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So, I was allowed to go to M's graduation, where I met his older brother and uncles and aunts for the first time.  It took a bit of teeth-pulling, but eventually my mother texted me on Thursday saying that I could go, so that day I went to get him flowers and a balloon.

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5am because he lives two hours away and his graduation started at 9:30am.  So, I mean, I did wake up at 5am, but then I shut off the rest of my alarms because I thought I was awake enough to get up, but I didn't, and my mother ended up opening my door at 6am.  I jumped out of bed and got ready and left at 6:45am, so I was about 15mins late (I was supposed to get to M's house by 8:30am).  The drive there was pretty good, although I had to stop for some construction.  I can't quite remember the way to get there or come home, though, so I'll have to work on that.

Due to some fast driving, I actually got there at 8:35am, instead of 8:45am like I had thought.  So yay I was only five minutes late.  His dad opened the door for me and I ended up sitting myself down in the kitchen.  M's brother and I shook hands and talked for a little bit, then he took his dog out for a walk.  His mother talked to me a lot about this and that, and eventually we left at about 9am.  I sat in the back with his younger sister to my right and their mother next to her, his father driving and his older brother in the passenger seat.  I talked to his older brother a bit about his schooling, but then I was mostly silent for the rest of the ride.

We parked on a ramp because there was no other parking spaces available in the garage, and M's uncles/aunts' van parked behind us.  We got out of the car and I sort of stayed out of the way as they reacquainted themselves with each other, saying hi and hugging.  A woman whom I would later find out was M's older uncle's wife locked eyes with me and so I greeted her and she also went in to give me a hug, so I lightly hugged her back.  A moment or so later, I was looking behind me and trying to figure out what we were going to do/where we were going to go.  An older man with white hair came into my line of vision (standing closer to me than the people I had been looking at) and he waved and said "hi!"  I immediately/reflexively brought my hands up to sapeh dai.  As we continued to walk, he talked to me a little and suddenly said, "I like you."  Me, surprised, "You do?"  "Yeah."  "Oh, thank you."  He turned out to be M's older uncle, and I really liked him.  He's hilarious and open and kind and really just absolutely funny.

On the way up there, M's aunts and uncles asked me a bunch of questions quickly.  His older uncle's wife spoke to me in Teochew, asking if I could speak it, and I blanked for a second, then recovered and replied to her in Teochew, "I only know a little."

When we got up to the main venue, M's mother realized that she had forgotten the tickets.  The adults had a moment of panic, and M's dad was about to jump in the car again to go get them from the house.  We were already late to the event, it was probably 10am already.  M's older brother then suggested that we check with the staff if we could just go in after giving an explanation.  Random thing to note: as we were walking upstairs, M's older uncle, I think purposely, made sure to be last; he always gestured for me to get on the escalator first.  Very sweet.  In any case, after explaining to the security people, they were super nice and just let us bypass security and go in.

We found seats in the top section, which was relatively empty.  Everyone had crammed into the bottom sections.  I ended up with M's younger sister to my left and his older uncle's wife to my right, her husband on the other side of her.  I had a nice time.  Eventually his aunt started talking to me a lot, for a really long time.  First,she started off talking about M and how he's a "good boy, nice boy" and how he's honest, doesn't know how to lie, doesn't speak ill of people, and doesn't know women/fool around.  She also told me this awesome story (prefacing it with-in Khmer- "Let me tell you this fun story about M so you can laugh") about one time when M was a little kid.  Apparently, they were out (maybe on vacation, at a store somewhere) and M had to pee, but he was crying and refused to because the bathroom was dirty.  So then his aunt suggested that he pee in a bottle in the car, and she would cover the windows.  He didn't like that idea either, so he kept crying and refusing to pee.  They had to drive somewhere else to take him to another bathroom where apparently he deemed it clean enough and peed.

