Hi from TX (reprise)
Tuesday, Jun. 04, 2019 - 11:43 pm.

After pouring my heart out last entry, everything improved, so I feel compelled to come and talk about that. Of course I do not enjoy feeling detached from my family. 

Over the weekend, Brother and Sister-in-law #1 had some time off to take us places (us: Andrew and I, my parents, and my sister). On Saturday afternoon, we headed to a beach in Galveston. We spent a few hours sitting or walking in the sand until night fell. It was lovely, it was great. I got lots of nice pictures of my family and of the sunset. 

My dad seemed to be enjoying himself a lot, which is a rare sight. I sat next to him, both of us on a folding chair, and we talked. Just silly, non-trascendental stuff, which is fine by me. When night came, around 8 pm, we headed to a burger joint near the beach and finished our trip with burgers and fries. It killed my stomach by midnight, but what a joyous time it was. 

On Sunday, we went to IHOP for breakfast. I'd promised Andrew I'd take him out for a big, fat breakfast. Niece #1 (Brother and SIL #1's twenty-something daughter) joined our group for that. Great family times, like in the good ol' days when Niece and her brother where just kids. And then we went to Costco to buy stuff for Brother #1's 50th birthday celebration that night. 

The preparation for this celebration felt very much like the Christmases and New Years I've spent with my family in the US. My heart swelled with gratefulness over that, because it'd been long since I'd had that feeling of being home for the holidays. My siblings (including sisters-in-law) putting on their music, dancing around their kitchens while they prepare food and drinks. My parents helping out, me snacking. Helping out, too. I brushed one of the dogs. 

The celebration itself wasn't that great, for a reason that was also usual during family holidays: other people outside the family was invited. I learned afterwards that this was due to a misunderstanding between Brother and SIL #1, but the outcome was the same. Brother #1 entertained a compatriot and his wife; these two men and my dad talked a lot about politics. The rest of us (my mom, sister, SIL, Andrew and me) hung out in another room, Andrew politely pointing out to me that if we were to join them, we'd be neck-deep in cringe-worthy conversations. 

(I felt a bit sorry for his wife, that she was stuck with his basic-ass husband, my tipsy brother, my talkative dad, and later also with SIL's oblivious nephew. Part of me wanted to take her away from them. She was really pretty, too, so in my fantasies she and I wound up making out hidden in a bathroom or something, and I would convince her that she could do so much better than that guy)

Nevertheless, Brother #1 turned 50 the day Andrew and I arrived to the US, a couple of weeks ago, so a celebration was in order. It went sufficiently well, anyway. The food was outstanding, and of course there was cake.

Then, on Monday, Brother #1 drove Andrew and I downtown. He was flying out for a conference the next day, today, but he needed to get something done in the hospital where he works. The museum of natural history was a few blocks away from the hospital, so he dropped us off there, and picked us up hours later. 

Remember in my last entry I said Brother #1 and I were only relating through alcohol? Well, when we got into his car, he put on a Beatles radio station. He knows I like them, I was crazy about them for a while. Also, he was beaming with pride saying that I'd bought some pants at Costco which he had shown me. The pants I bought weren't exactly those, but when he saw me wearing them, he asked if those were the ones he showed me. I said yes because he seemed so proud about that. 

Anyway. Brother #1 is not a very good listener altogether (or at least you don't know if he heard what you said), so most of the journey downtown we spent it in silence, listening to The Beatles, me riding shotgun and Andrew on the back. Again, though, my heart swelled with joy. This is part of what my nostalgia for this place is made of: driving down the highway with my brother while listening to good music. 

The day at the museum with Andrew was great, too. We'd gone for coffee, just him and me, a few days ago, but other than that, we had spent little quality time just the two of us. At the museum, I was on the edge of tears often, just out of wonder, say, by the Moon exhibition (I'm a moon enthusiast, though I know little about it), or by the dinosaur skeletons. We also got ourselves a planetary system magnet set, and ate hot dogs and fries. It was a perfect day.

Tonight is my last night here in the US. I repeat that the days have gone by incredibly slow, but all in all, it's been great! I got to see my family, and it went well. I've let the bad moments (such as those reported in the last entry) slide because it was not in my hands to do something about them. Maybe next time. The good moments, the reasons to keep close to my family, outnumber by far the reasons to cut them off. 

I'm bracing for my parents' heartbreak tomorrow when we say goodbye. We're saying goodbye at the airport, my sister and my parents are going back to my home country a few hours before Andrew and I take off for the UK. It's also heartbreaking seeing them get so old. They get tired easily, daily tasks are now major tasks. I want them to be OK.

I do feel I had a hard time engaging with my parents. We didn't have any deep, critical conversations (though thank God for that!), and I snap at them easily. I hope they can forgive me, I think they do. In any case, it might have been enough for them, as it was for me, to just have them around. To sit at the same table for a meal, or to gather 'round the TV to watch Breaking Bad (I got them hooked up, yo!).  

Now, time to bed. I'm ready to go home, but I'm dreading the separation, the sad goodbyes. It's the price to pay, I know. At least we walk away from each other with our hearts full.

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