The only two people I vividly remember before I left Argentina are my maternal grandmother and my uncle Luis. She died about 12 years ago from natural causes. He died in a tragic bus accident at the age of 40. I had no memory of any other family members. Now this entire family wanted to meet me as if I was their version of a celebrity but I was very nervous about the upcoming reunion.
My family and I kept to ourselves when I was growing up in Florida. We didn’t really have a group of friends come over and our families were too far away. I learned to accept this anti-social way of life as normal. Even after I moved out on my own I had a hard time socializing with new people. Now I’m back in the country of my birth after a 35 year absence. Thirteen people are anxious to meet with me and all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole.
First impressions can be fatal if one says the wrong thing and I have the bad habit of really stepping in it. Logic and verbal communication doesn’t always work well with me.
Saturday night came. My cousin Chuly was the first person I met. However, we had stayed in touch by e-mail in the months before my big move to Argentina. I was also introduced to her son, who’s adorable. Then my cousin Sandy and her husband arrived with their son. Finally, my cousin Hugh and his wife arrived with their teenage kids. They were delightful people. Within moments, I felt like I’d known them for years.
What I loved the most about my family is that they were very welcoming to my spouse. Right before we ate we got a standing ovation at the dinner table. It felt great!