Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meeting Family in Macao

When I told my mother that Matt and I were planning to go to Macao, she insisted that we stay with my "aunt" while we were there.

Let's be frank here, this "aunt" isn't really my aunt. She's my mother's first cousin from Burma who is now living in Macao with her husband (whom I've never met). My mother hasn't even talked to my "aunt" since we last saw her (briefly) in Burma a number of years ago. I can't remember ever exchanging a word with this "aunt." On top of all this, I was quite uncomfortable with the idea of Matt and I staying with a virtual stranger who was, without a doubt in my mind, going to report every single move we made back to my mother.

"Family is family" my mother told me and the situation was settled. Matt and I were to stay with my "aunt."

When we arrived in Macao, I was a bit nervous as I didn't know what to expect. I didn't even know if my "aunt" and I would recognize one another! As Matt and I came out of the Macao ferry terminal, my anxiety vanished as I instantly recognized my "aunt" and the big grin on her face showed that she had recognized me too.

Meeting my distant "aunt" in Macao
"You look just like your father!" she exclaimed and started taking bags from my and herding Matt and I towards the taxi stand.

The week in Macao with my "aunt" turned out to be a fantastic week and Matt and I both grew very fond of her and her husband, Stanley. The two of them showed us boundless hospitality and we really enjoyed spending time with them in their home sharing midnight tea, eating fabulous food all over Macao and gambling at the famed Macao casinos (revert to Matt and my gambling addiction blog). Stanley even treated Matt and I to a fabulously luxurious day at the incredible Malo Clinic Spa at the Venetian, complete with 180 minute aromatic massage and an afternoon in the jacuzzis!

Here are some of the fun photos Matt and I took while meeting and getting to know my extended family in Macao!

Tired after a day of walking around Macao

Do you see any family resemblance with me and my aunts?
Gorging at a local seafood restaurant
The new family portrait
Although I was a bit hesitant to meet and stay with my extended family in the beginning, I'm really glad that I did! Matt and I ended up having a great time and now we stay in touch with my "aunt" often. Now that we're living just a short ferry ride from Macao, Matt and I are planning to go back to visit them!

My mom was right: Family is family, no matter the distance and even if you've never met before!

Have you ever met distant relatives while traveling? What was that like?

© Connie Hum 2011


  1. What a fabulous end to this story! I was so nervous because of the title. She looks adorable!!

  2. So nice it all worked out great - I've got some extended family round the world I'm going to have to meet at some point, I'm nervous about it as I've spoken on facebook etc but never met, this gives me hope...

  3. Aww, that's a lovely story. Your 'aunt' has a really friendly face so I bet you were instantly relieved when you got off the ferry to meet her. Glad you all had a good tome together.

  4. Lovely story! It's nice to find some family n the other corner of the world, right? I once met family (very distant family) in Brazil when I was a kid, it was fun - but I can't remember much of it..

  5. @Andi of My Beautiful Adventures I was pretty nervous too! I'm glad that my "aunt ended up being so great!

    @Poi This experience has definitely made me feel more comfortable about meeting more family around the world. At least you have some contact with them before meeting!

    @Julia Yeah, what's funny is that sometimes my "aunt" can actually look quite disgruntled but she's a total sweetheart!

    @Katherina Maybe this means you should go back to Brazil and visit them? =)

  6. I really wish we could visit my family. They are in northern Mexico and it is just too dangerous to go there right now.

    I'm happy that your aunt turned out to be really cool!

  7. I am crap at meeting distant relatives T_T I should try to do better

  8. @Erica I understand how you feel because when I was back in NYC in 2008 watching the news of the Buddhist monks leading peaceful walkouts in Yangon, I was horrified to see how the military regime reacted. I kept frantically searching the news footage to see if I recognized any family members. Scary. I hope that your family, even in the midst of danger, is keeping safe!

    @Mochachocolata Rita Honestly, I wouldn't have done it if my mother hadn't basically forced me. Now that I have, I'm more willing to in the future. Maybe you just need one awesome experience to win you over. =)

  9. Looks like you did have a good time.

    I wish i had distant relatives to visit too. All my relatives live right here in Sweden, but yeah, I should visit them more often.

  10. Sounds like it turned out a lot better than you could have imagined. I must admit i would have felt the same way as you family is family but not everyone is the same.

  11. @Tobias Exploring new and different parts of Sweden can still be fun! But yes, visit them more often! =)

    @Bluegreen Kirk Family is a strange thing isn't it? There's some sort of obligation to them, even though sometimes they can be the exact type of person you can't stand. =) I'm glad my "aunt" wasn't one of those!

  12. that's awesome!! love those kinda stories. before i moved to NY from UK, i had no place to stay in NY so i called my aunt in Long Island if I could stay with her (last time i saw her was '93!!)...i'm so so glad i stayed with her and her fam! they are so awesome, she's like one of my best friends basically. i've stayed with them again after that and before moving back to california. i will never forget them and all the long island seafood they've fed me! :)

  13. @mi-an Plus, nothing really beats home-cooked food! =)

  14. Aww looks like you had a great time at your "New" aunt's place. My parent wouldn't probably say the same thing, family is family. hehe

  15. @Sarah Wu Ha, I think I've really come to appreciate family, even distant ones, during my travels! Did you mean to say that your parents WOULD say the same??? Hope so!


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