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Okay, before I even go into my main topic, can we just take a minute to realize that it’s already December?! I swear it was just yesterday that I was bringing in 2018. I can’t believe how fast time is flying and that it’ll be 2019 before we know it. On the bright side, that means we are one year closer to 2020, which is the year that I’ve decided to go to London to celebrate Christmas. Speaking of London, that is where all of our Thanksgiving visitors were from. Now, the thing about my relationship with Thanksgiving and that entire period is that it’s nonexistent. I don’t eat meat, so Thanksgiving meals aren’t a thing in my family. I don’t like to shop nor do I like crowds, so Black Friday is spent with me safe in my house. And, as for being thankful, I practice gratefulness every day so I don’t really need a specified day to show my thanks. And I live at home and the only family we have in the area, we see once a month anyway. But this year was different because my uncle and cousins were here from London. And let me tell you, that definitely got us in the holiday spirit, during a time period that is normally just another week for us. I have a lot of family in London, but the ones that came were my uncle and three cousins. I’m very close to them but I don’t get to see them that often. In fact, before seeing them all in July for my cousin’s wedding, the last time I had seen them was in 2013. So getting to see them twice in one year was a dream come true. So, I have to give Houston and its surrounding areas some credit. Because my cousins were here for a week and there was only one day that we were at home. Every other day we had something to do. And that’s great because I’m normally the first one commenting about how “there’s nothing to do in Houston!” So after their arrival, we spent a day relaxing at home—chatting, playing board games and giving them the opportunity to get over their jet lag. We also helped my sister prepare for a presentation she had in one of her university classes by writing out notecards for her to use when she spoke about her chosen topic to her classmates. The next day, these notecards came into use when we all drove to my sister’s college and toured her campus while she went to present. Or so we thought, but when we picked her up from class, she told us that her name to present hadn’t been drawn. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining trip, especially seeing my uncle walk around the campus saying “howdy” every opportunity he got. Wednesday consisted of taking them to one of our famous landmarks, the San Jacinto Monument, seeing one of my dad’s workplaces and enjoying salad and free ice cream at Jason’s Deli. We also took them to Cavenders and it was so funny seeing their reaction to the cowboy boots and hats that filled the store. In fact, seeing America through a non-American’s eyes was funny and eye-opening all at the same time. Things that have pretty much become normal for me are basically unheard of for them. There were so many instances where we saw something on the road or one of us (me, my parents or my sister) made a casual comment, that caused my cousins to react with a variation of “are you serious?!” or “really?!” And it was so interesting because it had me thinking about the country in a completely different manner. Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving and we started our day at 6a.m. because we had decided to go watch the Houston Thanksgiving parade. That was thanks to one of my cousins, who wanted to experience a full American Thanksgiving. In normal circumstances, we would not have gone to said parade. After the parade, we went to a local relative’s house—who we see every month, but my cousins had last met in 2006 and hadn’t even met her two kids yet. We ended our day by having a meal at Kelly’s Country Cookin’ and then went home to watch home videos. The entire day was so amazing, being with my family, but my favorite part had to be the time when we were all relaxing in the living room, watching the home videos, and laughing at our younger selves. On Friday, my relatives went to NASA. Since I had already been twice, I wasn’t bothered to go again and neither were my parents or sister. So we spent that day relaxing at home. I was supposed to look up health insurance plans (yay for being an adult) but instead I spent four hours just laying on my bed. No lie – I literally just lay there staring at the ceiling for hours. It was great. However, in the evening, we went to a Mexican dinner (a bucket list item for my British relatives) and then to Kemah. Going to Kemah was a nostalgic event because we had taken my cousin there for her 16th birthday and all five of us (me, my sister and my three cousins) had danced around to the live band. Well, on this day, there was another live band playing and the five of us danced around again, 14 years later. Saturday through Monday consisted of saying good-bye to one of the cousins who left a couple of days before her family, going to the stores and just having a few last days of bonding. Oh, and my parents, uncle and cousins got into a four hour debate over the guest list to my wedding. You read that right – FOUR HOURS. I was just sitting there so confused because I don’t even have a boyfriend and I have no plans to get married anytime soon. Overall, the trip was a dream come true. My cousins and I may see each other only once every few years but I am still very close to them. In fact, I don’t even consider them cousins, I consider them my sisters. I honestly am so lucky to have them in my life and am so thankful I saw them twice this year. And we have already discussed when to meet next (December 2020, Christmas in London) so I am just going to count down to that trip.

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