This weekend, I was in the Bay Area for the wedding of Milton and Frances. It was a beautiful morning wedding, at a rustic site in Livermore. Instead of an arch, they had a bolt of muslin fabric. The newlyweds, both talented singers, crooned a duet together. They had Bakesale Betty’s chicken sandwiches!

A few hours after, they had a small get-together at their new home. There were a few other friends there, but it was predominantly family. I met some of Milton and Frances’ cousins, aunties, and uncles.

That little party had me thinking about my family. My family in the States is pretty small. Besides my parents and my brother, I have some second cousins in other parts of California, but most everyone else is in Korea. Four of my cousins have gotten married, but I was unable to attend their weddings. One of my cousins has two children that I have never met.

Certainly, there are benefits to having such distance from family. I am spared from family strife and drama. I see the hurts and scars of my friends from their families and recognize that I am relatively unscathed. Moreover, since I see my family in Korea so infrequently, every encounter is a time for joy and reunion, not offense and bitterness.

In the end, I am grateful for the family that I have. Though I only see them every few years, they undoubtedly have played a central role in crafting who I am now.

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