Folks looking for technical and/or enlightening content can skip this entire post, which is another brainsplosion.

First the events of yesterday. It was my Guakong's (mom's dad) death anniversary, so we had mass and visited his crypt. Then lunch (Filipino-tasting Italian food), then I went to the dermatologist (my aunt's classmate, at the insistence of my grandmother) where I got my clogged pores scooped out with a miniature melon-baller. Then dinner with my dad's college friends, the "gang of 5" he hung out with all the time, with me standing in for my dad - the first time they'd come close to being all together for almost 30 years.

. Now...

While my teacher and I were singing today, my Ama (dad's mother) came in and told us that the song we were in the middle of was actually one of my Angkong's favorites.

You ask me how deep is my love for you,
how can I count the love I have for you?
My feelings are also true,
My love is also true,
The moon is a reflection of my heart.

My grandfather wasn't exactly Frank Sinatra, and my dad inherited his musical ability; whenever they turned on the karaoke machine at home, Jason and I bolted for the door and a long drive in the name of "sibling bonding." (Actually, those conversations and critiques of Chicago's architecture were some of the best conversations my brother and I had as teenagers, so "karaoke nights" were a good thing.)

All the same, it's nice to think of him singing that to her when they were young, just like my dad sings "Misty" when he's feeling far too sentimental - overdramatically, complete with hand gestures and puppy eyes towards mom as us kids groan around him. (My emotional immune system hates sappiness - a good indication that's something I have to work on.)

I'm used to thinking of my dad's parents as more formal, traditional people, but that image has been cracking during my stay here. Okay, my grandmother still wants me to wear dresses and be more ladylike. Sure, my grandfather never flew - even across the ocean - in anything other than a suit and tie. But as my aunt reminded me last night, the affection and love they showed for each other was unusually visible for their age and time and culture. You can't imagine one without the other. Same with my mom's parents. And my parents. I'm very lucky.

As time goes by, I'm becoming more appreciative of my tight extended family. When I say "tight extended family," I mean that two of my mom's sisters are married to two of my dad's boyhood friends and classmates, my grandmother's brother married my grandfather's sister, both my parents' eldest sisters were classmates, and so on. It's a big clan.

I'm simultaneously exasperated by it and in love with it. Nearby houses with cousins and aunts swarming around all the time. Everybody always asking what everyone else is doing. I grew up in a house full of aunts and uncles, and apparently when I was a toddler I declared that nobody else could get married because I'd noticed a direct correlation to my relatives getting married and them moving away and not playing with me any more.

In the absence of solid computer time - my usual platform for hacking - I've been forced to move to a different one, namely myself. Which is inconvenient and insanely frustrating and partially as intended. I spend a lot of time thinking. Sleeping, too... and god, it's nice. Just last week I started having regular vivid dreams for the first time since... before high school. I try hard not to feel guilty about taking the time to do this.

I've noticed that my English is getting more fragmented as I learn more Chinese; in the back of my head I'm always trying to figure out a parallel translation for what I want to say, and there isn't always one. I've also noticed that my thoughts are jumping around more - and I can let them do that now, and I'm actually conscious of it. I know that if I release the reins and wait instead of trying to beat the ADHD-ness out of my head, my brain will dance a marvelous dance, longer and deeper than what I'd originally planned on "forcing" it to do.

I've also noticed that whenever I have these periods of MASS CONFUSION!!! they're typically followed by a Period of Massive Growth and Productivity in whatever area I'm confused about. So when I'm befuddled, my tendency is to try to make myself as confused as possible as fast as possible, and let it all stew out and then explode back into clarity (more or less) on its own schedule. (This usually doesn't coincide with an academic semester schedule, really.)

Somewhere in the middle of this mess and confusion (and often aggravation) is the trying to figure out how to hold seemingly contradictory things inside myself, since I'm a walking statistical anomaly who's recently become aware of the various facts that make up that statement. (It's a lot easier to be a girl who loves math before you learn that being a girl who loves math is weird.) I need to recompile all my header files, so to speak. I've also forked too much, and now I'm figuring out how to merge all the changes back into the main repository for the next release.

Oh, there's getting work done in the "conventional" sense, of course. Always is. This is work of a different sort that's also there. Summary: I'm alive and confused and happy, all three of which are sort of the same thing.