When your family doesn’t want to see you

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster that has mainly had stomach churning dips that are never ending. There’s been a move, my husband’s surgery, my husband still jobless two years later, and my brother getting engaged. I feel like I can’t fully exhale because something else is just looming to punch me in my stomach for good measure if I try to catch my breath.

There has been a plan to visit my family that got dashed because it was my idea when to see them because I could get cheap plane tickets. Now, I’m staying in the city so that I can explore it for the first time ever while they can either decide to see me, or not see me. Yesterday both my mother and my father told me to cancel my hotel, plane tickets, because what was the point of my trip? It’s a lot of money to waste on sightseeing and that they didn’t want me to come.

My emotions that were well tied up for awhile broke at the seams. I was angry, hurt, sad, and told them that my original plan was to see them and this was my last chance to do it. With my husband being out of a job for so long and his 401K officially used up my plan is to pick up every weekend to make the most money I can. This is my last chance to travel until a time I just can’t see right now. But, since they didn’t plan for me to come and this was my idea I have had them attack my plan time and time again. 

My mind teeter-totters on the edge of just doing what they say, yet my stubbornness fights against it. I have this weekend and two days off for this trip and I won’t get put on the schedule at the last second. And I want this trip for myself. I need it as a break from the relentless working and stressing loop I keep falling deeper down. But, unfortunately, I end up doubting myself as my family tries to get me to disengage from this vacation. It’s a negative feedback loop that keeps getting fed every time I talk to them.

I think I need this for my own sanity to travel and enjoy a city I love and coincidentally came from.

Family isn’t just a word

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have an uncle and aunt who technically aren’t my aunt and uncle, yet I’ve always seen them that way. And, for a while now, I feel like I’ve been playing a childhood game where I can pretend that they are my family, even though we aren’t, because they’ve made me feel like family. These two people have made me feel special, and like I was important, since I was a little girl and I’d honestly hardly ever see them.

It wasn’t until the trip where my husband finally met them that I realized I wasn’t playing a childhood game of pretending. It was real, and not only did they call me their niece but they were also super proud of it. It was a unique and awesome concept, being able to show my husband some of my family that had adopted me in. We had so much fun spending time with them, a lot of laughs, and I appreciated the time we got to spend with them.

214Now, I will be traveling back to visit them with my brother, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. My brother has asked me since I was a teenager if I wanted to travel with him to visit my uncle and aunt and I’ve just never felt I could do it. There was the difficulty of getting the time off, not getting paid for taking the time off, getting someone to cover me, and the cost of the plane ticket on top of everything else. Yet, I feel like since my move my husband and I have made a year ago I am more daring, and luckily, have an easier time getting time off to travel. This trip was pre-planned before I found out my husband would be losing his job so it takes on a deeper level of being around family during this time.

My brother has always been someone I’ve looked to for guidance in really tough times, much more so than my mother or father. My mother likes to look at me for reassurance, and so does my father, so I’ve come to lean on my brother for our rare serious conversations. There may be no serious conversations, only fun, since I will be hanging out with him and my uncle and aunt. I haven’t been laughing very much lately, truly laughing, and with being a rather positive, funny, and upbeat person it’s been hitting me.

018And, of course since I am a happy go lucky type of person everyone around me is aware of the change if I don’t cover it up carefully or if I’m not busy I will just be thinking too much of the ‘what ifs.’ When I’m thinking intensely I am one of those people who frowns or looks slightly angry so I’ve been trying my best to be preoccupied which is easiest when I’m massaging.

I thought of canceling the trip to meet up with my brother where we’d spend the time with our aunt and uncle when I found out my husband is being furloughed. I told myself it wasn’t right to be traveling, to be on vacation, to be laughing, when something so serious is going on. My husband, of course, insisted that I go and that I needed it. Truth be told there’s been a number of years I have wished I could have traveled with my brother to visit our aunt and uncle, yet, I just couldn’t and now I have the chance to. I just got back from a trip and ended up getting sick from that so I’m trying to recuperate as best as I can.

