Happy birthday to me! Once again, I am in a foreign country on my birthday. In the last ten years, I can only recall two birthdays in the United States.
Today's TBT post is special because Peru was my first trip with my younger brother, Jason, since our respective college graduations. In 2012, we decided to go on a fifteen-day tour of Peru based on an online flash deal. (Yes, spontaneous decision making runs in the family. Luckily, we make great decisions most of the time.) Neither of us has been to South America, so it was a great opportunity to explore a new part of the world together. Unfortunately, our youngest brother, Andrew, was unable to come with us, since he was spending his summer in Berlin.
Just because we were adults did not mean we grew out of our usual sibling spats. We haven't shared a room under the same roof for at least fifteen years. We both lived alone in our own apartments, so everyday activities presented a few entertaining challenges. (If you ever meet Jason in real life, ask him about how he felt on Lake Titicaca.) Eventually, we worked through our quirks. Jason carried my backpack when I was getting a little tired from the hikes. I tracked down chicken broth and medicine late at night when he was knocked out by food poisoning and altitude sickness. All through the trip, our support for each other pushed us to experience the country in all its glory from boarding in the sand dunes, exploring floating villages at 4000m elevation, and watching sunrise at Machu Picchu. We ate ceviche and drank pisco sours until wee hours in the morning while proving every American stereotype wrong to our fellow travelers in our tour group.
I consider myself lucky to have siblings. Having someone to talk to your hopes, dreams, fears and failures is a blessing. Even if Jason is five years younger and couldn't relate, he still listened intently. Sometimes, he asked simple questions, and those questions can shed a new light on the issue I'm facing. (Andrew, who is nine years younger, did the same.) My younger brothers are unapologetically, brutally honest. If they do not like something, they will tell me without any hesitation. If they like something, they will say so. If they have no opinion, I just assumed that thing or person is so horrid that it deserves no opinion.
People have said that your parents know you better than anyone else. On the contrary, I am absolutely convinced that siblings just know you better than your own parents. Why?
- They grew up with you. They witnessed every dumb decision you made and everything that you tried to hide from your parents. Consequentially, they also know your inspires you and gets under your skin.
- They got your back when it counts. Remember when you are actually going to the movies with your crush instead of doing homework with your girlfriends? As long as you come to terms, your siblings won't rat you out because they know you would do the same for them.
- They always know when to leave you alone but know the EXACT moment to intervene. As much as your parents try to guide (or control) your life, you siblings know you are the arbiter of your own destiny. Thus, they'll let you make mistakes, so you can learn from them. They only intervene when you're about to do something that will have lasting negative impact.
So today, this post is dedicated to my brothers and every other sibling out there. Together, Jason and I realized that Peru is just more than Machu Picchu. One day, we hope to return back with Andrew and go on another adventure.