After she took pictures of everyone sitting there, she said she would show me some pictures on her tablet.  I saw old pictures from back in the day in Cambodia of his aunt's mother as a child with her grandmother, I saw pictures of his aunt when she was in her twenties and thirties, I saw pictures of them back in Cambodia, trips they took back to Cambodia, her nieces/nephews that are successful and became doctors.  It was a long talk and a lot of photos.  She was reallly nice.  She also asked me how old I was, how old my parents were, how long we'd been in the States.  She said I was compatible with M, because he's a monkey and I'm a dog.  She also asked, "So, do you like M?"  Me: "Yeah, yes. I do."  Later she also asked, "So, do you like the family?"  "Yes!  Everyone is really nice.  Do you like me?  Because that's the more important question, right?" I said in a joking manner.  "Yeah, they do like you.  If they didn't like you, they wouldn't want to see you.  If they didn't like you, like *M's older brother's* girlfriend, he can't bring her around or to something like this because he knows his parents don't like her.  She's rude, you know, *shakes head* Not good."  She also asked me at some point, maybe early on in the conversation, "So, when do you graduate?"  "I have one year left."  "Do you want to get married right after graduating?"  "Uh, maybe.  We'll see."  Whaaaaat.  Lol.

During this time M's parents also pulled out the snacks that they'd brought along in a backpack and M's dad and older uncle insisted I eat.  His older uncle, after I refused different items/times, "Are you afraid of getting fat?"  LOL.  He has such a smiling face!  "No, I'm just not hungry."

Throughout this thing, i was texting M, trying to see him based on the coordinates he sent me of his seat.  He said he thought his was the last college to stand up to get their diplomas, so we would've had to wait for the whole thing, but his was actually third or fourth.  When he was standing in line, he finally spotted us up top and waved.  His older uncle missed that M had found us, so he yelled M's name really loudly three times.  It was embarrassing and hilarious.  His entire family pulled out their phones to take pictures and were waiting, on edge, to capture M's crowning moment of achievement.  I thought it was hilarious.

After M got called and we all took as many pictures of him as possible in the short time he was on screen, I saw him grab the stuff on his seat and make a beeline for the door.  We left our seats and I went to the bathroom with his older uncle's wife.  After I came out, I just caught a view of M's graduation robes as he went into the bathroom, just missing him.  I was surprised he'd found us so fast, and then I tuned into what his older uncle was saying; he was laughing and pointed at me, saying I was GPS.  Huh?  Apparently everyone also was wondering how M had found us so quickly, and older uncle had thought that I texted M our location.  "You text him, right?"  "Me?  No!"  "No?  You sure?"  "Yeah!  You can check my messages, haha."  M came out after a bit.  I made sure not to look at him at first, because I didn't want it block the way between him connecting with his family.  He came up behind/next to me, though, and said hi, then was puckering up his lips for a peck.  I stared straight ahead and said, "Nope."   He leaned down a little closer, making a kissy face at me, and I just said, "nope."  Not happening, bro, not in front of your family.

Then we took pictures and some nice employee helped us, joking that he was going to charge us $50 per picture.  I wanted to stay out of a few of the family ones, but his family insisted that I join in.  I went to stand at the end (for easy cropping if ever need be), but then they insisted that I stand next to M, so I was standing next to him in all of them.  Unfortunately, and something I regret, is that we weren't able to take a nice photo together.  We were rushing to get out before traffic, and in the process, M said, "Wait, we didn't take a picture together," so we ended up taking a quick selfie as we were walking to the exit.  I look weird in it and M's face is out of focus.  It makes me sad.  I had meant to take a nice one together after getting back to his house, but I forgot.

We walked to the car and I got into M's dad's car, ignoring when M asked his family, "Where should I sit?"  I heard his dad say, "There's room in the van if you want to go with your uncle."  His uncle, "Oh, yeah, there's plenty of room."  I got in the car and closed the door, but then the door opened and I heard a, "I'll sit with Me."  I ended up sitting between him and his sister- the middle is uncomfortable, I had to place my feet like a Princess Diaries princess.  Anyway, it was nice being next to M.  He tried to kiss me again, but I was like, nope, your father and brother are sitting directly in front of us.  He kept making a kissy face but I didn't peck him.  He was really tired and ended up resting his head on my shoulder a few times.  After a few minutes he took hold of my hand, resting it on his leg, his hand on top.  He fell asleep in the car holding my hand.

His dad drove straight to lunch- dim sum and Chinese food!  It was the place I had gone to before with M for a Sunday brunch date while I was at my aunt's house doing my internship.  We got there and the five of us ate some dim sum while waiting for the other family/car to arrive.  (Before walking into the place, I think I finally let M peck me?  Was it now or was it before this?  I can't remember.  I just remember that we pecked eventually at some point before getting back to his house because he pecked me but his lips were slightly open so my upper lip was a bit wet.)  M kept putting food on my plate for me to eat <3.  He really is a very sweet boy.  Eventually the other car came.  From my right, it was M>older uncle's wife>older uncle>older brother>younger sister>father>mother>younger uncle's wife>younger uncle>younger uncle's son (on my left- the table was a circle).  When they arrived, older uncle and his wife order Chinese food, and apparently he was friends with an employee, so we had really good service and it was a nice time.  There was a nice balance of me talking to M and  me being interrogated by his younger uncle this time.

