Just got back from my 3-week vacation. After years of estrangement and drama, I got to celebrate the holidays again with my folks in the US. The experience felt familiar and strange at the same time. We still laughed at the old jokes (i.e., special bulalo, orange na talampakan, Manfa) and made new ones this year (i.e., fake wines, Tetris queen, souvenir program). My mom still cooks the best pancit and my dad, the best sinigang. It’s amazing what 14 years of separation could do to a family. It felt weird to have new members in this once exclusive circle in my life. I now have a 35-year old dog for a niece. I have a nephew who loves movie villains more than heroes (adores Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda and Darth Vader in Star Wars) and another niece who could watch Paw Patrol and Monster Machine episodes over and over every single day. And how do you deal with brothers-in-law when you only had sisters growing up? Awkward and TH, I have to admit. But I have come to accept that our lives are like a Venn diagram – we define what we put inside the intersection (what is relational and logical), so that other parts of us may exist. Meaning, I don’t have to know and understand everything about them, only those that they are willing to share and I am willing to accept.