An Entry For The Family
Trip Start Jul 24, 2011
50Trip End Aug 25, 2012
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The first time I came to America, I remember having the strangest feeling of what can only be described as deja vu bordering on nostalgia. I claimed it seemed as if I was 'meeting people I used to know, driving down streets we used to cruise and visiting new places we'd forgotten long ago'. A few months after I returned home I read that & thought it was the biggest piece of sentimental, idealistic bullshit, in all honesty. As if it were something I wrote to sound pretty, so I could one day look back & remember how blissfully cinematic it all felt. But the idea that I actually believed what I'd written? No chance!
But 3 years later, here I am, about to tell you all that yeah, I feel it again. This connection with the past. This absurd sense of familiarity in entirely foreign surroundings. It's a ridiculous notion but it's entirely true. There is no other way to explain it.
We've just finished clearing all the tables and washing all the dishes, putting out the bonfire, packing away the board games, handing the sleeping children over to their parents and strategically fitting all the leftovers into the refrigerator. It was a Pajerski family cook-out, and it bore an almost uncanny resemblance to the long ago nights we'd spend at the caravan park. This family is so much like mine back home, it's eerie. The older brother is exactly like my own (with a dash more self-assurance), as not only had he spent the afternoon trying to help me fix my laptop, in a completely helpful & unpatronising but still an 'I have just as little clue as you do but I just know how to google things & work it out for myself' kind of way, but also in that he spent the majority of the night surrounded by family, but clearly far more absorbed in what he was doing/playing on his own laptop. My dear host mother reminds me quite a bit of my aunt Jo, in that she's all hurried hostess business woman, and in the way that her & her daughter & parents talk about all the many countries they've visited or are planning to visit. In that they can so casually say 'oh, no I don't quite like *insert amazing exotic foreign place* this time of year' or 'yeah, we were considering going there but then we decided to just get a house in Hawaii for a week instead'. It makes me insanely jealous and filled with awe, every time. Okay, this next one, I saw the connection before I'd even been properly introduced, so it's not just out of convenience, I promise. But their Uncle John? Three guesses who he reminds me of. He's the one that kept getting into heated debates with the other family members, because he's so strong in his opinions. And while everyone else mostly just rolled their eyes, I was fascinated. Not in that I agreed with everything he was saying, but in that it made me feel so much more ambitious towards life. I suddenly wanted to get out there and be a part of life, to see more, learn more, to know more and to be able to develop opinions of my own as strong and cultured as theirs. Lastly though, is dear old Grandfather. He doesn't have quite the same lewd cheek that dear Pop subjects us to, but his presence offers the same comforting vibe. And his laugh is equally as distinctive and heart-warmingly familiar. The whole dynamic of the family is so painstakingly similar that I hardly noticed the transition from those backyard Sydney barbecues to these Chicago ones.
I think the part I love most though, is that there was that same moment for me that there always was back home. Amongst the noise of laughter and debate, of the kids squeals and the tv turned up too loud. Standing by listening as the dishes clink in the kitchen and the corks go flying out of the wine bottles. When amongst all that chaos, all that activity, there's this lull where a sense of peace descends, and the only thing to do is sit back and observe, revel in the joy of simply being a part of it all. When all over again, the realisation hits that 'this is my life now' and that brings me nothing but happiness.
The Aunt from California has come to visit, & Trace, she's you in a nutshell. I've known her for all of an hour, the better part of which we spent chatting like old friends & her offering to put me up & show me around when I travel out to LA at the end of my year. I feel like there is no chance I could have found a family more like my own here. Drama & all.
I couldn't ask for anything more than everything I have in this very moment. Life is pure bliss. ♥