Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting to know your sister in 200,000 easy steps.

Having just returned from a fantastic trip to the UK with my sister, her husband, and some of their friends, I am eager to preserve the memory of it as best I can.  While photo albums and little mementos will help, the experience of connecting with my sister “Gigio”, is one that will remain at the top of the list.

Her husband and friends all sing in a choir so for the first week, their days were full of rehearsals and Evensong every night at the beautiful Ripon Cathedral. That left Gigio and I (Topo) to our own devices.  And speaking of devices, we both decided to wear our FitBits for the trip to track how many steps we covered on our daily treks.  Turns out, we covered over 83 miles on foot which equated to a lot of talking, musing, and of course, giggling. We are, after all, sisters.

Our family of 5, (my being the eldest, and her being the middle child), was always a very boisterous household – 4 girls and a boy. My memories of our childhood are of an active, happy, healthy, creative, and positive time. What I don’t remember so well is nurturing one-on-one relationships with my siblings.  I am closest to my next sister through our singing, and having our kids at the same time.  She and I definitely stay in touch the most and we have always had a lovely relationship (notwithstanding the teenage arguments we used to have over clothes and boys!).  Each of my siblings and I enjoy each other immensely, but my deeper connection with them didn’t really happen until I moved out west and each sibling visited separately a few times. (I am so blessed that at least one of them always makes a point to be with me on the anniversary of Duncan’s passing… and I am very grateful for that.)

Still, this was different.  We were exploring new outer and inner territory together. We talked about everything from relationships to loss to kids to fashion… you name it… we covered it. What I loved about it was finding out just how much in common we had in terms of our likes and dislikes.  We loved shopping in the same kind of stores, had a similar level of interest in the museum side of the trip (e.g. we didn’t read every single word on every single plaque, but we stopped at the things that interested us and passed by those that didn’t). We thoroughly enjoyed the gardens, taking pictures, and walking until we dropped.  And if that wasn’t enough, we would watch Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë miniseries to round out our British immersion.  And of course, we ended our daily agendas with a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio (a.k.a. Topo Gigio). Hence our new terms of endearment.

What I cherish the most is that we have reached a higher and more sustainable connection than it was before… I feel like I really got to know, understand and love her more deeply. I also got to know my brother-in-law much better and that has been a real treat for me as well.  (We’ve still to come up with a name for him!) And last, but certainly not least, I made some new friends that I know I will see again when I visit back east.

I’ve been home for a week now, and I already want to go back!  We were just getting started! I feel like I have found a new friend. Thank you Gigio for an amazing time. I loved every minute of it.

Feelin’ the love, one step at a time,

Topo  xox

P.S.  For those of you who would revel in a good romp around England, here’s a list of some of the places we visited...