My family is like its own United Nations. We have relatives in the United States, Italy, Canada, Australia, France, and Argentina. I have friends who barely know their cousins who live a few towns over, meanwhile I can say that I know a lot of the relatives in these other countries — and I know many of them pretty well. We’ve visited each other’s countries, met up in Italy (the ancestral home base), and stay connected with letters, phone, e-mail, Facebook, and Skype. It’s pretty special if you ask me.
In the last week, some of our cousins from France made a stop in the States on their way to a Quebec vacation. Since I work from home during the week, they were kind enough to travel from Long Island to New Jersey to see me. They brought my grandmother — and a GPS — to boot. They made their way here despite the inevitable traffic and without getting lost. I was able to have lunch and catch up with them despite the work week. For this, I’m grateful.
Having relatives from all over the world is a lesson in culture. I’m always having to keep track of how to kiss the relative in question. The Americans want one kiss on the cheek, and men never kiss each other; they give each other handshakes. The Italians demand two kisses, one on each cheek, and the men kiss each other, too. The French expect three kisses, alternating cheeks as you go. Men kiss each other in France, too. I’m always fumbling and giving the Italians three kisses or pulling away after one. I guess they just all think I’m a kissing fool.