Friday, October 28, 2011

Of All The Gold Ribbons and Wires

I guess I'm coming to some sort of should-have-seen-it-coming realization. I don't see my family as a cluster of individuals who have radically different views from me. I see them as no-face bodies with paper cut-and-paste ideas embedded onto their skins. That's why it was rather confusing yesterday to see one of my aunts, her husband, and my cousin and realize both assumptions would have been wrong, even if the former would have been better than the latter.

I don't know what I was expecting--maybe I had a weird, vague idea of who my family is suppose to be and what characters we were meant to play on Wednesday. My cousin is now about a head taller than me and lean lean lean and pretty pretty pretty. I only sound insanely jealous because I am. She seemed alright at first, nice to me, nice to everyone, funny in some moments, shy in others. All those pictures I saw of her sticking her lips out and puffing her cheeks with her chest popped forward and her back forming a curve made me assume she'd be plastic and bubbly and with an arsenal of fifteen hundred questions about my boyfriend(s) and best friends. But she wasn't. She barely spoke at times, due to the sheer and epic awkwardness that we seemed to be holding onto.

I think her personality is a shy one, but after some time passed, I thought maybe she had been spoiled sweet like there was no tomorrow. We spent the majority of the afternoon looking for a white dress for her graduation party, and frankly, I wish she would have just bought the ones that we found in the first store so we wouldn't have spent so much time running around. The only reason the store made me edge away quietly was because the dresses were wayyy to pricey and I swear to god, as soon as my cousin stepped out of the dressing room while some sales lady was helping her, some random employer popped out from behind a stack of clothes and started gushing about how cute and beautiful and perfect she looked. Then, when she tried another dress that had a string thingy on it, they started rambling about how it was such a great price because it was, like, FIVE dresses in one just because you can (get this) change the position of the ribbon in her waist.

It really made me want to say, "Please. Make it more obvious you're trying to sell us this dress by kissing up." I know it's their job, but it made me become a bit defensive. When we went to Macy's no one did that. I guess because they don't need to force people to buy things. Gha!

Aside from that, we were in Tiger Direct for about an hour because my cousin wanted a phone and a laptop. None of the computers were what she wanted (she kept saying she wanted a Mac) and when I asked her why she even wanted a phone she smiled shyly and said, "Because."

It wasn't rude at all, but I get icky and twitchy when my mother buys me fifty or eighty dollar dresses/shoes. I can't even imagine asking my parents to buy me a $200 dress, $300 phone, and $500 laptop on the same day, even if it was my birthday or Christmas or I just got accepted to Harvard (especially on this last one). Later I found out that when they apparently bought her some expensive phone she started crying because it just wasn't the one she wanted, and I didn't know what to think about the situation. I was just glad I wasn't there when it went down.

My aunt seemed to find it funny and maybe a bit bothersome that every time she asked me if I wanted something she could buy (like a $10 headband) I threw my hands up in the air and started going, "No, no, it's alright! I don't want anything."

Oh my aunt. Aunt aunt aunty. She is lively, oh how lively for a woman well past her 40's. She was jumpy and hyperactive and with spunk and a smile the whole time. She tricked everyone during lunch; we went to a fanceh restaurant (by my low standards at least o.e) and the food got to be a bit pricey. She got up to go to the bathroom and when she came back, after a few minutes of more talking, I ask my mom if she's going to pay soon and turns out my aunt hunted down the waitress when nobody was looking and paid for the food. I remember it going as:

Me and My Mom: O_O You what!?
Aunt: -not looking at us- I already paid.
Mom: But WHY!? O_o
Aunt: Because I wanted to >_>

This would have gone on for forever, so when we were looking for my cousin's white dress, and finally found it, my mom raced out to the cashier lady so to buy it before my aunt could do it (plus, she was struggling with putting away some dresses.) After flinging said dresses to me, she ran to the cashier and they both half battled until the dress was paid half and half (something that seemed to calm down my father after he found out she had payed for the food).

