I left you on the evening before. I had a plan: go sleep until about 11 pm, so that I would have strength to stay up a little bit at night to call and wish my sister in Denmark Happy New Year. I slept until 11:30, got up, still so drowsy that my eyes didn't want to open. That's when I heard Sonny's voice: "Mommy, Daddy, Auntie Hitomi is calling on Facebook from Japan!"
|Hitomi is in the center, Reina is on the right side and Serena - on the left.|
My wonderful sister-in-law, Hitomi, and her daughters, Reina and Serena, called! Takashi-san, their father, helped to set up the camera and have a conversation, but then bowed out of it politely. Perhaps, he had to go somewhere.
Last time that I saw my nieces was in Japan, in 1997, I think. They are about the same age as my kids, maybe, a little older, so they were 4-6 years old. I could tell right away who was who, because they still look like they did before! Same cute, fresh faces, same characters. Reina (on the right) is the elder. She studies Environmental Engineering in Korea. Serena is just a year or so younger. She is a student of Nursing. Their little sister, Haruna, is working on Anime art at Pixar!
We all piled up in front of the laptop. At first we kept on laughing and waving like maniacs, then Taka started to translate the snippets of conversations that erupted between different people. I couldn't see very well, who was in the camera shot from our side, so I tried to move to let my kids be seen. They were surprisingly social, talked and laughed freely. We wished each other everything good under the stars, asked about Taka's and Hitomi's parents, then it was 2 minutes before the New Year! We grabbed a bottle of Martinelli Champagne (sparkling apple juice) and on the other side of the world Hitomi opened a bottle of something too. We toasted the New Year's arrival with our relatives. It was the best feeling that I had since my own family either died or moved away!
The conversation continued for a while. Reina is thinking of coming to the U.S. to study English. We offered her Hanah's room to stay and our hospitality.
Both cats realized that, something interesting was happening, so they climbed on top of our human pile and sniffed and rubbed around questioningly. That, of course, elicited a lot of giggles on both sides of the Pacific!
While we were talking with Hitomi and her girls, a Skype chime sounded! My sister was dialing from Denmark! I couldn't disconnect from Hitomi to speak with her!'
Finally, after warm good byes, we hung up. Although our mood was happy and festive, my kids immediately said: "Call Lera (my sister) and beg her forgiveness!"
But she didn't answer.
Usually, as was customary in my parents' family, the New Year's eve and it's arrival are a big event. We always made a big meal that could last until morning, filled with special delicacies. After 12 midnight, it was usual to celebrate with cakes, sweets and deli stuffs, like smoked salmon, caviar, good cheese, salami, - you get the point! This year I got corn chips, dip and Martinelli champagne. OK, I also bought some cheap lox and frozen coconut cake that is still waiting to be eaten. You know what? I liked this New Year's better than most others! There were no unrealistic expectations of children and husband helping to set up a table, no exhaustion from cooking and disappointment when no one appreciated the meal. I liked that we felt free to go to the table, scoop some dip with chips and not worry that we'd drip on an expensive table cloth or spill drinks on it. My mom, probably, turned in her grave, but we didn't get anxious about this get-together at all!
SO, what about my sister? Did I just leave her to stew in resentment for not answering her Skype call? Never! I dialed and dialed for hours, but - to no avail.
Kids and husband satisfied their sweet and salty teeth (you know that expression: "Sweet tooth"?) and went to bed. I kept on calling and watching a British TV drama The Forsyte Saga. I read a book on which it was based when I was fifteen!
At five o'clock in the morning I decided to go to bed. That's when Lera called me and said that she was not upset at all, - she called me once and went to bed, peacefully unaware of the guilt trip that she caused. On the other side of the Atlantic...