One of the most memorable trips I took was to Kerala, India during the summer of 2008. For me, vacation is not about being on a beach or going shopping but is about spending my time with my family. We left from Detroit on July 25th, 2008. The three-day plane trip was not fun because of my plane sickness. But the trip was filled with optimism for something better. We reached our home in Kerala, a southern state in India around 8.00 am, July 28th. Most of my close relatives were there to welcome us to India. Through out the day people came pouring in to see us and greet us.
One month is all we got to spend and it went by so fast. Half of the time, I was traveling to visit all my relatives. Believe me, I have so many relatives. My dad has six other siblings and my mom has nine. All together I have more than 30 cousins. And one thing about my family is that we hold relationships very closely. My grandmother, whom I missed so much, stayed at our house for two weeks and I had a wonderful time taking care of her. Even though I enjoyed every moment of my time in India, the most fun I had was when we went to a famous amusement park. My dad rented a bus and 20 kids and adults went there and had the most amount of fun of our lives. This was my third time going to this park, but I never had this much fun. I guess family makes all the difference.
I got to spend more time with my family during the last few weeks. There is a special reason we got to India during the month of August and that is to celebrate the feast of St. Augustine – the patron saint of our church in India. Ten days before the feast we start the novena and everyday after the novena and mass our family and friends gathered in our house to be with each other. Those days reminded me of the old days when I used to live in India. The warm feeling of being with family is something that I am so grateful for. On the Sunday of the feast, my entire family went to church, and afterwards they all came to my house for lunch. It was amazing to see all my family together. I would say there were more than 30 people there. Talking to everyone and being with everyone made that day special.
We started packing our bags two days after the feast. I was really surprised to see all the things my relatives brought for us. Everyone wanted to give us something to take to the USA. The last day all our relatives and neighbors came over to see us off. Saying goodbye was so emotional, we all cried. When it was time to leave, my relatives comforted us and we left India with a lot of wonderful memories in our minds and hearts.
I landed in Detroit on September 3rd. 2 years have passed and well, I am back to my normal life now. I do not have a lot of relatives around me to pamper me or cousins to joke around with. But the great memories of India will remain like a breeze in my heart forever. Going to India reminds me that I am so lucky to be born into such a wonderful, caring and big family. Even though I go to India every two years, that feeling of excitement never goes away. And now its 2010 and its August. You know what that means! Its time for another vacation memory.
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