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Monday, January 05, 2009

The Christmas Story Part 7


I cried a little bit during the Christmas holidays. 

I'm not ashamed to admit it. Family gatherings, even though I'm not such a big fan of them, make me think of my own family and how much I miss them. It's easier when you're far away because you don't have to deal with the little petty bullshit that threatens to ruin your holiday mood. But the older I get and  the more different types of families I get to see in action, the more I appreciate the craziness of my own insane family....and the more I miss them on these family-centric holidays. 

We're not perfect. We're loud, somewhat ignorant of each other's personal space and, as I may have previously mentioned, quick to threaten each other physically (see: Remy's teeth mark scar on his chest, Darron's penchant for holding people up at knife-point). All families are more or less dysfunctional in their own way. 

My family (my siblings and my mother's side) is just full of raw emotion. Everyone's business is fair game, but I think ultimately everyone is accepted for who they are regardless of what they've done. Over and over again. This is something that I very much appreciate. 

There's no safer forum for beef than your own family. Or at least that's the way it should be.

I've rolled with Frosty and C. Dub for over a year now and I'd become accustomed (and quite fond of) their "non-traditional" way of doing things. So, it came as quite a surprise to witness their somewhat (for lack of a better word) bourgeois roots. At first, it seemed very foreign to me, but upon reflection it was actually very similar to the feeling I have when visiting members of my father's family. I love them and they're great people, but there's always an undercurrent of pressure regarding keeping up appearances and doing things the "proper" way. 

On one of our last days in town, Frosty took me on a guided tour of Giessen, showing me along the way the places where he grew up and got into mischief during his first 14 years of life. In layman's terms, Giessen is a fugly city. Until a few years ago, it was home to a U.S. Army base and this is strongly reflected in the housing style, i.e. rows and rows of barracks style apartments. Despite this, I overwhelmingly choose fug over pomp. There's lots of character to be found in ugly. 

When Frosty and I reached the neighborhood where he grew up, the immediate thought that sprang into my mind was, "Baby, you grew up in the 'hood!"  I know a hood when I see one, especially when I'm walking through it. You get that special tingly feeling all over. However, I just kept that commentary to myself and Frosty never referred to his childhood neighborhood as such. 

It was just one of those things that made me appreciate him even more. 

Two days later, we went to Cologne and had an adventure.

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