the day. At night, drive home, and be ready for school (or work) the next day.

I really got know my father’s side of the family. My father had two brothers and two sisters. One brother, Eddie, died shortly after I was born, so I didn’t know him. I have seen pictures of him from my father and grandmother, but don’t remember him.

To me, my father had one brother, Harry, and two sisters, Florence and Cathy. Back in March, my oldest aunt, Florence, passed away after a lengthy fight against cancer. Have a look at some of my blog entries at the end of March, beginning of April, of my feelings towards my Aunt Flossie.

So, on my father’s side of the family, I still have one aunt and one uncle. If my information is correct, Uncle Harry is older than dad, and Cathy is younger. The one thing that I do remember about all my father’s side of the family, is that they always seem to have fun. No matter whether we got together for a family reunion, or a Christmas dinner, getting together with dad’s family was always fun.

So as not to make my mother get upset, I think that part of the reason why I don’t feel quite as close to my mother’s family, is the fact that we didn’t visit them as often. I never really got to know my aunts, uncles, and cousins as much on my mother’s side. I’m sure that they were great people, but distance was a big problem.

I do remember a couple of trips that we went on to visit grammie and grampie Ellis. Getting going before the sun rose, dad driving along the 401 in Ontario, stopping here and there… it was a great trip. Once we got to Graniteville, Quebec, it was really fun. There’s just something about meeting relatives that you don’t REALLY know, and only seeing them every once in a while.

Visiting my father’s family was a lot more frequent. Gramma and relatives only lived a couple of hours away – at most. Seeing them on a Sunday was more realistic than traveling to Quebec. Spending a few summers with my grandmother are memories that I won’t (hopefully) soon forget.

The idea and plan of going back to Ontario, Canada to spend 3 weeks holiday, means that I will get to see a lot of my family (father’s) again. The fact that September 11 is our family reunion, has me a bit excited. I’m actually looking forward to seeing a few of my cousins and family more at this reunion, than I am at seeing my family. Don’t get me wrong – I will cherish every minute of seeing my immediate family (mom, dad, brothers, sisters), but seeing my father’s relatives again, will give me a sense of ‘belonging’ again.

One more week. I’ve been thinking of this for so long, planning my trip home, accepting the fact that while I’m away, I won’t be paid… it will all be worth it. I’ve really missed these past several years of not being in touch with my family. I tend to get jealous of seeing families in Taiwan, and in particular, Tainan, always being able to see their relatives.

The countdown begins. 7 days…


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