are we crazy to uproot ourselves from family, a supportive community and the ease of living in america?
over the past couple months we’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible with family and friends, starting with nate and emi driving west across 3/4 of the US with his sister, connecting with nate’s roots in the south and climbing mountains in colorado in a sort of farewell ode to the USA.
when the topic of in-laws comes up, i have very little ammunition in the battleground of complaints. nate’s parents have always been welcoming, his sisters have been kind and once emi was in the picture, there was a whole new layer of generosity and support. we left asia when i was 7. since then, i’ve lived at least a 7 hour flight away from extended family. we went back often but i wonder what they thought of us; these cousins that show up once a year with their bad chinese and awkward attempts at bridging cultural gaps. my brother was always better at this, with an innate ability to disarm everyone, from staid, older relatives to our cousins who usually just giggled and stared at us.
i always wondered what it would be like to grow up bolstered by family. to be known, to have a role established by your positioning among aunts, cousins, grandparents and siblings. i’m sure there is plenty of drawing assumptions and saying the wrong things, but there must also be a deep understanding of your place and hopefully acceptance.
it’s taken me this long to really appreciate what a great community we have here. part of moving around as a kid means that you learn to not care if you are accepted and convince yourself that you’ll make new friends in the next place anyway. as we prepare to move, i realize how thankful i am for the friends we have made. we have met some of the most generous, edifying, kind people and have been blessed by an outpouring of love and support over the past several months.
leaving america does not feel like leaving home, although learning to adapt means that most people don’t know how little america runs within me. but for my american daughter, i wonder if i am doing her a disservice in taking her away from knowing her place as loved granddaughter, cousin, niece and being surrounded by friends who love her as their own.