As a photographer, you’d think that I document my life in the same way that I do for all my clients. The truth is, I don’t do it as much as I wish and it’s going to be a goal of mine in 2018 to do so.
Life is a funny thing. Sometimes the universe gives you signs to point you in the right direction. For me, it was to fly down to sunny California to have a bit of me time as well as spend American Thanksgiving with my family down there last Fall.
Planning and scheduling must run on my mom’s side of my family cause does my aunt ever plan. Day 1, Thanksgiving Dinner, day 2, Dinner at home, day 3, Black Friday shopping, day 4, Spa day to soothe them muscles after shopping so much. My week was set.
Compared to many, I’d say I come from a small family. With most of my cousins, aunts and uncles being overseas in Singapore and Malaysia, spending holidays with my immediate family usually involve small casual dinners, nothing overly grand but time well spent nonetheless. I do have a couple cousins in Cali-land and was invited to spend some time with them and their in-laws for Thanksgiving.
What is a family dinner if I didn’t have a task? I was on apple pie duty. We started around just after noon and it seemed like the meal making went on forever. By 6pm we were out the door, a van packed full of tasty treats, ready to feed a house of hungry people.
I love Grandma and Grandpa Oey. There is something about grandparents’ homes that gives you that feeling of warmth. This home was no different. When entering their home the first thing you’ll notice is a patchwork of different types of carpet across the floor. The kitchen is small, with a giant table plated with food from corner to corner. There is absolutely no more room for more dishes (my favourite dish is Grandma Oey’s wontons – they are to die for!). Of course, there is a fish tank. The walls are a slight yellow tint and there is a wall calendar with dates crossed off. It’s just as tinted is a giant wall in the living room. And just like the kitchen table, this wall is covered corner to corner not with plates but frames of photos with many familiar faces. Grandpa Oey makes sure to have all group photos framed and printed of every big celebration. As old and tacky as it might be to us young folk, this is Grandma and Grandpa Oey’s “Why”. As your eyes scan across the wall, you can see the years go by and almost hear each moment. Weddings, birthdays, graduations, grandkids, it’s all on there.
While watching my cousin play card games, I couldn’t help but notice a shelf filled with binders. At first glance, it looks like messy organization. Maybe just binders and binders of bills and receipts. But when you look closer, you’ll see that they’re in fact binders of memories. Years and years of them. I bet if Grandpa Oey could, he’d plaster the walls with all the memories of the years. But binders of scrapbooking probably make more sense.
My favourite part of spending Thanksgiving with the Oeys wasn’t the shopping, nor the food. It wasn’t the spa or sunshine. It was the time I got to spend with them and watching how flipping through Grandpa Oey’s binder of photos was what the norm was for this family. I loved the closeness and the love I could feel in the air and I’m so glad that I was invited. 🙂
Okay, the sunshine was great too.
JMESHOOTS | BURNABY DOCUMENTARY FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER
My name is Jamie Poh and I have 8 years experience in the industry and have shot over 100 weddings & family sessions. Want to capture your family reunion or dinner party? I’d love to learn more.3