Since I visited them over two years ago in Belgium, my cousin Mush has become a confidante, and unfortunately, anything more than superficial relations in my extended paternal family is extremely rare. She and her husband are such wonderful people - well-read, well-travelled, and everything else that makes me proud that we share blood.

Today, when we broke fast together, I watched my niece, their daughter, Nora, who's turning seven in a few months, conjure stories in Flemish with her little army stuffed animals and it was such a delight watching a child be a child and use her imagination instead of being glued to a gadget. She knew she wanted ravioli, polished off the whole plate and split a chocolate cake with her father. She also apparently, gave the restaurant her approval because the bathroom was spotless.

I don't understand a word of Flemish, but the way she carried herself, the way she spoke to her parents, and the conversations she'd have that would get translated for my benefit made me realise that Nora is growing up to be quite the little lady and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy looking at their family. It reassured my faith in the world, especially after the week I've had. Now, I twiddle my thumbs for the time we can communicate in English instead of through sign language and tickles.