Last December I invited my aunt, uncle, and cousins to the city to ice skate on Union Square. They live in Palo Alto and were psyched to make the trip. We spun around the ice for an hour before our hands turned blue and twilight loomed and our stomaches growled like barbarians’.
My cousins’ favorite part of the city is China Town, so we dilly-dallied up and down Grant Avenue’s narrow sidewalks, popping into authentic boutiques and ogling everything in sight: elephant tusks, Chinese finger traps, lion heads, coffee cups crafted with lead paint, playing cards, you name it. My cousins each spent the five dollars I’d given them as an early Christmas present on nonsense like this. Afterward we ducked inside a bona fide noodle shop for some Dim Sum.
Until now, these people were just distant family members that I’d see once a year at family reunions at my grandma’s home in New Jersey. But now they were the closest relatives I had in San Francisco. And during my first Christmas season away from home? Having them around was quite comforting.