When you travel for long periods of time, you miss a lot of things back home like thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Today, April 15, is tax day, missing that too. As most people know, American taxes are complicated, even more so when you get paid in foreign currency. But April 15 is more than just tax day, in 1738 the bottle opener was invented, in 1865 Abraham Lincoln died, in 1912 the Titanic sank, and in 1998 my brother Ben was born.
This is the second year in a row I have missed my brother’s birthday. He turns 18 this year. Last year for his 17th birthday, I sent him 18 packages of strange flavored Oreos from China. This year I also mailed him a gift from Thailand (but I can’t say what it was becauseit hasn’t arrived yet) (it’s not Oreos again, Thailand has normal flavored Oreos). Mailing gifts home is a cheap substitution for actually being there. I’m sure we would rather I actually be there in person but unfortunately that’s not possible.
I can’t call Ben my little brother because he’s taller than me now. Actually, after being in China for 10 months last year I didn’t recognize Ben the first time I saw him in the airport. I was sitting with my roommate in the airport waiting for our luggage and a kid walked past; I turned to my roommate and said “I think that was my brother.” One of the weirdest things about teaching in Thailand was that some of my students were the same age as my brother. Some of the girls thought he was very handsome.
As I said before, you miss a lot when you are gone a long time. It’s strange and a little sad how the world keeps on changing while you are away. You don’t just miss the big things like holidays but the little things like growth spurts and all of a sudden your little brother isn’t so little anymore. I may have missed a lot of things these past years with college and going abroad but I will NOT miss his high school graduation. The worst part about traveling is going home and finding how everything is different. Saying yes to travel says no to so many other things.
The moral of the story is: happy birthday Ben, I miss you and I’m thinking about you. Have a great birthday, I love you, and I’ll be home soon! ❤