My family is terribly important to me and I am extremely fortunate to have a very big and very close extended family. Back in my London days I had eleven cousins and my two brothers on my doorstep who I met up with regularly for dinners, theatre trips, to watch the Six Nations Rugby, to sing Les Miserables with, and to perfect together our Britney Spears 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' dance moves. Mum and dad would often travel to London to visit me and my brothers and treat us to dinner, along with a group of our friends and our current boyfriend/girlfriends. At the time when I moved to Hamble, my brother Tom moved to Barcelona and many of my cousins moved out of London, making spontaneous nights out with family a little harder, but we still managed to meet up - it just took a bit more planning. Also, my parents still visited me regularly - especially in the summer - when they would appear on their yacht Moonbeam and would invite me and my friends for 'drinkies' on-board.
When the idea of moving out of the UK was first discussed with David, I was genuinely concerned about leaving behind family and living on the other side of the world without my family support-network close at hand. However, last night David and I were taken to dinner at the prestigious members club - The Hong Kong Club - by my Uncle Neil Maidment, who has lived in Hong Kong for many years.
The first and only other time I met Neil was 19 years ago when I was sent to work in Hong Kong for a few weeks in the run-up to the World Cup of Golf held at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen, China - when I was a lowly Events Assistant (aka General Dogsbody) in my first permanent job. He had very kindly taken me for a delicious dinner at The Hong Kong Club - which made a pleasant change to a liquid dinner at Joe Bananas flirting with young ex-pat bankers or cold gyoza in my hotel room at the YMCA!
Joining us for dinner last night were Neil's brother-in-law Paul and his niece Olivia who are both Cantonese. Paul and Olivia have very kindly offered to teach David and I the useful Cantonese swear words so we can understand when we are being cursed at, to show us how to cook with the unrecognisable Chinese vegetables that we see on the market stalls, and to take us for Dim Sum. So, as of last night, my family has extended further and it feels both comforting and reassuring to know that I still have family right on my doorstep.