Blood is thicker than water, as the saying goes, and sometimes it can be just as refreshing. I mean that in the familial sense.
I recently played host to my older brother and his girlfriend for five days, showing them around the mountains and this strange town I’m calling home on what will most likely be a permanent basis.
They left on Sunday, heading back to Toronto with mild sunburns, beer and bar food belly-aches, some incredible pictures, and a promise to return again next year for more of the same.
It was nice to have family around for a few days because it forced me to play tour guide, an experience that always leaves me with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and the spirit of this town.
Sometimes you tend to get caught up in the downside of everyday resort town life – the prices, the crowds, the wages, the wealth – and miss out on the big picture. When I take a step back and really look at it, my life is pretty sweet.
Having family around also helps to fill the void, at least temporarily, that grows every year I spend away from friends and family. Like a lot of the ski bums here I left everyone behind when I chose this life, and I miss them.
I also hope that my brother will go back to Toronto with a better understanding of why I chose to live halfway across the country, eking out a semi-pathetic existence in a town place that spells everything with dollar signs.
That understanding is important when you consider the fact that I come from a very small family and often feel guilty that I haven’t been around all that much for the past five years.
Without parents and family members around to critique every life choice I make, I sometimes wonder if I make the right choices. As I slowly nurse a battered chequing account back to health and contemplate the cost of a mortgage, car, new computer and sinus surgery, I needed some positive reinforcement, to know that I’m doing the right thing by being here.
Three days of spring skiing with my brother and the start of a respectable sunglass tan went a long way towards accomplishing that.
I also have to admit that I liked showing off a little for my big brother. He’s just learning to snowboard, and it’s not often that I get to show him up at anything.
I’d like to say we got along our whole lives, but that’s just a recent development in a long and sometimes violent sibling rivalry.