Yeah, it comes with watching too much E Entertainment: The fam. The diff. The abbrev. What’s the latest? Adorbs for adorable… Anyway, I digress.
Yes, after much effing about earlier this year with missed opportunities and deportations and the like (see the upcoming “Life as a Fugee, Part 3), we finally managed to get my mum and dad out here to Indo. It was definitely a long bloody haul, since changing ticket dates and names is no breeze with Air Asia. And they called my dad Roger Charley Leppard and not Charles on the ticket. Sigh…
But with a fortitude that I don’t think I will possess at their ages, they managed the 10,000+ kilometers with limited legroom, no inflight entertainment, a tedious stopover in KL and challenging foodstuffs at every step. Bless them for everything, as it was so good to see them. It’s been just under two years, and the last time I saw them, life was very different for all of us.
But time and distance age you, as does travel. It’s very, very odd for me, sometimes, to think that I am the same age now as my dad was when I was 11: a time I clearly remember from my childhood. And it’s quite hard to see your parents age in bursts, not because it makes you reflect on your own mortality or any other cliched claptrap, but on theirs. Such is the life we’re given.
So we made the best of our time, despite illness, jetlag and other challenges. The main thing for me was how well they got on with Rebecca, since this trip was to celebrate our official engagement. (An aside: we’d kind of agreed to marry a few times, and quite seriously, but this was the formal family affair with the diamond ring that my grandmother wore in 1938 for her engagement presented to Rebecca. It looks absolutely stunning, by the way, like it was made for Rebecca, and it sparkles with rainbow pinpricks.)
More to the point, since Rebecca communicates FAR more with my parents than I do, it was important that they get on with her mum and dad. And grandmother. And 30 other relatives out of the 3,000 she apparently has.
Of course, it was all fine. The great thing about having normal people as your family is that they behave normally. I didn’t let on to Rebecca, though she may have suspected, but I was somewhat nervous and apprehensive about the engagement party (it was also a stressful time at work and I had a throat infection). Not because of the actual ring presentation, but because I wanted mum and dad to feel comfortable and relaxed having traveled all that way.
I know myself, after all: sometimes, beneath my blustery exterior beats the heart of a more sensitive introvert. Personally, I might find it uncomfortable to be in an unfamilar country with unfamiliar people all crowding me and trying to talk… With some relief, though, and largely due to the heartfelt hospitality of Rebecca’s family, it was all very harmonious, and very happy. We all parted with gladness and love in our hearts.
We then headed to Bali where the sun beat us up mercilessly (dad and me, mainly). Again beset by sickness (my throat, my dad’s tummy, my dad’s throat, my sunburn, etc.) we squeezed as much out of it as we could. The attached pic is of a stunning sunset at Ku De Ta, and already a personal favorite.
Sadly, these things come to an end, and we parted a week or so ago at Bali airport. It’s always hard to say goodbye, and I rarely say all the things I want to say. But the most important is “I love you” and I always remember to say that. I do, and I love Rebecca, too, for putting so much effort, care and love into the organization, travel plans, party and the Bali leg of the trip.
I really could not be without her. And won’t be come tomorrow. Finally…