Lara and I just spent most of the last week visiting relatives in the Netherlands.
It was a treat to spend a week soaking up another culture and meeting such a wide variety of wonderful people. I really have no family in Canada outside my parents, so for me the whole experience of visiting aunts, uncles, and cousins is something new and somewhat unusual.
What I found most interesting about my family is that there is an immediate degree of intimacy simply because we are related. Yet at the same time, anything that we have in common beyond some shared genes is simply an accident. This doesn't happen with the other people in our lives. We choose our friends among people who share our outlook and interests. Family stretches us socially in a way that our friends do not.