Now, I love my family. My real, blood related one. But throughout the past few years, I’ve found the beauty of making families who are not blood related, but provide me with a similar sense of support. And it’s all that much more special, because you CHOSE each other.
The first family I made outside of my own was my sister, Sonia. I won’t say much here, because some day I will write a post all for her. Suffice it to say, that, for the past 14ish years, and particularly for the past 5, she has been a rock in my life. She has supported me in every way I would expect a blood-related sister to, and more than many do. I am lucky that through her I have also gained the love and support of her wonderful parents, who I consider to be a piece of my family too and who I am so thankful for.
My friends from high school are people I have considered a family for many years now, particularly since going away to university after high school. Being physically distant has tested and changed our friendship. We’re dysfunctional. We’ve argued. We’ve said we were done. We’ve gone through phases of not talking. I speak more frequently to certain people, but ultimately I know that I have the love and support of each one of them, and that we love and support one another as a group. It may not be the most traditional family, but it works for me.
When I went away to university, I lived in residence, and this was maybe the first time I felt such a strong sense of community and family. That family has long since dissipated, people moving in separate directions as our lives changed over the next years. But in that year, I knew that I had the 100% support of each person and that I could count on them for anything I needed.
Maybe the most surprising, and strong family I’ve made is the one I made this past year while I was in Guatemala. With each of the families I described above, they are people I either have known for a long time, or we were all in exactly the same place in our lives where we met. Casa Shekina doesn’t fit either of those descriptions. We were such a mishmash of people. Coming from different countries, ages ranging from 18-38, different interests, careers, education levels. We were even all there for different periods of time. All we had in common was a will to give back, to travel, to learn. And somehow, out of that common ground we formed a stronger family than I could have thought possible in the short time given us. I was there for only 3 months, others there a shorter time. But the love, acceptance and support that existed between us astounds me. It’s certainly not what I expected. Again, I was and am closer, with certain people, but just like a real family, I cherish them all equally, support each equally, and know that in turn I have the support of each of them. Since coming back home from Guatemala, my life’s been a little bit of a rough ride. I find it amazing that my Casa Shekina family have been some of the only people I’ve felt comfortable sharing all of that with, practically every detail, without hesitation. I am so grateful for their support.
I’m excited to see where the next little while will take me, and what families I will make along the way. SO much love being sent out to all my families ❤