Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Expat Talk: 5 Things I Love About Having My Family "Home For The Holidays"

My parents and my brother have been staying with me since last Friday and every day feels like Christmas. I go to sleep feeling excited; I wake up feeling excited. This morning, when I was heating up my breakfast in the microwave, my mom appeared out of nowhere in her nightgown to admonish me for heating it up in the microwave instead of cooking it on the stove and I shrieked because she scared the you-know-what out of me, but at the same time, I was so glad that she was there to scare the you-know-what out of me. Does that make sense?

John has been the champion son-in-law and took two days off work this week to babysit spend time with my parents, taking them to the Chinese supermarket so they could buy ingredients to cook with and also to the Tower of London.

Even though it's only been a few days, I've loved every minute of having my family in my home, and here are 5 reasons why:

Coming home to Mom's special chicken congee

Congee is a kind of rice porridge that's popular in Cantonese cuisine. It's super comforting and you can have it with all kinds of side dishes and ingredients, from salted pork and century eggs to spicy pickled turnips and omelettes. The other night, my stomach was feeling a little off, so I came home to find my mom stirring congee over the stove, using the roast chicken we'd had the night before. Magic.

Being able to poke Dad in the side when he's falling asleep in front of the TV

It never gets old. And then he pretends he's really super awake before giving in and admitting defeat.

Watching 'Are You Afraid of the Dark' with my brother while we eat Chinese hot pot in our dining room - just like we did when we were kids

It's our family tradition to have hot pot for dinner on Saturdays and, when we were little, my brother and I would watch 'Are You Afraid of the Dark' on Nickelodeon, huddled under a blanket together, before nabbing a meatball or fishball from our bowls during commercials. Whenever I go home, I insist on this tradition, and my brother gamely complies while my parents look on in amusement and add more items to the bubbling pot.

Dad's dad jokes

My dad has a knack for being funny without intending to be ... or sometimes he does intend to be funny and it backfires in the funniest way. The other day, our train passed through Hackney Downs and Dad thought the announcer had said, "Hack Me Down", which he found hilarious. Everytime "Hackney Downs" was repeated, he dissolved into fits of giggles. Then, when I pointed out a blemish on his nose, he said, "I know. I try to fight it but this guy - this guy?" He pointed to the blemish. "HE KEEPS FIGHTING BACK!" Then he made a little punching motion with his hand, mimicking a boxer. Oh, dad.

Meeting my brother for lunch

My brother's been working out of his company's London office this week, which is conveniently located between my office and John's office! We met for lunch today and it gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to live in the same city as my sibling. It was so interesting to meet as "grown-ups" and I asked him more about his job as I realized I didn't know much about what he did on a day-to-day basis.

If you live far away from your family, what do you love the most about being in their company when you're together?

Also, a great tip on how to deal with homesickness.


  1. It must be lovely having your family with you for Christmas :)

  2. There's nothing as good as a Dad joke!

    1. There were lots of Dad jokes over Christmas, Suze! Happy New Year :)

  3. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who finds it hilarious to poke a loved one right before they doze off!haha


    1. Haha, most definitely! My dad snoozed off more times I than I could count while he was over ...

  4. This makes me so happy - aren't Dad jokes the BEST!!


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