I want to lean on family during this time of uncertainty and I am going to try my best to. I’m not the type of person to let people know what’s going on in my head, what I’m struggling with, but hopefully it will be a relief and what I need.

An Icy Adventure

058Isn’t it funny how you mention you’re going someplace warm, or tropical, or a place with warm waters that no one asks you why you are going? Yet, when you chose to travel some places that are cold, and sometimes bitterly cold, you get that strange look attached to the question of, “why?” I think that my family thought since I was going to go to someplace cold, and not tropical, for our recent vacation that we were crazy. Oh, and I’d be freezing, which luckily we had some days where it warmed up… A bit.

I was even a doubter of our trip, I’d never really willingly decided to go to a cold place in the dead of winter. My husband wanted it for his big birthday, and I made sure to pack many, many layers of clothes. And a heavy coat, scarves, and two sets of gloves that became quite useful.

One of our first days involved getting up and outside, which we did immediately when we first arrived and we got off the plane. We talked about currency with one of the hotel staff, and learned about new plastic money. I thought the plastic money was a very neat idea, who hasn’t ripped paper money before and then have to put it back together with tape? Yet, the lady at the front desk told us that the new plastic money stuck together so you could end up giving more money than you meant to. I’ve always been fascinated with different currency, which is almost like an oxymoron because I’m great at money, yet I’m awful at math.

We went out in the bitter cold and I ended up doubling up everything I wore. I had a headband on, and ended up wearing a hat over the thick headband. I had not one, but two pairs of gloves on as my husband and I walked into the wind. The wind felt like it was trying to tear off any open skin we had left out for it touch.

The walk was bitter, but the reward turned out to be great. I saw the Niagara Falls for the first time in my life, while my husband was seeing it for a second time. The landscape was like a winter wonderland, and definitely reminiscent of a Christmas postcard. Snow and ice drenched the area, giving it a diamond-like quality as the sun hit it. The deep rumble of the Falls left you with your mouth open just long enough for your teeth to hurt because of the cold.

The American Falls and Canadian Falls seemed so close, and yet so far away from each other. On the American fall side rainbows rose up from the mists of the falls and the sun shining down. I was able to catch the rainbows, and even double rainbows, with my camera. The Canadian Falls were even grander, and the mists they created made the bottom of the Falls impossible to see.

091All I could keep on saying was “Wow” as I was spellbound by the natural beauty. And, of course, I was intensely freezing as I took off my gloves to take pictures and was rewarded with my fingers, and my toes, going numb. Even though the air made my lungs burn because of the frigid air I wanted to stay there longer. I’ve never seen a more beautiful scene in my life of wintertime and just love it. Trees hung over from the weight of heavy icicles, seeming to bow their branches to the sight of the Falls.

We finally had to leave and catch a cab because I stopped feeling my toes, and my feet, and so we made it back to the hotel. I promptly removed my socks and hoped this would give feeling back to my toes and found out tis wouldn’t work. As a last ditch effort to feel my feet again I out my feet in the tub and put lukewarm water in it that seemed to do the trick. I’d never felt so cold in my life, and my hands would later break out because of taking pictures for so long, yet, I’d do it all over again.

An investment worth the price of admission

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy way of spending money is actually to save it to the best of your ability for those things in life that will totally change the way you look at the world. You might be asking what can change your outlook on the world? For me at least the answer to this question has always been to travel, especially to places outside of our comfort zone. Once upon a time I had a guy I was with who made travel easy to do, but the experience would happen to be a headache sometimes.

My husband gets me and my need to travel, and he has luckily been very understanding with my trips back home to visit my family. Traveling with him is fun and can challenge us as a couple.

An example is our honeymoon where we went swimming in the ocean and I came face to face for the first time with sharks. This was about the most experience of my life and I was so excited! Unfortunately, my poor husband didn’t feel well swallowing way too much saltwater. I was having problems with foot cramps so I prematurely crawled back up on the boat and found out my husband had gotten sick. I rubbed his back and asked him if he wanted me to stay with him, but he shook his head no. He said that he knew how much I loved swimming in the ocean so I should go back in, and he was going to sit and relax on the boat.