His younger uncle asked me a lot of the questions his older uncle's wife had asked me.  His first question was, "Do you know Khmer?"  In Khmer, I replied, "I can understand it, but I'm not very good at speaking it."  His wife was also looking at me, and then, speaking to I guess the rest of the table, said, "This much is pretty good, isn't it?"  His uncle asked more about how old I am, how old my parents are, how long we'd been in the country, if I was born in America, where I live, how M and I met.  When the adults went back to their conversation, his cousin asked, "Wait, so you guys met at college?"  "Yeah."  "How did you meet in college?"  Me:  "In class."  M:  "It was fate.  I looked at you and you looked at me and our eyes met.  It was fate."  Me:  "Uh, no, it wasn't.  He was just looking for someone to cheat off of."  M:  "No, it was meant to beeee."  Cousin: "Oookay, that's enough."  Hahahaha.

Younger uncle's wife also asked me, "What do your parents speak to you at home?  Khmer?"  I replied to her in Khmer as well, "Khmer, English, Chinese Teochew, all of them."  She then said to the rest of the table something along the lines of, "Wow, if I can understand this much, she's really good" meaning I speak Khmer well enough that she's impressed.  Aside from the questions, there were also four moments of older uncle that I want to mention:

  1. He imitated a video he saw on FB that showed how people steal purses at restaurants.  He actually recreated the scenario using his wife's purse and the empty table next to us.  The purse was hanging on the back of the chair of our table.  He sat in a chair at the empty table and stood up, acting like he was done eating, and then without looking, swiped the bag like he owned it.  His wife said, "You should talk on the phone."  He was like, oh right, and then said, "Yeah, then you act like you're talking on the phone" then walked swiftly away.  He imitated it a couple of times to everyone's laughter, and then again once his employee friend and a server stopped by.  It was hilarious.

  2. Later into the meal, he looked at me and said, "Don't be shy" with a wave of his hand.  I replied, "Okay."  "Okay?  Don't be shy, just eat."

  3. He asked how I got here.  M's mother replied for me saying I drove myself this morning.  He asked if I was going to stay until tomorrow, and I said no, I'd be leaving soon.  Then he said that M should take me home.  M's mother or father said something like, "No, she drove her own car here herself, how is M going to take her home?"  He said seriously, "No, this is what you have to do, okay?"  He looked at M and me.  "M is going to take you home in your car, okay?  He says hi, hello to your parents, and then you take him back home.  Okay?  Makes sense, right?"  Everyone laughed.  Funny funny man.

  4. Towards the end of the meal, there was a moment when he said to M's dad (his own younger brother) very politely in Khmer, "Excuse me, may I please have some of that food over there?"  M's father replied quickly, "Oh, yes, yes, of course."  I giggled/laughed (because it was really funny that the older brother would speak in such a way to the younger, and cause the younger one to be a bit flustered).  No one else was really paying attention to the exchange, but he looked at me and smiled and said in Khmer, "Look at that, Me is laughing [at me/us]."  I think he liked seeing that he could make me laugh, and that I found small things amusing.

Once we finished the meal, we went outside.  M's mother and older uncle's wife went into the adjacent Chinese mart and M's father was going to drive us younger ones home, then come back to the store after.  I bid the uncles and younger uncle's wife farewell and we got in the car, M's younger sister in the middle, fortunately for my feet.

When we got back to the house, I unlocked my car door and, while I was putting my stuff in my car, said to M, "Hey, you wanna grab that stuff in the back seat?"  "What? What- awww, you actually got me a balloon?  It's deflated.  Oh, wait, oh, you got me flowers toooo?  You didn't have to.  Thank you, I love them."  I think I let him peck me at this point, because his father and brother and sister had their backs to us and were walking into the house.

