This is the first night I've been home since Angkong (my paternal grandfather) died. It's been a strange and crazy time, but it's getting better. Our family's crying sessions have lessened, and we're all laughing again. My sleeping habits have also been improving which means I won't be late for class anymore.
But we still remember in good ways. I miss him a lot, and looking at my mourning clothes reminds me not to forget the memories.
As a result of the exhaustion, I haven't been able to take any food trips or pictures lately. I did eat some sea cucumber last night, but that didn't seem very blog-worthy. Then here came Chunks with a blog meme, and so I've got something to post this week!
The tag rules are as follows:
1) Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2) People who are tagged need to write in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3) At the end of your blog post tag eight people and list their names.
4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.
1) I'm slightly obsessive compulsive. I arrange books in bookstores in alphabetical order, and fold clothes into similarly colored piles in department stores. I also don't like different foods on my plate to touch each other. Realizing these are all pretty neurotic urges and deliberately keeping them at bay makes me normal though.
Our department chair over at my university did mention a lot of Chemical Engineering students are obsessive compulsive. That's pretty strange.
2) My dreams are like a television series; there are continual episodes. Like I'll dream of three old ladies telling me of my true superhuman self one night. Then the next night, I'll dream buildings blow up and I'm doing extremely cool things. The night after, I'll dream of having an identity crisis as the baddies take my family hostage. And so on... These dreams can go on for weeks. I can write books on them.
Lora has mentioned I must be a sister of the main character of her web comic The Dreamer (click the link on Lora's name to see it).
3) I knit a lot. I have yarn stashes all over my room and projects on the back burner. I'm knitting a large stuffed toy at the moment.
4) I play the violin, the piano, and the guitar. But the violin's my favorite; I play two or three times a week at church. I also play at weddings.
5) My three favorite foods are my maternal grandmother's pork rib soup straight from the slow cooker, spicy beef soup with rice from this Japanese restaurant about twenty minutes away from home, and Shakey's Mojo potatoes.
said spicy beef soup, yum!
and my beloved Mojos
Returning readers should know by now that I love food.
6) My mental age is one hundred years old. That's what my cousins like to say anyway. They call me The Dowager.
In direct contrast, they say my nineteen-year-old sister is five years old in her head. They call her Princess.
Yes, it's a running joke.
7) I really really REALLY love to read. I've carried a book with me everywhere since the librarian let me bring library books to the playground back in kindergarten. I've read about eighty and counting this year, and more than a thousand --- someone asked me to estimate the number once --- my whole life.
8) I don't like sweets; I never even liked candy as a child. These days, the only chocolate I eat --- and not even that often, for that matter --- is dark chocolate. I don't even enjoy eating ice cream. When my family goes to the ice cream parlor, I order a rice meal while everyone gets banana splits.
Who to tag? Hm...
Henri, Claire, Joni, Cookie, Vandana, and Kat.
It's not eight, I know, but the people I usually tag were the ones who tagged me!
Anyone else I haven't tagged who wants to try it may do so, of course. And the ones I tagged are not required to really do it if they're too busy.
I guess the post ends here for the week. Take care, everyone!
Daisy on 11/26/2008 10:49:00 PM
My cousins and I in our white clothes with black mourning pins.
Angkong's (my paternal grandfather: see last post) buried now so in a sense, it's over. And yet it seems like the grieving's barely begun.
Lots have happened since my last post. The family's all so tired but also very overwhelmed by --- as my uncle phrased it --- "the outpouring of affection". Less than thirty minutes after Angkong died, we had to pull out the phone at the house because people kept calling past midnight to offer condolences. More than a hundred flower arrangements arrived for my Angkong before our own flowers for his coffin could even be delivered. We still wonder how everyone found out so quickly; the obituary almost seemed like an after-thought.
And the people who attended the burial and the services each night... We'd made the whole thing simple but the services were standing room up to the funeral parlor's parking lot. My uncle always said Angkong was rich in friends; we didn't realize how true that was. People just kept surprising us from those that cried for him though they weren't family relations to those that attended the services from all over the world. I have a wonderful memory of a quiet Japanese man who sat in the kitchen during the services because there was no room, and came to pay his respects from his home country just because "it was right". I'm also reminded of a lady that told me my grandfather had character, and a friend who'd met him only once but visited because our love for our Angkong made an impression on him.