That’s the thing about travel sometimes, the experience can be made that much more amazing when you can share it with a person you love. Every time I’ve traveled with my husband it’s been so much fun, so little stress, and I love how it can change us as a couple. We learn more about each other, or fall even more in love because of their selfless acts. Our honeymoon was a lot of money, yet it was so worth the investment.

Traveling for me can be made into an experience of relaxation if you visit a tropical paradise, a state of exploration, or even a history lesson depending on where you visit. Connecting with other travelers, locals who live there, or if my husband and I are traveling, other couples is what makes a trip for me extra special.

The places you visit where you can have that connection of meeting other people is a favorite of mine for the reason to travel. I love the differences we have depending on a certain location, or the opposite with our similarities being a fun thing to compare. I even have come to love flying because I always end up with a travel buddy on the airplane and we get to talking about our lives. This has happened a lot with me taking trips back to visit with family and I always seem to pick up a travel buddy when I’m by myself.

You never have to come if I leave

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been moved now for a good amount of time, and so you would think I would get some family visits, especially from my mother. Instead, the first person from my family to visit me in my new place was actually my brother who stayed at our apartment for a couple of days. I had the most fun with my brother and I absolutely loved showing him around this new place I called ‘Home.’

My brother and I rarely, if ever, got to hang out on a trip together without my mother making the plans and leading, so it was pretty exciting for me. Yes, nothing can quite compare to the city I came from because, to me at least, the place was iconic. But, where I live is quite stunning and very unique in its own right so it is so nice to pick and choose my favorite places, and restaurants, to take my brother to.

Of course, my mother was calling every second of the day to hear our plans and to state her tons of ideas, yet I totally was the one in charge. I took my brother to my favorite place to eat where the food is not only delicious, it’s also cut up at your table! There was also an italian place I enjoy, and another like food truck we went to that I tried for the first time and it had some amazing food. We watched a very strange movie, and had a great time even though it was a very short vacation. I can’t wait until my brother comes back to visit because it was seriously one of my most favorite times we’ve spent together as siblings.

My mother keeps on pushing me to come back to visit, especially since I still don’t have job. I especially have mixed feelings about visiting because of the fact I don’t have a job and everyone from my work always asks me. I feel like I failed every time I have to admit that no one will hire me, or even interview me, and I’ve been trying for awhile to get a job. My mothers career is one where she only has to work for a couple of days out of the week for a lot of money so she could have easily of come to visit me, yet she won’t.

And why would she, when she can get me to come down consistently to visit? Her excuse is that she doesn’t want to travel alone, but every time I travel I have to travel alone. I have had several recent travel times where I have nearly had to sleep overnight at the airport. She has traveled all across the country by herself, yet she puts this as the obstacle. I don’t think she’ll ever come to my neck of the woods and I’m enjoying my independence in this new place.

Touchy Feely Time

Being back home (and I did use the word ‘home’, it is feeling more like it) and having my husband back is a great feeling. The flight I had to get back was very unusual and they were having a system failure so there was a cattle call for people to get on the plane. This one lady looked back at me and said this was a new one which I was relieved she said that because I felt like it was extremely strange too. I got on the plane luckily and in a pretty good seat, but I was pretty much resolved that I would have to wait until the next flight out.

We threw my luggage in his car and then wrapped each other in this big, all-consuming, tight hug. I haven’t hugged much since I was back with family, and I also haven’t been really touched. You could say I’ve been deprived of touch, which is actually how I was raised in my family but now I’ve gotten used to my husband so that it isn’t the norm.

It was one of those hugs that you give when you haven’t seen someone in forever and you’re afraid that when you let go they might just leave again. We said nothing during that time but yet everything was said. I’ve missed you, I’m so happy you’re home, I’m so glad that I can hold you again like this, all the thoughts said through a mere embrace. This trip back to visit with my family has been different, like I said, because the absence of my husband was felt even stronger. This place me and my husband now live in, miles away from my family, is starting to stick to me a little more.

