It's a little known fact that I have a sister in Switzerland. She doesn't look like me. She's medium height, blonde, rail thin. She doesn't act like me. She's always the life of the party, hates reading, and thinks that museums are boring. Clearly, we don't share any DNA. She is part of my family much the same way Tom Hagen was a part of Vito Corleone's family. Minus the olive oil smuggling and the offers you can't refuse. And the orphan part.
She became my sister when she lived with my family as a foreign exchange student ten years ago. We spent countless Friday nights staying up too late drinking Mountain Dew, eating Kraft macaroni and cheese, making brownies and watching The Wedding Singer over and over and over again. I haven't watched the movie in years, but I think I could still quote 75% of it to you. We loved the movie, but my Swiss sis was more than a junk food and movie pal.
She was a bucket full of sunshine in the sea of murky water that was the early teen years of my life. My family was in the midst of the havoc wreaked by death and depression. She didn't let the havoc stop her from loving us and helping us to find hope in new things life. And we haven't stop loving her since.
There is something about sharing your life with someone in the murkiest, weakest moments that binds you together. Eternally. When you emerge from those times, you find that you've become an indescribable sort of family.
My Swiss sis stepped off an airplane this evening with her mom and a suitcase full of chocolate in tow. I haven't seen her in four years. It's time to create some new family memories.