It’s another hot, muggy and humid day as I run through the Ming Tombs near Beijing, China as my sister, Ming, and I giggle and pose with humor among the statues. Pointing to an animal that sits in the grass, Ming suggests, “You need to go over there and do a yoga pose in front of that one. It has Crow Pose written all over it.” I tell her that unfortunately I can’t maneuver this pose, but I offer to pretend as though I’m peeing on it like a dog. We both uncontrollably giggle as my mom rolls her eyes at us. We’re used to behaving like this. After all, we’ve found ways to successfully create a photo that looked like I was swallowing water from a fish fountain at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and one of Ming carefully squeezing into a stone window from the Pisac ruins in Peru. Sometimes people think we’re twins because the core of us is so similar. Growing up in southern Utah, people often mistook us for twins, yet we look nothing alike. Our very different personalities can make things complicated and difficult, but we can also find comfort and enjoy one another. Even though our differences have sometimes caused frustrations, I’m finding more and more that I value our different and unique personalities. How does this work exactly? Here are a few examples to show you what I mean.
- When it comes to style, Ming favors classic and modern, but I opt for vintage and retro with a world flair. We both have a very good understanding of what each other likes in terms of style. I always know to shop for trendier looks, bright colors, and bling bib necklaces when it comes to Ming, and she’s never afraid to point out something with an ethnic print for me. Despite our differing tastes, we always seem to ask for a second opinion and we’re not afraid to be honest about what looks great on each other. I’m always amused when Ming asks me if she should buy an accessory in pink or another color—I know pink is her favorite and she can never go wrong with choosing it. And that’s the best thing about sisters, they always know what your taste is and wouldn’t want to lead you astray.
- Ming never leaves the house without make-up, I never quite seem to open up my make-up kit. Seeing my sister looking the mirror as she adds a hint of bronzer or eye shadow effortlessly is nothing new to me. I stumble when it comes to make-up application and have various spurts of wearing make-up and avoiding it. Still, it doesn’t make me any less curious about it as I always seem to ask for Ming’s advice on use and products. Packing for Chicago, I decided to take some inspiration from Ming and give some make-up products a try. Perhaps one day I’ll open up that Bare Minerals starter kit I’ve had for the past two years, and when it comes to applying the foundation, I know exactly whom to ask.
- Ming is out-going, humorous, and opinionated, I tend to be quieter, introverted, and shy from the beginning. Seeing Ming laugh or excitedly talk to a group of friends is nothing new to me. She’s always been someone who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks, while I tend to hold my opinions back and wait until I know someone more intimately before I open up. Despite our differences in our personalities, it seems we’re both learning from one another. We’re both finding a way to come to the middle ground and be diplomatic while speaking up for what we want. The way we see the world and live in it can make our relationship complicated at times, but that doesn’t mean we don’t value one another. One of the biggest fans of my humor just happens to be Ming. I sometimes don’t even think I’m being funny until I hear Ming laugh and most of the time I can’t help but join her.
- Ming prefers stability, I prefer to jump into the unknown and take on the challenge of making something stable. When it comes to careers, my sister thrives on stability and convention. I, on the other hand, chose and love the arts, a field that has very little stability and consistency. Ming prefers to stay in one place, while I tend to become restless and yearn for adventure. Ming has lived in Utah and Colorado, while I have ventured to Utah, England, Colorado, Oregon, California, Peru, and now Chicago, Illinois. When Ming asked about my recent re-location and temporary internship in Chicago, she wanted to know, “Do you want to move to Chicago?” All I could say is that having not been to the Windy City I didn’t have a straight-forward answer and to be honest I would be just as happy continuing on more adventures afterwards. However, I’m seeing I’m not the only adventurous one. Ming has made it a priority with friends and her boyfriend to travel around the world and she’s also considered moving to other cities. I also find her tendency to stick with stability is not always a bad thing. After all, I’m constantly looking for that place to call home that I can return to when I’m done gallivanting around the world.
My relationship with my sister may not always be easy or simple, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from or value one another. As opposite as we are, it doesn’t mean I don’t stop loving her or wanting her to find happiness. Being away from her always makes me realize how much I miss her. Last summer in Peru really showed how much we do care for one another as we sent pins on Pinterest and exchanged text messages about her Match.com date that ended up in a long-term, happy, and healthy relationship. When I told Ming I wanted to take a break from dating to focus on my career, she smiled and said, “It’s funny because I went the opposite route. Instead of changing my career, I found a boyfriend first.” And that’s the truth about us. We go about processes in different ways, but we want the same things and more importantly, we want one another to be happy. As she approaches her 30th birthday today, I wish her success, happiness, and health as she embarks on a new decade that I have come to enjoy.
To read Ming’s take on our relationship, visit her blog post: “Seesters.”