Saturday, 11.19.2016 - 11:13 am.
I'M GOING TO HOUSTON! Jesus Christ. I'm going to see my family for Christmas and the New Year and I'm so happy and grateful I'll get to do that.
I wasn't going. The distance and the ticket prices were too much. But I talked to my parents last weekend and I realized that both of them and my four siblings were going to be together for the New Year. And they were last year, too. Fresh on my mind was a picture of that celebration, I randomly came across it a few weeks ago while backing up my files, a picture of the six of them, with my sister holding a phone, which showed a picture of me (haha). "They're all making the effort, you know", a voice said in my head. They're all making the effort to be there, it isn't hard just for you. Though objectively, it is harder for me. I live across the pond.
I looked into prices and itineraries, they were all terrible. On top of the flight, which really is always two or three flights, there came the train and the hotel in Manchester to spend the night before. I poured my heart out to Andrew and he said "not to sound mean, but this may be the last Christmas the seven of you get to be together". Which is a possibility, something I think about every Christmas since I left home. Of course that can happen for a lot of reasons, but it's the constant cancer threat for my mom and the overall health, stable but fragile, of both my parents that keep me on my toes. This may be the last chance to have a picture of the seven of us. Hooray if it isn't but let's not take anything for granted. "So, go!".
Bless Andrew, man. He found Singapore Airlines, a flight that was direct from Manchester to Houston; affordable, as it cost the sum that I (try to) save every month out of our scholarships; and timely, since I will get up at 5 am on December 20th in Sheffield and I'll be in Houston by 2 pm that same day. Yeah, yeah, time differences and all, but it's a bus, a train, a plane, and I'm with my family!
(I say I'm with my family, but not all of it at once. I'll spend Christmas with Brother, SIL, Nephew and Niece #1. My parents, Sister, and Brother #3 arrive from my homeland on the 27th. Brother #2 will arrive with his wife and two children from New Mexico on the 30th. We'll be missing Nephew #2 -though at least I can say I saw him this year, he lived with us for six months-, SIL #3, and Andrew. The thing is, "Houston" means nothing but "seeing family" to me. ).
Then it broke my heart leaving Andrew behind. But I've accepted he just can't deal with some things, and we'll be both better off parting ways from time to time, without forcing each other. He loves my family but he gets easily overwhelmed by festive crowds. The cost of traveling, and traveling during holidays, and spending holidays with a lot of people is too much for him. There's the anniversary of his brother on December 23rd, too.
But I wouldn't have gone without Andrew, I would have stayed with him, if I didn't think he'd be fine. He will. He enjoys his time alone as much as I enjoy mine. He's very selfless in that regard, which I appreciate. I would do the same for him, I wouldn't mind staying behind for a couple of weeks if he wanted to go see his family. If he was in good terms with them, I would encourage him to go see them, like he encourages me to go see mine every year.
So there it is. I'm going to Houston from December 20th to January 4th! I haven't been there in so many years, I know everything has changed. My nephew and niece are in their fucking mid-20s! Even my Brother #1's house has changed, it was torn down and rebuilt. I'm looking forward to spending a few days being a parasite in that new site, like I was a parasite during my adolescence (but hey, while I was going at it, I did help raise Nephew and Niece #1!). Traveling to see my Brother #1 and his family during December and January, and getting together with my parents and the rest of the siblings for Christmas, are the happiest memories of my life. Not to say everything was perfect during those times (it's all in this diary, after all), but the good feelings have remained with me more than the grim ones. That's only fair.
Speaking of family: Aerosmith. I suppose I'm going to dedicate an entry to them at some point, given I'm deeply sad that I'll only be able to see them at some dumb music festival (I hate music festivals) because that's the only UK date scheduled. But anyway, I wanted to say that I had the most beautiful and heartbreaking dream with Steven Tyler. The highlight of it was that he said my name and talked to me (his voice, Jesus Christ!), and I was able to hug him hard and thank him for all that he and his band have done for me since I was 12. I say it was heartbreaking because, I'm struggling to come to terms with this, I'll never get to do that in person. You'll think it's silly but the dream and that realization bring tears to my eyes in an instant.
Oh, well. Maybe I can still be ambitious and catch Aerosmith also in Texas or New Mexico when they do their farewell tour in their homeland; I'm assuming they'll do that in 2018. Looks like I can count on Singapore Airlines to take me there in a heartbeat.
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