There's a lot in my head that I want to get out, and Narita Airport has a free internet cafe. Typing is slow because I keep randomly hitting the "change me from English to Japanese" key, and punctuation is in different places, but my hands will learn.

I had a wonderful time in the Philippines. My digestive system is still recovering. I've dreamt of those mangoes for two years, and I'm not sure when I'll be back to eat them again. The wedding was epic; over 30 tables with an average of more than 10 people per table at the dinner party alone. (Seriously, I thought all weddings were that way before this fall.)

Also, it's not fair I've gotten the chances that I've gotten, and the freedom, and the opportunities... as many uphill battles as I've had to fight, at least they were fightable. The fact that I've got the freedom to learn and work on what I love, that I can move, meet people I want to meet, make my own mistakes - that I even grew up in circumstances that allowed me to form the kind of stubbornness that makes me question things and sometimes tackle them with flying fists (the fact that I grew up in a place with libraries that had these books that gave me such ideas) - that's... argh. I know it's not a helpful way of thinking, but why do I deserve that chance any more than they do? 

And when I tell stories about the things I've done that I love, and things I've seen that are new notions in that world (latest weird concept: husbands modifying their careers in response to their wives - it also took a while to explain the concept of stay-at-home dads) it's only inspiring and world-expanding if there's a chance that their world can expand in that particular way, you know? Sometimes, even if you're free, you can't go back and help the others. And that's always been hard for me. And that's always made me really appreciate the opportunities I've... yes, worked really hard for and earned, but I still call part of it luck because I know others who deserve those chances too, and didn't get them.

It's one of the reasons I feel uncomfortable with privilege and try to give it away as fast as possible. Also makes it hard to calibrate my sense of what I'm worth and what I deserve, but I'm working on that. When I phrase it that way it sounds really selfish - I reckon in large part it is, but I also have to think about it more because I am afraid to think about it, and that's always been an indication that I should.

On the up side, I felt like myself this entire time in Manila, and that's a happy accomplishment. I didn't have to wear a single dress, was able to talk my way out of most of the wedding makeup (and wipe the rest off before the actual ceremony), and usually get folks to shake their heads and smile at the crazy American engineer instead of getting mad at me these days. I'm becoming more and more able to carry the person that I want to be with me as time goes on and I get more chances to grow into being that person in spaces where it's a good thing - encouraged, even expected - instead of something I have to consciously and constantly fight for. And when I can keep that sense of who I want to be no matter where I am, folks start respecting that, and getting to know me as a Mel who's good at being a Mel, rather than as a Not All That Great Whatever-Else-Was-Expected. The hardest bit about inventing a new category is explaining to everybody else exactly what you are, but... well, I've gotten used to that over the years.

So many of the things I blog are replays that I just have to get out over and over again until they either run through or I find a way to resolve that thought cycle in a more productive way. My version of a traceback.

All right. One hour to my flight boarding - I'm going to run around like a maniac now in an attempt to utterly exhaust myself, because sitting still for the duration of a Tokyo-Chicago flight is torturous enough as is. More brewing in my head, but I'll try to spill it into a notebook. I brought two with me this time just in case. There are advantages to not sleeping much - you get time to think.