Ah, pathogens! Barby and I came down with a sore throat and cough this morning, so I'm hoping rest and fluids (and the fungus tea Guama brewed jugs and jugs of) will clear that up in the next 24 hours. It didn't stop us from doing a beer sampling last night, or from hitting my favorite Seattle spots this morning -- splitting almost all of Sweet Iron's savory Belgian waffle variants, lunching on Beecher's mariachi mac n' cheese, all the artists and musicians and spice shops and piles of fresh vegetables and fish and food stalls at the market. There are more spots to discover this summer; 6ee pointed me at a French restaurant in Pike Place that she said was amazing, University Village is a lovely shopping mall (I thought we were going to the actual university, but as the mall had free hot cider, I can't complain too much about the hours spent there), and the city is filled with interesting neighborhoods I'm looking forward to running and biking through, and old friends I'm looking forward to seeing.

There's a spring term between then and now, and I'm sure I'll get back to thinking about that in the mornings (early morning work is awesome, and I will keep on waking up for it). But... but... the future! It's... hurrah! I'm letting myself get excited about the possibilities, but keeping myself focused on the things I said I'd do now, and filling my future with options rather than commitments. Part of the Project for a More Balanced Mel, and all that.

Tonight is Simbang Gabi, the traditional Filipino Christmas mass. I am not sure if I am going yet, but Mia and Neil are playing in the band, so perhaps I shall. Also, 2ee claims that this Simbang Gabi really does run about an hour, whereas some churches go way overboard and have 2+ hour services because the Filipino choir will not stop singing. And the probability of excellent food is very, very high. On the other hand, Bea and 6ee are going to Redmond and have asked if I would like to come along...

I think what I'm trying to say is "hurrah, family reunion!" I'm trying to capture little moments so that I'll remember them years later. Evaluating trail mixes at Whole Foods with 6ee, calculating international rates for Bea's numerous postcards, ogling the Shelter Institute's classes with Barby, listening to Megan and Mindy make movie-watching noises ("awwwww!" "eeeee!" "Noooooo!") in the midst of a basement viewing of Hope Springs (I only caught the end with the added cousin sound-effects, and spent most of the end of that movie mumbling awkwardly and suddenly concentrating on the funding proposal I was writing, but I will say: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones - wow.) My dad jokingly grilling Micah when he came to pick up Mindy. Trying to fit everyone around Guama's (very small) table. Skyping with my Ama, who commented that I needed to wear dresses all the time (I disagree). Slacklining successfully for the first time! Nailing a headstand against the wall (alas, I'm not strong enough to push up from a headstand to a handstand, but... we'll work on that). Seattle's skyline at night as you come down a Bellevue hill. And my dad has the navigational sense of a piece of toast, and the younger generation generally acknowledges the older ones are logistically inefficient and are routing 'round them with ad-hoc email and cell phone comms, and...

In a few days, we will all be here. I have been assigned to the cooking team of 1ee, 8ee, Mia, and Jelina, and am faced with the puzzle of planning a dinner menu for 25 with both vegan and paleo options. Must find Mia. Must also find Kei for our Wreck-It Ralph viewing. If Bea and Mindy and Melanie end up studying here (for a chemistry PhD, med school, and undergrad respectively), I will be even more tempted to look for a post here after graduation and set up the Ultimate Lim Cousins House (where by "house" I mean "inexpensive multi-room apartment decorated with the help of Barby").

Younger versions of all of us surround me on my Guama's walls. She's telling more stories these days, my parents say. I reminded Melanie to bring the sound recorder that I've lent her. We should capture them, now that we're all old enough to understand. And we're thinking about a cousins trip the summer of 2014, when Audrey will be big enough to train for a hike if she wants to come.

Oh, I'm rambling. I completely realize I'm rambling. There is no point to this post other than to capture memories for my future self. But I'm happy, and it's good to be here, and I'm glad I'm home, and that's all.