There are so many great things I love about having a blog. It’s a place where I can practice writing, share my stories but most importantly, it’s an opportunity for me to look back on my memories. I just wish I had started it sooner, because really, thanks to my wonderful parents, I’ve been lucky enough to travel most of my life.
Looking back and going through old passports and the very few remaining photographs, I really do have to count my blessings at the opportunities I’ve had and the places we’ve been. And more importantly that I was able to do most of it with my very best friend in the whole entire world.
From the moment she was born, well actually I was too young to remember the moment, but my parents confirmed that the smiles in our first pictures together were real – I was elated at the arrival of my sibling. Thirty years ago today, was the day my life, that was already pretty good, was going to become pretty great.
I mean my love and obsession with my new baby girl probably didn’t make her life much easier. I was the annoying big sister after all. She had to be the student when we played teacher, probably had to watch what I wanted to watch and as the faster lego builder, I never let her finish her constructions. Most siblings have moments in their lives where they probably couldn’t stand each other. And that was probably the time she could have done without me pestering and being overly involved in her business.
But I think it’s safe to say I never had that feeling… I see us as two peas in a pod, quite literally sometimes (we frequently paraded matching outfits). She’s my voice of reason, my person to rant to, a shoulder to cry on… but most importantly nobody makes me laugh the way she does. And that’s something I’ve always treasured. As we’ve got older, the laughs have got louder, longer and usually unbearable to the people around us. She doesn’t just make me have fun, she makes me feel fun. My sister is the first person I could be myself around, ask the stupid questions (I still don’t know where apostrophes go) and she has been a key player when it’s come to building up my self confidence. I’ve written posts and said it many times that over the last few years that she’s been the one I look up to. My mum and dad have spent their lives thinking of others and man I wish I had half of their spirit in me, but I know I haven’t – because my sister definitely took that lion share. A real sense of selflessness where thinking of others and doing everything to ensure someones else’s happiness takes the ultimate priority.
Anyway I digress… I wanted this post to be about my earliest travel memories, like the time my sister won us a trip to Eurodisney and we had fun in Paris and she was petrified of King Louis, the time we went to Dubai before the craziness it became today and spent endless hours on the beach. The times we spent joining my dad in Bahrain on his company away days and we used to cycle around as a family. Travelling on planes together, sat side by side watching movies. Coming over to England every summer, being joined at the hip, hiding under beds, giggling at our own private jokes. The many local holidays we embarked on – the silly things I’d make her do just so I could take a totally useless picture, like holding silk worm pupae up as eyeballs (you had to be there) and always tried my best at forcing her to dress up every so often (something the boys have grown to hate). The endless trips to zoos, animal parks, safaris… just so she could make me happy.
We’re different people, with different interests, which when you’re travelling can be quite testing. If you’ve ever gone on holiday with friends and family you’ll know there’s usually some sort of struggle or drama when deciding what to do or where to eat… but thankfully we’ve never had that problem. As travel buddies, we both bonded over our love for the sun, for discovery, for cats… there’s usually always cats involved!
Over the years, we’ve been apart for periods of time university, work, life… and then thankfully by the grace of God we were brought back together. I married Mo, she married G and our bond grew stronger as the men in our lives knew how much we meant to each other and made sure we stayed close – Apart from the year she left me to go to Indonesia – now that was a blow I didn’t take too kindly to, but actually it did result in the most amazing vacation to see her.
A vacay where we waited all afternoon in scorching heat for a parade that never happened. We had slumber parties and ordered burger king delivery to our hotel. Had the best meals, shopped for t-shirts like we were millionaires, took Bluebirds all over Jakarta and embarked on the most momentous boat journey of all time, the infamous ‘oolti’-boat.
FYI – for non gujrati speakers, ‘oolti’ translates to puke. I’ll tell you the tale someday.
That was Mo’s first holiday with my baby sister… she returned a few months later and that Christmas we all spent a beautiful weekend celebrating her marriage – and of course the start of the fantastic four…
And then life took another turn.
On the 14th January my beautiful baby sister, gave birth to my beautiful baby nephew. It wasn’t long before we couldn’t imagine life without him as the new parents nurtured this loving little bundle into the smiley, happy, sweet pile of joyfulness who I quickly claimed and christened into my blog as a member of JSC. Baby H has already been on his first holiday, it didn’t take him long to start jetting off and it won’t be long before the excitement of a new type of group travel awaits us.
Today, she turns 30. And it’s a day where we should be showering her with gifts, love and affection… but I can’t help but look back instead and think of all the wonderful gifts she has given me over the years. From the strength in my soul to the love for Baby H which nearly matches my love for her, something I didn’t expect would ever be possible. I could tell you endless stories about my sister, but I won’t because one it would take forever, and two because I’m just not a good enough writer to put into words her true brilliance.
All I know is that I have had 30 years of true friendship and that there is nothing, not a single thing, that comes close to being a better gift than that. Even though these next few days will be spent doing our best to spoil the birthday girl, I can’t help but feel like I’m the lucky one.
Looking forward to many more years of fun, adventure and laughing so loud that mum has to tell us off.
(or maybe till someones pants fall off? I can’t keep up with all your sayings ?)
Love you always xxx
p.s. looking forward to you reading this and firing over all my corrections ?