Family. We love them so much and don't get nearly enough time to spend with them. That's why we all rejoice at having the holidays roll around, allowing us to spend time with the family we love. Then, they actually show up, and you remember why you decided to love your family from a distance.
That's not to say that you wish they didn't come to spend the holidays with you. The holidays are about family, after all. But, we all have our routines and customs that don't always fit with other family members. Now, I'm talking about when the family stops by the day of, they celebrate then leave. No, I'm talking about when your family lives in another country, so they end up coming to spend a few weeks with you because that's the only thing that makes sense financially.
Recently, I had my family visit from Puerto Rico. I hadn't seen them in almost ten years, the last time I was on the island. My parents were excited about their arrival. While I was eager to see them, I was not ecstatic about having them stay with us for so long. Since she was in college, they stayed in my sister's room, so it didn't affect my sleeping arrangements. Still, waking up every day going down the stairs and seeing someone different is jarring, regardless of whether you expect them to be there. The house no longer felt like home. Walking outside my bedroom felt like walking through a hotel hallway and seeing strangers then getting stuck in the elevator with them, only you can't leave.
I'm sure everyone has felt this way at some point. Suddenly, you can't speak the way you usually would. You can't eat the same foods because you have to cater to their preferences. You have to make time out of your busy schedule to spend time with them when you don't have anything in common. If your traditions are honored, they're questioned more than feels necessary. In general, things were different. However, as dramatic living in an elevator with a stranger may sound, they're still family. That means despite it all, there are hidden gems of memorable moments like learning how to cook something you've always loved to eat but never made before. Even if you don't become closer with your visiting family, you do become closer with the family you live with.
My siblings and I would sneak away to eat things we weren't supposed to have in the house. We would all laugh at how horribly their homemade cupcakes turned out. We took more sibling outings than usual to get away from it all. We leave after dinner to get McDonald’s because we were tired of eating the same thing over and over. You can only eat variations of rice and beans so many times before getting bored of it. Gossiping and sneaking around with my siblings was fun. It was like we were little kids again hiding chocolate in our rooms, trying to make sure our parents didn't find out.
Having family over for the holidays is always challenging, whether they stay for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Having them around reminds you of the kind of person you are and the simple pleasures that make you happy. Pleasures like having your dogs follow you around instead of locked away or knowing where everything is in your refrigerator without having someone else move it. More importantly, it highlights why you keep your immediate family so close and why they are the people you choose to live and spend your time with.