Today, we arrived in Montreal, and we arranged to have dinner with my cousins’ cousins, one of whom lives in Montreal with their mom, and his brother, who lives right outside of Toronto but just happened to be visiting this weekend. It was a bit of a coincidence, but it was still nice to see them.
I realized after talking with the younger cousin, who is just a year older than me, how much different my life is since we first spoke at length in July 2007, when he stayed upstairs from my parents for a week with his family to attend my cousin’s wedding in San Francisco. At that point in my life, I’d only left the country once to study in China. my knowledge of the world was vastly different than what it is now. Then, I didn’t think much of his accent and didn’t really talk to him much about how he is tri-lingual in French, English, and Cantonese. Since then, I’ve traveled to over half of the states in the U.S. and have been to four other continents. He was asking me about my experiences in Asia and Europe, and I realized that I could actually speak about these things relatively intelligently and not sound naive and wistful about it all the way I would have seven years ago. He told me he still hasn’t left North America but really wants to visit Europe, and I felt a little sad. I know part of the reason he hasn’t left is because of the hold of his mother; I know the way his mom is, and I’m sure she tries her best to control what he does and doesn’t do.
Part of me just wanted to tell him to get the hell out of his house so he could be normal and lead a regular adult life… sort of the way I got out. But I didn’t want to cause any trouble, so I just encouraged him to find a friend to travel with and just book a trip. Maybe he will do it at some point, but hopefully sooner rather than later.