Ohana, oh na na, half of my heart is in the diaspora

Shoutout to Camila Cabello and Lilo & Stitch for the title reference. I really hope you read it with a rhythm. P.S. “Ohana” means family. And, you know the rest.

A dream my family had been praying about for years had manifested itself this past December. My mom’s whole family from the diaspora were blessed to gather in Toronto for Christmas and New Years.

The diaspora means “the dispersion of any people from their original homeland” according to Google. If you want to know a little more about that, you can skim through my mini tribute to MLK Jr.  I wrote 2 weeks ago!

I chose to spend the whole month with my family every chance I got instead of redecorating my room or doing something superficial this past break. I wanted to soak in every minute we got with them. Although we hoped getting a puppy would be the cherry on top of this dream-come-true, the little guy took some time away from family because he simply would not sleep!!! He’s considered family now though so I’m gonna look at it as a belated win-win?


Tune in next week for a vlog on how we got our lil bud and how he’s been doing so far! (He’s definitely sleeping more but man is he barking more too… I apologize again to our neighbours if you ever read this.)

So, my mom’s whole side of the family (her parents, brothers, and sisters, including their own families) were able to finally get back together again after about 20 years of being apart. Some were finally sponsored to live here. Some have settled for 3 years now. And, some had visited from their now-homes in Europe.

Here’s us when I was only two years old and the pictures we tried to replicate, 18 years later:



Some people in these photos couldn’t believe they were actually in Canada. I still don’t think they’ve taken it in after having returned to their part of the world.

We have all grown so much though (obviously) and now there’s more kids, adults, and more animals to this family (that aren’t in these photos for confidentiality.)

I used to complain that our family was so small and that we didn’t have celebrations as big as the ones I’d compare myself to on Instagram and Facebook. We would never spend the nights singing and dancing nor would we go over to our cousins’ homes whenever we wanted to. We didn’t have cousins living close to us.  I’d always wanted to experience that though, and I’m hoping to have a huge family of my own when I’m older for my kids to experience what I’d missed out on.

This one month of pure family-time was absolute bliss though. We had a full house of people and food this year. We danced, we laughed, we cried, and we all completely forgot about the gifting aspect of Christmas.

A dream.

(I do want to say that it wasn’t completely perfect though. We were missing a couple of people from my dad’s side of the family because of certain circumstances and their presence was so evident.)

I’ve just been dwelling on how close-to-perfect this past break was and I’ve been missing the family that were here just a month ago. Some people don’t realize how blessed they are to be able to spend time with their huge families on a day-to-day basis and to have cousins as friends.

So many immigrants have to deal with separation from family – it’s a common thing. But I don’t think it’s talked about enough in terms of how it may disconnect you from the importance of family, or the beauty of culture and tradition.

I’m holding onto this past Christmas; it’s going to stay in my heart for a while and my family will forever be there too. So, although half of my family is in the diaspora, that same half will always be in my heart anyway. 

I felt the need to write this ever since it’s been awfully quiet in my house. The noise of kids running around and adults laughing out loud was surprisingly bliss last month.

On the other hand though… the amount of noise my little puppy has been making lately… not so blissful. (Love him forever though)

Thanks for reading this week y’all! See you via video next week on Mondays with Manda!


Featured Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

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