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Have you ever encountered awkward situations where you were unable to recall names of your relatives? That’s the kind of situation I go through EVERY time there is a family gathering. Having grown up abroad, I saw very little of my long lost relatives, and they saw very little of me (apart from when I was little myself). When I was a child I could never see the weddings of relatives or actually be present in family gatherings. But after I repatriated, I figured that I could attend absolutely everything. Yeah, weddings are sort of interesting to watch, but meeting relatives there can be quite embarrassing.

Take for instance this situation where I met a long lost relative related to my father in some way I cannot particularly remember during a cousin’s wedding. When she met me with a super wide smile, she told me she had held me when I was little. I was thinking “Awww”. But then the question that followed immediately shattered my quickly forming smile. She asked me “Do you remember who I am?”

Now this is where my memory (which is almost always quite sharp) failed me. Thanks a lot for that! I squinted my eyes trying to pretend that I actually remembered her holding me when I was a kid. I can be quite an actor in my head sometimes. I form situations in my imagination so quickly that they become believable to me. So this is what I had to do to act as if I remembered her ever so slightly. I said “yes I remember you a bit”. The truth was far from that. I can blame myself here for my lack of long lost relative knowledge, but I should not. After all it is not my fault that I saw her at an age when I couldn’t walk.

Next question. “So then you must know how I am related to your father.” As much as I can pretend to know some things, I cannot just conjure up some new relationship when one already exists right? So I said in a very innocent manner that I had forgotten that part. She seemed to be slightly disappointed about it (and I don’t blame her), but she was very civil. Our conversation ended there.

Additionally, I profess that when it comes to remembering the names of relatives, I really stink. I mean I hear my parents mention those names so many times but I am still unable to match the faces and names. I’ve had plenty of embarrassing situations where I’ve had to go find a relative whose name I did not remember, in a huge crowd. Just my luck.

Sometimes I have to meet relatives who I have seen a couple of times in the past few months but I try very hard to refrain from trying to catch their attention. And this is simply because I don’t remember their names!

I’m slowly starting to wonder if my memory is selectively bad. Why is it that I remember some obscure capitals of countries but I cannot remember the names of my relatives?

At another wedding party, my father called me to meet yet another long lost relative. I tried to smile courteously. My dad introduced this relative as some cousin of his (at least I think it was a cousin). Brilliant! Then I was asked the same question yet again: “Do you remember me”. Not wanting to seem indifferent, but not wanting to lie a second time, I said “not really”.

And what did I get? My father looked at me in a very surprised manner. I was trying to recall what kind of criminal thing I had just said to merit such a response. Looking rather dazzled and disappointed at the same time, my father exclaimed: “you don’t remember her? You met her just last year at your sister’s wedding!”

Um I wanted to let out a short scream but I had to keep calm and give a rather sheepish smile. The word ‘embarrassing’ would be a euphemism to describe the situation.

Ahem. So what do I blame this incident on? My poor long lost and not-so-long-lost relative memory? Awkward indeed.

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