My mothers family has a history of gathering several times a year. Mom has four sisters and a brother. Two of her sisters have passed. I have seventeen first cousins on her side of my family tree. Today I took Moira, Kaleb, Arthur, and mom all the way to Puyallup for a larger family get together. I don't know how many people were there. Perhaps 30? Back when I was a high school student we met just about monthly. Often we met up at our home in Lakebay. It was waterfront property. Boat, hot tub, games, too much food, etc.
First off, I failed to take pictures. I was too distracted seeing several people that I haven't seen in a long time. Secondly, it was a rough outing for mom. It was quickly apparent that she was burned out fast and didn't know anyone's name. Even her sister Wendy said she wasn't sure that mom recognized her. I'm going to make this trip again in 11 days and take mom down to see only her two sisters, Wendy and Billie. They both agree that this will be a much better experience for her. She's 84 now. I'm no doctor, but it's starting to feel like it's more than just "dementia".
It was nice to touch base with several of my cousins. I chatted with Michelle, Brian, Christie, and Jonathon (Wendy's kids). Michelle lives in Ireland. She's home visiting for a bit. I spent most of my time catching up with Lanette. She's two years older than me. We were tight back in the day when we were just kids. Crazy to hear that she's considering retirement in just a few years. Damn. We're getting old fast. Wish Kari could have been there too, but she lives over in Maryland. She's become one of my regular readers and would love to sit and catch up on her life.
I was asked about China several times. The response that I give most often is that it's great. I like the school, the city, the people. Transportation and technology are awesome. There's a lot to like. When I get deeper into it I usually describe family structures and the patriarchal emphasis including the off the charts misogyny that continues to make me uncomfortable. I was asked about dating and my girlfriend Aiyun as well. Am I bringing home a Chinese wife? I tell them we've known each other a couple months and anything's possible. For now I look forward to seeing her again in about three weeks.