Privileges and ponderings

I went to Astor Place Hair tonight after work to get my haircut by my Sicilian hair stylist whose crazy facial expressions could rival my own, just with a cute Italian touch. She was asking me how my Thanksgiving was and marveled at the fact that I just came back from Germany and its intense Christmas markets. She insisted that I should have come in for my cut before the Germany trip so that I could show all the German men there how hot I was with the new light and bouncy look that she gave me. I was about to tell her that I actually came in tonight to get my hair cut before my next trip to Australia/New Zealand for this Saturday, but I caught myself because I felt guilty. She had just shared with me that she could only afford to go back to Italy every two years to visit her and her husband’s families, and they were getting priced out of their Astoria apartment. And here I was, taking three international trips in the span of one month.

I came from a childhood where I was taught that if you travel at all, you must be extremely wealthy. Once in college and in the working world, I realized that all that teaching was wrong, and as long as you have some money (hence broke college students backpacking through Europe or Asia), you can travel the world one bit at a time and not run into massive debts if you didn’t have deep pockets. But I do acknowledge that I’m extremely privileged to be in a position to do the travel that Chris and I have done together; I never take that thought for granted because I know there are people around me who need to save just to go on a trip to the state next door.

The part that makes me the most sad, and will continue to make me sad, is that my brother will never have the chance to do any of this travel. I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that he never had the chance to leave this country (well, he did in 2008 when my parents and I went to Vietnam, but he refused to go) and see the world outside of the U.S. My sweet, naive brother’s view of the world was so limited because he thought that was what life was supposed to be based on our upbringing, and he wasn’t able to push outside of that narrow view to think about the “what ifs” outside of even the city limits of San Francisco.

Wherever I go now, though, I will think of him lovingly and always ponder what his facial expressions and words might have been if he were traveling by my side. I really miss him.

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