zaterdag 14 augustus 2010

Hanging out in the Family Tree.

Cruise, Brown, Folon, Sting, WH Auden, Mc Arthur, Rodin, Potter, Nespresso, Stein, Lauder, Facinelli, Grün, Apple, Tiffany, Mozart, Alfa Romeo, Bond, Firth, Cosby, Häagen-Dazs, Sartre, Clooney, Einstein, Figo, Seal, Disney, Austen, Monet,Haribo, Redford, Clijsters, Ford, Skywalker, Pitt, Barilla, Rachmaninov, Marcolini, Obama, Cullen,..... . I do like the ring of certain names! As you can read my personal list is long and distinguished. Still, I would like to include one extra name and that is my own. Because yes, I am very proud of it. To me it 'stands' as firm as a rock and when I get to say it out loud it can make me feel stronger, more self confident, ready to act and go for what I am after. And I am very happy that my parents choose a very fitting first name to go along with it as well!

So tomorrow around this time I will be heading back home with P & A after meeting up with tons of people who have one thing in common: their last name! Personally I just happen to be born in a family with a very inspiring heritage. On top of all the historical facts that can be found in numerous written documents it is also made up out of strong characters. Individuals who know what they want to get out of this one ride through life.

Not all is honey and pie. After all, family ties can be broken by certain events. And the stronger the bondage is the fiercer the arguments turn out to be. Also the pain caused by them can be felt in many things. So there are cracks in the branches of the family tree. It is a very strange sensation to experience that because it can be painful. After all it is your next of kin you happen not get along as well any more. You seem not to converse that easily with some of them and that does make you feel a bit insecure. All you are able to do is exchange with those family members is a very polite handshake, or three fast kisses on the cheeks. Nothing more and then move on to the ones you still seem to have easier time tattering away with.

Still, I am very happy to see them all! Single one of them. Because the are the best proof of what my last name can stand for. Looking in their eyes, admiring their facial features and searching for the things that we have common is the best activity ever. It can be a sweet smile of a 3 year old second cousin in which you happen to recognize your own smile, the fierce look of an uncle who tries to convince his brother that he still knows it better, or the body language of one of your cousins that seems to echo in the one of your own son (A will be checked out by many for the very first time!) or daughter, or the paste of steps your godfather takes while he walks by and you seem to think it is your own father walking by, or when you suddenly hear an aunt in the second degree talking to your mother you seem to hear twice the same voice!!

Tomorrow I meet up with tons of people who are different and unique, chase after their own dreams and have particular wishes and hopes. All them have been disappointed or got hurt by certain events or have encountered the luck of their live in many ways or forms. There are all one of a kind stories and some of them might still be a busy creating their own family bonzai! Most of them will bring as well 'back up' in the form of a boyfriend (my sis is bringing hers for the first time and I hope that he will survive!! P will be on his maiden voyage as well!!), girlfriend, husband, wife, fiancée or sons and daughters. Some will be by themselves because they have lost somebody or seemed still not to have found a new branch to link to 'our' family tree. But all of them are the living proof that a family name can stand the test of time and tries to grow and blossom!

The weather forecast for tomorrow is not that promising. But then while the rain will be falling on the tent where a very colorful bunch will be sheltering chances are that I will be smiling away. Once in 5 years I get to see my family tree in the flesh and every time I am amazed about how kind life has been to us. How blessed I am when it comes down to my name and heritage! Some faces will be new and some faces will be missed dearly!! The moment the photographer will ask all of us to look up where he or she is standing on a ladder to take that one unique shot of the S-family it will be for sure one of the highlights of my summer. So, when have you for the last time been hanging around in your family tree?? It could be a very surprising trip of a life time!!

P.S.: Yes, there is somewhere in Belgium a street named after one of my family members with a very special background story! This even makes it a more colorful name to carry along. But personal I like the fact that I happen to live in a street that is very fitting next to my last name. Once when I filled out some personal information for a membership card and handed it over to the lady behind the counter she looked very suspiciously. 'You must be joking!', she said, 'Or did you make this up?', her reaction was when she saw that rather funny combination. Uhm, I guess that 'Hengstenberg' was the best place ever to find a 'stable' for my 'back up'!!!

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