My Family in Pictures

The view from my bedroom window - Wuhan, China.

Grandma ♥

The Asian of the family.

The oldest vs. the youngest.

Got the good genes from Grandma.

I met my great-aunt for the first time.

I’ve begun to realize how much of a blessing family is. Each and every person is unique and contributes to the family dynamic in their own way. Once a family member is born into the household, it’s impossible to imagine life without him or her. Through the ups and downs of life, family is always tied together by blood and even though siblings may be the most different people in the world, that tie makes their relationship easy in the way that they know it will always exist.

I love spending time with my entire family in China, which currently consists of my dad, three half-siblings, my grandma, and my great-aunt. Dad’s girlfriend is an occasional guest member. I love having such a large family under one roof and I have a unique relationship with each of them. Since I’ve always been interested in genetics and families in general, I decided to write about my siblings in case I forget in the future who they used to be.

Justin Cao: First off, Justin is the oldest of the three at 10 years. He’s an avid golfer–the sport seems to define him these days, but it really doesn’t describe his personality. Justin’s is the complete opposite of calculated; he plunders into things carelessly at times. I must say, he’s the most easy-going and good-natured of us four kids. He’s both easy to get to know and easy to get along with. Once you get him started, he can go on for hours about random subjects from a classmate’s haircut to his favorite golfer (Phil Mickelson). We’ve always bonded over our love of adventure, pretending we were hiking across the Sahara desert when we walked in the Everglades (I know desert and water are kind of incompatible, but it was extremely hot and dry that day and we used our imaginations!). We also bond over our goofiness–tonight at dinner I said something that I will refrain from repeating here and it made him laugh until he gasped, “I can’t breathe!”

Lily Cao: The middle child, Lily is much more than what meets the eye. She’s by nature kind and nurturing, but like all of us Cao girls, she is strong-willed and stubborn as an ox. For example, when she started grade school, she made up in her mind that she wouldn’t speak in class and even now, four years later, she hasn’t spoken a single word in school. Although shy and reserved with strangers and most of the time with her family, I know she has a wild side (she is my sister, after all). Like her dad, once she commits to doing something, she always follows through. She’s good with her hands and is fairly artistic. To be honest, it’s harder to write about her than about Justin because she’s a lot more complex (girls…) and I haven’t had enough time to build a close relationship with her.

Kevin Cao: The baby of the family at four years old, Kevin is definitely the oddball. He’s not weird in the way that would make him feel left out of the family, but in the way that the rest of us more or less revolve around him, stupefied. Even at his young age, he’s a character that sometimes makes us feel like we lack his wisdom. He has an innate sense of how the world works and is strangely adept at navigating social waters. Before us three older kids came to China, he lived there with Dad and Grandma and was treated like a prince. Now that we’re back, however, he’s no longer the center of attention and Lily and Justin tend to ignore or bully him. Instead of throwing fits for attention, he comes home from daycare and plays quietly in a corner by himself. This stratagem works like a charm, causing both Dad and Grandma to feel sorry for him and scold Lily and Justin for being mean to him. He loves order and rules–every afternoon when he comes home, the first thing he does is yell, “Wash hands!” and dashes to the sink. I have a feeling that when Kevin is older, he’s going to be that annoying kid who always gets what he wants and no one will be able to figure out how he does it.

If there was one word to describe the four Cao siblings, it would have to be “unpredictable”. We may be drama kings and queens and cause massive headaches, but the one thing we’ll never be is boring. Do you have siblings? How are you similar to or different from them?

À demain,



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