February 11, 2018

New Year's Things

In January, during my second trip to Boston, I learned some very important things about travel:

1. Travel with people who have similar interests - an adventurer and a stay-by-the-pool-all-day kind of person won't get along very well.
2. If you can't do #1, designate time for space. A good one or two hours apart daily to do whatever each pleases should do the trick.

I think I had to learn these lessons the hard way (love you, Dad).

In all seriousness, time apart is necessary. We can choose our friends, but we can't choose family - your family members could be incredibly similar to you, sharing the majority of interests and travel personalities. In other families, members could be polar opposites. Grey area exists, but I think some families lean more towards one side of the spectrum than the other, and we're one of them!

Given our differences, butting heads is inevitable, especially when we're together for too long. When I'm away at school, I naturally miss my family more. During short breaks, we put our best behavior forward and leave before driving each other too crazy. Longer breaks are a test of patience.

"Distance makes the heart grow fonder", and that's especially true right now. Last night, my family gathered for an early Chinese New Year dinner, the third I was not a part of. Don't worry, there's nothing about an overcrowded table in a loud and questionably food-safe Chinese restaurant that I miss. I don't think I'd take my kids to a restaurant for Chinese New Year; I'd much rather enjoy an intimate family gathering from the privacy of a home, making our food from scratch. Yet tradition tugs on heart strings, and there's something nostalgic about taking photos with my cousins, orange/melon slices in our smiles. 

Newbury Street, the shopping street in Boston's charming Beacon Hill, was one of the places where Dad and I decided to take a breather from each other. He wandered off, spending some time in the Boston Public Library, while I window-shopped. As I flipped through notebooks in a Japanese travel store, one of the Japanese salesladies came up to me and asked where I was from. She was curious to know if I'd be going "back home" for New Year's.

The thought had never occurred to me. I often forget how important this two-week holiday is in Asian countries. Our watered down version is fun, but doesn't hold nearly as much significance. Still, it has a place in our hearts.

The same goes for family time. The past three years of being away from family has given me enough space to miss them, appreciate them in a more mature way. The times we do have together are still trying, but you know how it is with memories - we mostly remember the good ones. I think that's especially true for travel memories. The arguments over where to eat, the short fuses that blow up somewhere in the middle... Nobody thinks of those. We think of the stillness at the top of the mountain we hiked, jokes with our favorite waiters, the outrageous impulse purchases still sitting in the suitcase.

So here's to the good memories, regardless of the moods and sharp words that may have preceded or followed them. Here's to the distance that makes us cherish them.

And now, Part II of New Year's Weekend 2018:

if you missed the photos from Pt. I, you can view them here.

Christmas lights (post-Christmas) in Peddler's Village. We were here last summer, too. 

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