Yet, here we are reunited and then he’s traveling for work in a little bit for a few days. Now, I will be the one alone in our apartment waiting perpetually for him to come home yet logically I will know it’s not happening.

Why doesn’t this feel like home?

I have been visiting with my family for a while now and already this trip feels different from my last time I visited. It’s harder to meet up with my friends, everyone seems to be busy, and I just have this strange sense I can’t shake. While I love being with my family, especially with my brother who always seems to crack me up, it’s even hard seeing him his trip.

And that strange feeling I have? I think I know what it is… This suddenly doesn’t feel like home.

My old bedroom feels vacant and empty, the bed sure is a lot more creaky and seems to be much shorter for my tall body. Vegas was amazing and me and my mom had a great time there, which I will share some pictures from, but once getting back here it just feels somewhat empty without my husband.

I miss making us dinner, or even making myself lunch. I miss the horses, crazy dogs, and meowing peacock I was visiting with my husbands coworker I’d see on the weekend. Everything feels kind of backwards, where me and my mom go hunting for lunch at a fast food place instead of me making it or making dinner for me and my husband.

I will update more when I have a better functioning keyboard but for now I’m enjoying my visit though wishing I could visit more with my friends who matter to me.

A lucky teenager loving London

Once upon a time, I was homeschooled when  high school came and so I had a lot of time to myself. I took up volunteering in about every form possible and loved this, and I got the chance to travel on ‘field trips’ which were really excuses for me and my mom to travel anywhere and everywhere. If I was asked if I would homeschool all over again I would tell you I would. Even though people who hear I was homeschooled think I must be inadequate at being social and an introvert I can handle myself just fine. One of my favorite classes in college was public speaking which I ended up loving both my teacher and the thrill of standing up and delivering what I have to say.

On one of many ‘field trips’ my brother became one of the luckiest guys to be alive when he studied abroad in college on both my grandfather’s/mother’s dime and without spending any money. He traveled all of Europe, from France, England, Italy, Greece, Germany, pretty much everywhere. He went to Barcelona (which looks absolutely gorgeous!) and he went to Paris several times. My brother still likes to tease me and my mother to this day when we talk about foreign cities when he says, “Oh, yeah, I went to that city… what, you haven’t been there? Pity.”

But, my mother, father, and I went to London, England, for our own fun. My mother told him we’d visit my brother but really we were there for the sights, sounds, experience, and culture of England. We so loved visiting that we came back three months later to visit London, England again by ourselves.

I was a teenager, and in the pictures in London you wouldn’t think I’d felt too lucky. I hated the camera so I wasn’t smiling, and as I look back I was overweight and pale as a vampire. But, seeing myself in that different country just gets me excited and nostalgic about all that we did. We went to the theater almost every night and saw Starlight Express, Woman in Black, and so many other shows. Me and my mother did a red light district walk and a few ghost walks too. I learned that asking for water was not enough, I had to ask for it, “Water with no fizz, please.” Or else if I didn’t I would get sparkling water almost every time.

I rode the London tube and realized that “Mind the gap” every time we stopped and the doors opened meant mind the space between and don’t fall down into the tracks. Chips were french fries and crisps were chips, and it was all such a different world from back home but yet… it made sense. The different dialect we had to pick up with ordering and saying things was picked up pretty quickly with our second trip. Me and my mom lived off bread and cheese and didn’t really go to any restaurants.

I wish all the time I could visit London again, that I could go to Italy, France, and all over the world. It’s an experience that when you are there you can’t believe it’s happening and when the trip is over you can’t believe you did it. But, you did, and you’d go back there and experience the sights, the smells, the crowds of people and Piccadilly Circus and so many other places all over again. Plus, you’ve barely seen it all and you want to live in that moment again, of awe, disbelief, and amazement.

I remember thinking I’m so far away from what I call home, this culture may not be mine, but I want to adapt to enjoy it even better in this moment.