His brother stayed downstairs in his room, his father went back to the Chinese market, so it was us and his younger sister.  I sat down in the kitchen and he took of his tie and put it around my neck, then went to change his clothes.  He eventually took the tie back and then told me to stay put.  He went to get the sunglasses he bought me for my birthday and had me try them on.  "Good?" I asked.  He walked me to the bathroom so I could see for myself.  "Do you like them?"  "I do.  Do you?"  "I think they look good."  "Yay!  Happy birthday!"  "Thanks.  But why can't you keep them until it's actually my birthday?"  "But you already know what it is, so you should just take them."  "But I still can't wear them yet, I haven't had my Lasik yet."  "Just take them.  Besides, it's only one part of your present"  I ended up taking them with me.  When we walked back out, I was suprised to find out that his younger sister was preparing a birthday present for me too.  I don't know if he put her up to it, but it's rather sweet nonetheless.

M then said, "Can we just go into the living room?"  And so the four of us did (including his dog).  It was the first time I'd been in his living room, and I voiced such information.  "Really?"  "Yeah.  You guys are never in here!"  "That's true."  His younger sister played with the dog, I sat at the end of the sofa and M sat next to me, on my right.  It took him only half a minute to lay his head down in my lap.  "You're so comfy," he said, snuggling into me.  I rubbed his chest with my right hand and and he hugged my arm.  I stroked his hair with my other hand.  Eventually his younger sister left to go watch something or play something.

M:  So, how's my family?
Me:  I like them.  I can tell that it's your family.
What do you mean?
Like, it just seems like you belong with them.  They're nice and friendly.  And your uncle is hilarious.  Oh, but you have to tell me what they think of me, especially if they don't like me.
Well I can't tell you if they don't like you.
No, you have to!
So that I can change my behavior so that they'll like me.
No, they have you like you way you are-
Because I like you the way you are.  Hmph *hugs my hand*

He puckered his lips and I pecked him.  After a few minutes, he fell asleep, or was resting, I wasn't sure then.  He rested his hand on top of mine, which was on his chest.  I just let him rest and observed my surroundings- his dog, his livingroom, him.  After twnety minutes, when it was about 3:20pm, I rubbed his chest.  His eyes slowly opened and said, "Did I just fall asleep?"

Me: Maybe.  Did you?
M:  I think I did.
Okay, well, I should go now.

He pouted and so I bent down to peck him.  We pecked again.  Then as I leaned down again, I paused.  He tried to lift his head to quickly kiss me put I pulled away and he pouted, "Awww."  I leaned down and we kissed for real, for a good five minutes or so.  I don't think I've mentioned this, but he has very good sucking power in those lips of his.

When he was sending me off, he stood outside the door and he whined about me leaving, as he is wont to do.  We kissed a few more times.  When I turned away, I felt him stroke my hair from behind and then gathered it into a loose ponytail to hold on to.  "Don't gooo."  So I paused and turned around, and he would peck me again.  This happened at least six times until he finally let me go.  When I walked to my car, I noticed a few black boys across the street that glanced over at me, and I hope they didn't see that whole thing between M and me.  Gosh, the embarrassment.  It would've looked weird from a third party perspective, whatever we were doing.

In any case, I got home at around 6:15pm because there was traffic all the way from M's house to exit 9.  I didn't really have any road rage, though, I was jamming out to some tunes.  Once I got home, the 'rents seemed okay, it was just really hot, and ChuChu and I went to so see Ying's dance performance at 7:30pm so that we didn't have to go today.  Her choreographed piece was honestly the best one!

Okay, so lots happened yesterday, and I'm sure there's plenty I've forgotten.  M told me that his aunt and uncle love me, and that they said I'm polite, and nice, and quiet, but it seems like I'm not sure if I want to get married right after graduating.  Apparently all his brother had to say was that I was quiet lol yeah.  And honestly, when I was sitting there on the couch with M's head in my lap, I think I felt like he could be someone I could marry.  I think meeting his family made me like him more.  Things are kind of awkward with me and his parents for some reason, particularly with his mom, but I don't know.  I think I liked his family a lot and it made me like him more.  Oh, and I told M before I left to apologize to his parents for not saying goodbye, and leaving before they got home.  Today M told me that his mother just said that she's not the type of person to be bothered by that, and that it was okay.

And I'm not sure, but I was exhausted after yesterday.  I think it's from the 1) a lot of people thing compounded by the 2) fact that I had to impress, be perfect/on point, speaking Khmer and Teochew.  I was so tired, especially when I tried to wake up today.  Plus it's been ridiculously hot.  We put our ACs in today thank the heavens.

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