Dear "Big Sister" and "Big Brother-in-Law,"
When I arrived in this country, I didn't think I'd find family. I thought I'd have a bunch of people around me who claimed to want to help but who actually didn't care at all. When enough people who you've just met tell you "If you need anything, just ask," it starts to sound like background noise. They can't all possibly mean it. Surely, they must be fake. Some of them are indeed, I've found. Others, less so, but many are fake.
When you told me, sis, that you wanted to be kind of a big sister to me, I laughed to myself. You were like the others, yeah? Of course. I got here, you welcomed me, but I could tell you didn't trust me. Why should you? You didn't know me yet. I figured it would take longer, though, to get to know you, for you to go forth on your promise to be a big sister to me.
You hosted a party at your house to celebrate your recent engagement. I was going to just go home, not stay, but you said I should spend the night so I didn't have to leave the party so early to get the last metro back home. I stayed on your couch, nursing the inevitable hangover from the party.
The after-party, sitting in your living room, talking, is what I'll remember forever from that night. Sis, you were just sitting calmly on the couch, giving me life advice about boys, relationships, Finland, being an outsider, and finding a future when I feel like everything's collapsing around me. Bro, you were totally wasted, asking me personal questions about my beliefs and religion, listening to answers you wouldn't remember the next day, but listening for real nonetheless. You tucked me in - Tucked me in! - like a small child and told me you'd be proud if you had a daughter or a little sister like me. I cried myself to sleep, curled up like a baby, crammed in on the smaller couch, the one that didn't get alcohol spilled on it during the party. I wasn't crying because I was sad.
I stayed most of the next day. We watched a movie and you made me my favorite kind of sandwich. It felt so strangely domestic to me that I could have cried again. I asked why you were doing this for me. Sis, you didn't respond to my question. Instead you said "You haven't been loved before, have you?" I stuttered out a stupid answer that I know you didn't believe.
You drove me home with a blanket for me to borrow because my apartment is cold. It's one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I wrap myself in it when I feel scared or sad.
I love you, too.