So many sad and happy tidbits intertwined from that occasion. I just wanted to thank all those people for supporting us the way they did. And for still supporting us now when we have to pick up the pieces. It's bittersweet to put on our white clothes every day, and almost embarrassing to cry over the silliest things that just remind us of him. For instance, I cried when I received my new Chemical Engineering textbooks for the semester because I remembered how proud Angkong was that I was getting an education.
We're also getting pretty busy with keeping my Ama --- grandmother --- company. Cheering her up is practically a full-time occupation. I find myself hurrying to finish studying during free breaks in school so I can zip by my grandmother's house at night. Though our whole family's actually pretty low these days. We joke, laugh, and enjoy being close to each other, but we all will have to comfort each other in the days ahead.
Then there are the traditions: I think I'll be wearing white in all my blog pictures until next year, and no reader will see me in red until 2011.
I feel like I'm sort-of babbling now but I guess it's my way of coping. I know he's happy in heaven, but we all miss him. We were all blessedly close to him, and we're thankful for that. Some people might not understand that --- my cousin's still a bit sore about her classmate informing her that a dead grandfather wasn't such a big deal to cry about --- but that just makes this whole experience a bit dearer.
This is getting pretty long, and I'm feeling tired so I guess I'll go now. Hope you guys are all doing well. Keep happy!
Daisy on 11/18/2008 12:51:00 AM
No internet at home for a week so I broke down and went to my cousin's house to blog on his laptop. Sorry for the long wait, all. Here's the post I was supposed to post last Friday (yesterday):
I was planning to post on the trip I've just taken, but that'll have to wait. Things happen. Like Angkong --- the Chinese name for my paternal grandfather --- dying at 9:56 pm last night. November 6, 2008.
It was so sudden. But then, in a sense, it wasn't. My Angkong's been bedridden after a stroke about eight years ago. That didn't stop my uncles and my Dad from getting him to enjoy life though. We brought him on a trip to see his roots in China about three years back. I can still remember how happy he was, and how my Dad and uncles would crawl with him on their backs to get him to a First Class airplane seat without a wheelchair.
But I'm digressing. I've been doing that a lot; I guess I'm just tired. My eyes are still a bit swollen and my head's pounding slightly. I keep misplacing things today, and I've suddenly gotten this huge appetite (which often happens when I'm tired).
My Angkong was an amazing person. He migrated to this country alone as a kid during the beginning of the Communist era in China. He worked and sent money home. He subsisted on bats and cats, and hid from war planes during the Second World War. He worked hard, and loved to learn. I mean, he adored it when I corrected his English. I never heard any "I'm-much-older-than-you-I-know-much-better" monologues from him, just thanks for helping him get the words right.
Not that he was perfect, you understand. Far from it. But in the end, he loved us all loads.
My family is glad he isn't suffering anymore, that he's in heaven looking down on us and feeling the youngest he's been in years. Listening to his breath rattle and watching him struggle was difficult. And we're also glad we've spent so much time with him through the years. There were no real regrets; just memories.
For instance, he was the first and only person I told that I was the high school valedictorian before my graduation; my parents and everyone else only found out during the ceremony. I remember what a kick he got out of that; he laughed through the tubes attached to his neck.
I remember loads of things from last night. Some are inconsequential like my aunt wearing Lee jeans. Others are sadder like my Dad, who'd gone on a business trip, crying and telling me "I don't know why I'm here!" over the phone when he couldn't catch a flight home. Then there was my uncle just arrived from a delayed plane trip and running in to hug Angkong and burst into tears. The wailing from forty people crowded around the bed when we all realized Angkong had died. And my hysterical Ama --- Chinese for paternal grandmother --- being pulled off the dead body.
My mind is spinning, but there's still so much to do. Old pictures to go through for the wake, a full white wardrobe to get for the next few days of mourning (a Chinese tradition), eulogies to write, and people to comfort. And on top of it all, school.
But I know we'll be okay. We'll live, and work, and do our best. I suddenly remember how happy he was that I'd taken Chemical Engineering, and I know he'll keep being proud of me. And one day, I'll get to see him again.
Until next time then.
Daisy on 11/08/2008 11:09:00 AM