Keeping in Touch with Family—You’ll Miss the Home-Cooked Meals
Ann realizes the value college adds to family.
By Ann Mallick
April 05, 2012
I am completely obsessed with my family.
I wouldn’t have what anyone would call a normal family, but then again, who does? In high school, I found that the more I got to know a friend’s family, the a) more funny they became, and b) the less eccentric my own family seemed. With that in mind however, there are still many facts I can spout that are both decidedly quirky and unique to my family.
For one thing, we eat rice with everything. Every meal, if my mom makes it, there’s rice. On my first dinner away from home at a friend’s house in elementary school, I examined the solitary meat and beans on my plate, wondering to myself, But where is the rice? Maybe it’s just a half-Asian thing, but food has always been a central factor in my family; every time our extended family gets together, I have aunt after Filipino aunt ask me, “Have you eaten? Eat, eat!”
My mom’s favorite pastime in the summer? Making eggrolls to serve at the weekly barbeques she holds for anyone who wants a taste of her food (which is, understandably, everyone—the woman can cook). From teriyaki steak to salmon to my favorite Filipino dish, sinigang, my fondest memories of returning home every winter and summer break are of sitting down at our kitchen table, and spooning a mouth-watering serving of whatever delicious food my mom has whipped up onto my plate.
You must be thinking, that’s not so strange—everyone loves home-cooked food and eats rice with every meal! Alright, the last one might only apply to me, and possibly to the other lucky members of the Asian food-eating community. Here’s another one:
My brothers and I are the same person. As the only girl of the family, one might have predicted my childhood to be a departure from the inevitable immaturity of younger brothers, choosing to rise above their humor and seek solace in other, girlier outlets. Not so.
Although I would in no sense consider myself a tomboy, my sense of humor seems to have developed in parallel to that of my three younger brothers: we watch the same immature movies, find the same things funny, and can laugh over an inside joke for hours.
My dad’s attempts to reign in the dinner conversation after we’ve taken it in another direction entirely are always hopeless; there are still topics from years ago that, if referenced today, we still joke about.
Even in college, I can have a 20-minute conversation with my middle brother over the phone without talking about any subject in particular. As we all get older, our lives get busier, but the brief weekly contact I maintain with my siblings reminds me that there’s more to life than just the college bubble. My life at home is routinely characterized by the happiness I feel when I and my brothers get together and watch four episodes of Arrested Development in a row.
And while we’re on the topic of home, I admit that there’s one thing I will always connect to my hometown, and for that, I will always love: the rain. The question I am most frequently asked—and, I would warrant, any Seattleite receives when surrounded by non-Pacific Northwest inhabitants—is, “Does it rain a lot over there?”
The short answer is yes. Yes, of course it rains as much as everyone says it does: Seattle is famous for its frequent showers and overcast skies roughly eight months out of the year. But I can’t help it, I love the rain.
Every time I step outside to the familiar Seattle drizzle on a campus thousands of miles away, I think of home and how much I miss stumbling into my favorite pho restaurant with my friends, ready to get out of the rain and talk about everything and nothing over a bowl of steaming soup.
There are an infinite amount of stories I could share to describe in exactly what way my family remains an influential force in my life, even after almost three years in college. My dad, with his frequent calls just to check up on me, my mom, with her failed attempts to ever successfully send me anything in the mail, and my brothers, one of whom recently sent me a paper to edit.
The warmth I feel towards my family and home has not deteriorated over time spent away, it really only makes me miss them more. Of course they can be frustrating at times, but in the end the few weeks I spend at home with my family are integral to my mental wellbeing.
For those of you entering college next fall: sure, it might seem like you can’t get away fast enough, but don’t take your last few months with your family for granted. You’ll miss them more than you think.