Fun and heartbreak.
Friday, 07.21.2017 - 8:20 pm.

My feared July frenzy has come to an end and I'm exhausted. Last week it was a trip to Amsterdam, this week it was having Niece #1 visiting, which was delightful and a bit heartbreaking. Very heartbreaking, I should say, but I feel so numb regarding some family affairs that I only know how it feels but I don't quite feel it. 

My niece and Nephew #2 (who's living with Andrew and me for the summer) arrived from Scotland on Sunday. I worked on my PhD on Monday morning and all of Wednesday, the rest of the week I spent it with my niece. Wednesday was an unexpected opportunity, as we decided to skip the trip to London and save ourselves eight hours in a bus and six walking around an unknown hectic capital city.

I wrote a lot about Niece #1 in earlier years from this diary, when she was my only niece. Our adventures together when I'd go to Houston to visit, her breakdowns and crisis that ultimately had her parents (Brother and SIL #1) send her away from home for a while. She's now in her 20s, a kind woman with a sensible approach to life and -I think- much more in control of herself. When I saw her in December, she had a stable job and she was living with her boyfriend. She still has the job but now she is back at her parents' home. 

Yes, about all that. She thankfully broke up with that damn asshole. He hit her, but the last straw for her was when he hit her dogs. She packed her bags and returned home to find out that Brother and SIL #1 are separated. SIL is considering the divorce. My brother has been unfaithful and I'm angry at him but in a strange way; this is where I say I feel numb, but there's no doubt about what a fucking shitty betrayal he's inflicted upon someone who's been with him for over 25 years. He hasn't told anybody in my family, so we're all making plans in the WhatsApp group to meet up in Houston in December.   

I would support my SIL if she went ahead with the divorce. I'd support her if she didn't, too, because whatever she decides is none of my business and I just want her to be well. The very first picture of me after coming out of my mom's womb includes SIL #1. She's been in my life, well, my whole life, so she won't stop being family. 

My niece told me all this and she shed some tears but I'm not sure if she got the emotional release she needed. She can't talk about this with a lot of people, anyway; her brother, Nephew #1, is not quite the character I thought he'd turn out to be (he's a good kid, I don't mean he isn't). My niece seemed calm when she was talking about her parents, perhaps she had already gone through a process of her own, though it's still a recent event.

We didn't talk much about her ex, but today that I said goodbye to her at the airport, I told her to stay away from him, he is a dangerous guy. It was a quick phrase and she gave me a quick nod, but I had to say it. We're not that close nowadays but there is always a sisterly love between us, and I had to say it. 

Perhaps I couldn't be a shoulder for her to cry on, but I spent most of my days with her and we had a wonderful time. We walked around the city, we went to Liverpool, we did some shopping, we ate out, Andrew cooked delicious food. I also encouraged her to take a day off from sightseeing to take care of herself, to have some peace and quiet with no one bothering her. Now that she's living at home, she has to be there for her mom, who's dealing with the separation by being very active (she's always been a sporty person, really) and chatty. We were tired after going to Liverpool on Tuesday, so my niece stayed home on Wednesday. This house is very peaceful and quiet so I hope it was helpful for her. 

I complained a bit about the lack of work done this week in my PhD. However, life seemed to comfort me with a participant coming in today for one of my studies. This participant came out of nowhere...I mean, she saw my ad somewhere but I didn't even ask where. She wrote me, said she was interested in participating, we agreed on a time and day.

I was up at 4:30 this morning to take my niece to Manchester airport, and I returned at 11:30 for the final meeting with my research assistant. Today was the last day of another of my projects, so now I only have to revise her report, do my own analysis, and have her present a poster with our findings. My participant came in at 1 pm. By that time, I'd only had two coffees and a bit of dessert left by another PhD student in the kitchen. By 3:30 pm, I'd eaten half a sandwich and I was in bed taking a much-needed nap.

All this reminds me, I'm very hungry. This weekend I'll catch up on my writing i.e. finish the draft of my AF story, I have to submit it to the Novel contest before November! Plus other minor activities that will be dealt with once I've recovered, and getting ready for next Saturday's double feature: volunteering at Pride and hosting the Postgrad Psych Society summer party. Christ.

My niece should be arriving to the States by now. I don't know when I'll see her again. I wish her the best always. 

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