We have a fairly small family. Joe, my Mum's first cousin grew up in Melbourne, Australia, not knowing his wider family. About 10 years ago, Joe and his wife Robyn came over to the UK to meet us all for the first time, and although we have since met a number of times, the next leg of my journey was really special, as I went to visit them in their home and home city. If that wasn't enough, I was able to be in Melbourne at the same time as my cousin David's wedding to Lexi.
It's not true of everyone I know, but many of us aren't that good at seeing our wider family on a regular basis, even when they live relatively close by. A combination of busy lives, the illusion social media gives us that we are up to date on people's lives, and knowing people aren't really that far away means it can be months or longer between seeing family members. When you have family that live on completely the other side of the world, seeing them is a rare treat and something really quite special.
It's not just because I was fed and watered, I also got the tour of key childhood sites, was driven around the city by night (thanks Emma!) and was introduced to their friends. It was a chance to get to know them and their lives better. I know there were a hundred and one things they needed to be doing, but they made so much time for me, it was lovely.
A wedding is always a special occasion and I loved flying the UK family flag at David and Lexi's simcha from the Aufruf to the wedding itself, the post wedding brunch and sheva brachot. It was special to be part of the simcha; it's a shame to live so far away, and I'd love to go back to visit them in Melbourne again one day. In the meantime, we'll catch up when we can and see you in December!