I have often said that in the Philippines, if you trace your family tree far enough, you could consider everyone your cousin. That’s kinda how it works there, there aren’t any 2nd, 3rd, 4th or whatever cousins, it’s simply cousins. Here in the States, it’s a lot more complex and confusing, and to be honest I don’t know how it all works. Even some of my cousins here had to Google how it works to see if were 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins or 2nd or 3rd cousins once removed. While living in the Philippines, there were some cousins I was close to, but a majority of them I wasn’t really close to or didn’t even meet. Just to give you some perspective, I have cousins that are as old as my Mom. Here in the States, my oldest cousin is about the age of my older brother, give or take a couple years. The cousins I was close to in the Philippines are around my age, or are close enough that we have similar interests and such. I grew up with them and have many fond experiences with them. Here in the States, my cousins are also close to my age, but I feel like we aren’t really close because we haven’t known each other long enough, our interests are different and we grew up in different cultures.
Over the course of living here, I’ve noticed that families work differently here compared to the Philippines. In the Philippines, you’ll see bigger families living together, especially in more rural areas. The elderly usually stay with family rather than go to a retirement home or something like that. Families in the Philippines are basically a lot more dependent on each other. I’m not saying that’s bad, it’s just the way it works there. Meanwhile, here in the States, family members are a lot more independent. The elderly might live on their own, or kids might go to a different state for college and therefore live on their own. The States is a big country, and you can have cousins all the way on the other side of the country, which is true in my case. The Philippines isn’t much better, it being an archipelago, and still a fairly big place, you could have cousins from Manila when you live in Davao for example.
Over the past few weeks, my Dad has been telling me that he’s been having some great company over. His grandnieces and grandnephews have been over for a while and he’s been loving spending time with them. From what I’ve been told, there are quite a few of them and he’s been taking them out and hanging out with them. It just kinda shows how big our family is, having a lot of kids come over. It’s still weird for me to think that I’m an uncle to a lot of kids, and only one of those kids lives here in the States.
Just some thoughts on families and some of their differences.