Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I watched his dad, so proud, so overjoyed, so at peace, to bring his son home. So much said without words. That pride, that sense of belonging, that immense depth of love that knows no words...I understood, as I watched, the weaving of emotions and the display of what it means to be called your own.

How do you describe the love? What it means to be loved so incredibly much? To be wanted so incredibly much? To be protected so incredibly much?

I called home. In the middle of another festival, another tradition of grandkids calling home and passing the phone to every single relative. An overwhelming experience. My big tough strong uncle who cried as soon as he knew, my grandma who's counting down the days, my mom and dad who have probably told everyone they know and then some more.

And so I made plans, to fish with my uncle for the very first time, a promise he made so long ago when my world was falling apart. The promise he made that brought so much comfort, not in the words or the actions but by the emotion behind it, the understanding. Come home he said, and so I am. I'm coming home and he's making good on his promise.

I made plans to build furniture(?!?), to do things I would normally never do, to explore, to live a little, to go above and beyond my comfort zone.

I made plans with my grandma to stay, to have her close and to go out and do all our favorite things together. To be there for her, to love on her, to entertain her.

I made plans with my aunts, who make delicious and fabulous dishes. They inquired and prepared and made a mental checklist. Sweet and sour ribs? Crab in sixteen different sauces? Noodles? Prawns? Asam fish? What else? What else? And I laughed and laughed as they threw out all of my favorite things, because I was so deprived, wasting away. It made me chuckle as they went round and round naming all the different foods because as one of us, as part of this family, you know that we are definitely fed. We are loved passionately and so deeply, and there's no denying that.

My mom, who is so incredibly excited and probably has my schedule planned well into the next six years, of holidays and elaborate dinners, of shopping excursions and mother-daughter things. The intimacy, a bond nothing else can come close. I have missed this, I have missed her.

My dad, who started looking at new houses as soon as I said I was coming home. The prodigal daughter returns and damn straight he's going to make sure there's room. He's quiet, but don't let the silence fool you, the silence roars. I laugh at the outlandishness of all of it, because really, we have three floors, how many more rooms do we need? But most of all, I am touched by his understanding. I am incredibly floored and humbled that he respects my need for space, my need for mine to be my own. I get it, I get it completely but more than that, it's that he gets me. I am not a guest, I am his daughter, and his daughter will have her room, her space. Without talking about it, he has understood, that it is pivotal for me to make decisions, to make this my own. I asked for just a room, to be able to decorate it how I wanted, to be able to claim it, to have some semblance of control in the chaos that will happen but he went far and beyond that. I love him, I love the way he loves me, this act of love, floors me. This act of love, makes me so incredibly proud to call him my dad. But what's better is knowing that even if he didn't, I would still be so proud to call him my dad.

And my brother, my koko, who has these elaborate and crazy plans on how we will conquer the world together. I have missed him, and I am so excited to get to know him better, to live together again for the first time in ten years, to just be that sister that just thinks the world of him and yet be able to prove myself, be able to make him proud, be able to work together. He has always been my hero, we have always respected and admired our individuality. The reason why we are great together is because we are so different. Yin and Yang. We may fight, and we may have drag out knock down fights and have completely different opinions, him the sensibility and me the heart, but at the end of the day, I know he's got my back and you're damn right I've got his.

I may be a grown woman, I have lived on my own for a long time and I may have moved across the world and have my heart completely smashed and be jaded and scarred and rebuilt. I may have had all these experiences and come full circle but I will always be their little girl. I will always be tachel or riecher or aputita or yowser or mei mei or so chiun or ra-ch-eal.

I have fought so hard to get here. I am scared and excited and overwhelmed about what's to come but I know I am also so incredibly blessed to have family. A safe place to land. A place to called my own.

"Other things may change us but we start and end with family.” -

Anthony Brandt