For Spring Break last week, I went on a trip up to Huntington, Vermont where my uncle and aunt live. The last time I saw them, I was 11 (which was ten years ago). It’s amazing how much people don’t really change in a decade. Except for more grey hair, they look exactly like they did when I last saw them. Obviously, I changed from when I was 11, but that’s a given.
This mini-family reunion started in Burlington, Vermont where we went to a lovely French bistro in the downtown area. We drank (since I’m legal now!) and laughed and chatted for a while before moving to their log cabin in Huntington. It’s a gorgeous house perfect for the two of them. Their living room, however, was very different from most living rooms I’ve visited because it’s missing one object: a television.
I affectionately call them “ski junkies” because all they like to do when there’s snow is ski. However, they don’t just limit themselves to skiing. They do almost anything outdoors-y. They hike, kayak, mountain bike, etc. You name it, they probably tried it at least one, though not snowboarding. They don’t like snowboarders for some reason… Since they aren’t usually at home because they’re doing things outdoors, they don’t see the need to have the television in the main room. It’s off in a smaller room where they can go whenever they do feel like watching, but I don’t think that is very often compared to most Americans.
The lack of television though made the trip way more personable. There was no cell service in their house either and they did have wi-fi, but we spent so much time talking that I hardly touched my computer except to instant message with my boyfriend at night. Talking was the main thing we did. My first night there, we stayed up until 2 in the morning just talking about anything and everything that popped in our heads. After 10 years of not speaking to each other, talking was really all we could do to catch up on everything we’ve missed. Also, now that I’m older and more “mature,” I could actually hold a conversation with them in such heavy concepts like politics and religion. This made the trip hold a very different air than any other time I had ever hung out with them. I wasn’t a kid anymore. We were all grown up, though they were a little more seasoned than me, but we treated each other like equals, like family.
Funny enough, one would think that I would have asked them why we didn’t keep in touch for ten years, but I knew I wouldn’t. I didn’t plan on it. I think after years of nothing, I was just happy to have something…more than something. I didn’t care that we didn’t talk for 10 years. I cared that we were talking right now because what mattered was now. History is just that, history.
So for anyone reading this who has estranged family members, don’t hang around not talking and wondering why they aren’t calling. Call them, leave a message. I did and it meant a free trip to Vermont for four days.
Part Two: Canada