When I first left for England, my little brother was nine years old. Today, he’s twelve.

Time flies, doesn’t it? I was 18 and had never left the country alone before, had never been to Europe before, and had never lived on my own before. Here I am on the other side having travelled to Paris twice, once solo, been around England, made lifelong friends, and earned a university degree (nearly).

I knew before I left that there would be a lot I’d miss at home. I made the calculations for how much of my siblings’ lives I’d miss, I weighed the possibilities of losing family members while thousands of miles away, I considered the wedge distance would be between childhood friends and me, but I decided it was all going to be worth it. There have been many things I’ve missed. For a quarter of my brother’s life and a third of his living memory, his oldest sister has been living far, far away.

Here I am, 4 359 miles from my little brother on his 12th birthday. But you know what? Even from here, I can still be a true big sister and post embarrassing photos of him on the internet.

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Happy birthday little brother.


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