Traveling With My Sister

I’m flummoxed by the Trump administration so far.  It’s disheartening to read about fathers who can’t attend the birth of their first child or Academy-award nominees who can’t enter the country to celebrate their work.  This will be a hard fight, but in the meantime, I’m focusing on my sister, 18, who is a documented immigrant.

My sister, the most beautiful young woman I’ve ever met, has been in this country since I was 6 and she was 5 months.  Thankfully, she will never be deported, but it crossed my mind for a hot second when Mr. Trump declared his deportation plans for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.  My sister has been an American citizen for a number of years & frightens me to think about where she would be back in India or what her future would hold as a deportee.  Ignorance is bliss.

The two of us, however, have always had plans to travel together even though we’re distinctly different people (Me: likes to pack & plan weeks in advance.  Natalie: leaves suitcase at homes & realizes when we’re halfway to Hawaii.  Yes, that actually happened.  She didn’t even have undergarments).  But we’ve always wanted to travel to Asia.  Specifically, we want to visit her birthplace of Calcutta (now known as Kolkalta) & tour India.  Is anyone intrigued by the fact that a country as large as India can change the name of a large city overnight?  WE ARE.

The photo below was taken after we got her some clothes & bathing suits.  I look exactly the same 10 years later.  She has grown into a stunning young woman.


I wish I could say the two of us have traveled together, but we haven’t.  We’ve only traveled with our parents.  One vivid memory I have is flying to the Twin Cities just 4 days after the 9/11 attacks.  It was for an Irish dance competition (known as a feis to the dancing community).  I remember my mother saying that the scariest thing on the plane was actually my sister.  Not because she looked liked a terrorist, but because she was still in her terrible twos.  You wanted to keep your distance.

One day we will get to India and explore her birthplace.  Most of us are fortunate to know our biological families or know our roots.  I need to give something back to her & teach her that nothing is more beautiful than travel, especially with the ones you love.

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