Speaking of the food, by far, the most interesting part was at the restaurant. For all that talk about being socially awkward and never being sure how to converse with people, my dad was the only one effectively saving everyone from having awkward silences. I think he was both nervous, glad, happy, and a bit unsure of seeing his sister and his niece after so long. All in all, he cracked some jokes and someway or another, the conversation drifted to politics. I couldn't hear very well at times, so I had to ask my cousin at one point to explain what they were saying. I didn't understand too well because the details were vague, but turns out in Ecuador some law has passed that if you are in possession of quite some money and you can't prove quickly,  right away, even document how you gained it, the government takes it away on the idea that you came across it illegally (no trail, all purely based on assumption). My aunt said there were barely any jobs over there, and that if you pass away, there's very limited amount of money you can leave to your children. I don't know where the rest would go, but the situation didn't sound good at all.

Apparently, some other aunt of mine (not sure who exactly, but definitely from my father's side) told them I was getting a bit fat, so they got me some size large dresses but later reconsidered and figured none would fit me too well. And I guess it's alright, I am definitely much more heavy than my cousin, and I wasn't about to complain if they went to the trouble of getting me the dresses. It's just that one of them was a strapless purple dress that barely went over my knees, and the black one squeezed the life out of me at around the chest area, I don't even think I could wear a bra with it. If I was fat, why exactly would I wear things like that? O.o I asked my mom, but her response was more or less "BECAUSE YOU MUST EMBRACE IT D8". Truth be told, I don't think she knew either.

I was given a necklace too--maybe gold, maybe not, that has the first letter of my last name on it. And it was odd. Odd, odd, odd. I don't know what to do with it! I have to call my other aunt and thank her because it was her present, and struggle with words, and blink a lot, and wonder what exactly would drive anyone to want to see me or my brother, let alone give us presents like that. We were so young when we left, if we barely remember back then, why would they want to see us as awkward, silent, shy teenagers? Why not keep with the idea of cute little curious six and eight year olds? It's not a bad thing, it keeps from gaining some disappointment.

There's just one thing that stayed with me. When I was very young, my parents would at times have dinner at friends' houses or invite family over to eat if it was Christmas or some celebration. Everyone would sit in huge tables while me and my little brother would sit beside our parents and eat the food quietly while the adults spoke. Half the time, I had no idea where a story started or ended, but there would be bits so animated and full of life that everyone seemed to be shaking with laughter, even me and my brother. I think hearing my aunt talk about something that happened to her while attempting to arrive at an opera made me remember of those times of just sitting around a large table and hearing the opinions and stories of the eldest people. It was just that kind of thing that made me love being in a big family when I was little, and that made me sad whenever I realized some fight or argument was springing up.

But even so, I think bits of it have faded, and I don't feel too compelled to attach myself to the idea that I need to have a fifty people close to me and knowing my every thought just because I share a genetic link to them. Truth be told, I chose to be with some of my friends, which is not something you get to do with family, and even then I understand that there are things I never want to discuss with them just as there are things they don't wish to discuss with me. Remembering such a clustered life of people and laughter should make me sad that I don't have something like that anymore. It should make me feel empty at holidays when it's just my brother and my parents. But it doesn't, because I know as a child a room full of older people smiling and talking about things I didn't understand too well made me feel safe and happy, yet as I grow older, I don't need that anymore. I don't need to live with compromises and etiquette and constant eyes everywhere. I'm glad I had a family with so many individuals growing up, and I do wish to one day go back and speak with some of them, but I'll be fine without it from now on. I'll be okay alone in a few years. I won't cry at Christmas eve because there aren't seventy people at my house.

It's not so bad to have just my thoughts as company for a little while. If we're not alone for some time to figure out what and maybe even who makes us happy, maybe we'll never grow and remain as the children sitting in the room full of ghosts and elders.

Nevertheless, I realized that even after trying to get some ideas of what's happened over at my country, I know absolutely nothing. Just the little things they said were troubling, and yet I fear it doesn't cover even a quarter of the whole situation. I should call and ask, but as the world changes, people need to find a way to survive and a revolution won't be the first thing popping into their minds, of course.

If no one cares about what's happening to a tiny country at the corner of South America, how is the rest of the world like? How are all those nations we don't even hear a whisper about? I hope they're okay.

I can look around a school or a mall or a crowded place and realize I don't care about any of those people or whether they live or die or suffer, but to imagine some isolated place of the world in ruins and chaos makes my heart hurt and my stomach turn. I have no idea why.
~ Becky

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:33 PM

    Story of all my friends' parents and I (sorta)! WHY WON'T YOU LET ME PAY FOR MY FOOD SJFHSJFHsthyjtuoik

    ReplyDelete

"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.