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Pia Besmonte

is back

From California, Happy Thanksgiving

This is the first moment I get to sit down and have some personal writing time after we left home. I am taking this opportunity to talk about family, oral traditions, and stories. From California, happy Thanksgiving.

I have been away from home for more than a week now. Traveling with an infant came with challenges, but Mango was a great travel buddy. There were less incidents than I had anticipated. The most stressful part of our travel was hearing from Auntie Zenai, who had to travel on a different flight from us. She had to go through Immigration by herself. Auntie did great and she is with us now. Enjoying huge vegetables.

Because our flights to the US were moved but our flights to LA weren’t, we had to fly right after we got here. Dexter’s dad and stepmom wanted to take us to Disneyland, or even Legoland. However, because Mango was recovering from sickness and traveling everywhere for the first time we asked to just take it easy. They rented a house in Carlsbad and we had a wonderful staycation.

They took us to Redondo Beach again, to show Auntie around. I am no foodie but I profess my love to crab from Captain Kidd’s. Dexter’s dad took us to the arcade, and admittedly I enjoyed my first time actually playing at an arcade. I have had such a serious academic life. Having my own family is teaching me wonder and the value of play.

We are now in Fairfield, at Dexter’s mom’s place. They all adore Mango. We’re preparing food for Thanksgiving.

Family

I have reached an age, a sense of self, a disposition in life where I can finally decide how I exist within and interact with family. I am no longer the youngest child who gets picked on by everybody. No longer the weird child whose interests doesn’t match with anybody else in the family. The outsider. The misunderstood.

I have come to accept my multitudes.

I will contribute who I am to my family. I will not try to shy away from building relationships. I will interact with difficult members of the family.

Oral traditions and incomplete narratives

Growing up in a big family means that I have always struggled with incomplete and untrue stories about me. My biggest pet peeve — and my family would ALWAYS do this to me — is hearing other people talk about me in front of me. As if I am a household chore that needs to be done. Or damaged furniture that must be fixed.

I have always resented my family never knowing how to talk to me in the way that considers my sensitivity and my appropriateness. Now I am strong enough to correct them with courageous honesty. And I now dictate how I am to be spoken to. Because of this honesty, my appreciation for and desire to hang out with family has greatly increased.

I even invite family over to my home more often than before.

So here is a life tip: if you don’t like the way your family knows you, regards you, or talks about you — change it with courageous honesty. Life will be so much more enriching when you don’t feel like family is an adversity.

From California, happy Thanksgiving.

May we all have a deeper appreciation for family. As well as a deeper knowledge of the (real) history of Thanksgiving.

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