Friday, 18 August 2017

Beauty in brokenness

I sit at the edge of the bedroom - the one and only bedroom in this small apartment that was built for newly-weds - and watch my siblings crawl out of slumber. Before I left for the UK, my sister and I shared a room to ourselves in our old home. My brother had his own room while the two young ones slept with our parents. Although it may sound like a crowd - trust me - it was beyond comfortable.

I came home for the summer after my first year in the UK. Despite all the mental prep that "we had to downsize to a smaller home", "you won't have a room for yourself" and "you might not even have your own closet", I could not get used to the fact that I no longer had my own privacy, let alone a proper place to unpack my clothes. I have to admit, even though I tried to be a good daughter and refrained from grumbling, I was, at many times, frustrated. Moreover, the drastic change from having my own room to "squeezing" in a shared room of the same size made it all the more unbearable. Mind you, we are a family of seven.

When I came home for the summer after my second year, I was told that a loft has been built for my sister and I to share. An aircon was installed as well, probably because my mum knew how hard it would be for me to sleep in such intense humidity. Perhaps, she had sense my discomfort during the previous year's summer after all. The second summer was considerably more comfortable since I had my (makeshift) personal room space.

This is my third summer back at home. My mum asked if I would prefer to sleep in the loft or in the room. I chose the room. I don't know why I did that, but I chose to sleep where my baby sister would roll over to my side and steal my blanket in the middle of the night, where my mum and brother would snore through the night in perfect harmony, and where I was in the midst of five other warm bodies. (My dad lovingly gave up his spot for the couch.) Am I uncomfortable, though? Not at all.

It takes me an average of one to two hours to fall asleep in the UK, regardless of how tired I am. On bad days, it could go up to three, or even four. At home, in the presence of my family, it takes minutes. This, I cannot explain.

What I can say is that even though things have gotten tougher for my family, things have not gotten uglier. Despite the initial discomfort and occasional grumblings, we have gotten closer as a family.

I guess there is beauty in brokenness, after all.

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