book after book. I'm sifting through, trying to read word by word. so much, too much to process so quickly.
I want to stop, let the words and meanings seep deep into my soul and mind and heart, change me. but there isn't time.
the words, the pile of books relentless.
but I love this experience, love the progress I have made, love how much I have learned in just one short week.
for the first time in my life I know prolonged stillness, quiet, independence. I'm living in a little house with two girls, one works from 8-5 each day and the other is just as busy with class and homework as I am. so the house is mostly empty most days.
now this is no small change for me: I come from a loud in-your-face chinese homeschooled family with five siblings and always relatives or friends at my house which make dorm life seem quiet and calm. strangely enough, the shift to living in a neat quiet house with eight hours of sleep every night came smoothly, completely naturally, as though this is the life that I was meant to have all along. except the learning how to cook for just one person thing.
in high school I craved time alone, an empty house. I would snatch at times when I could sit alone, listening to silence. I remember those rare once-every-two-or-three-month occurrences, after putting the children to bed, turning all the lights off in the house moving blindly from room to room like a ghost or sitting in the center of my house, resting, not anticipating anything, not waiting, not thinking, just sitting, eyes closed, body still, heart rate slow, resting.
sometimes with a bowl of ice cream and mango cubes.
and here I can read a string of books in a week's time, here there are no interruptions to cook dinner for ten people, or pick up someone from dance class and drop off someone else at boy scouts and buy a chinese newspaper for my grandpa.
but of course I know all this is short-lived. four weeks from now I'll be back home with my entire family and both sets of grandparents and an uncle and aunt from the east coast and going half-deaf with all five languages spoken in my house, and chinese tv shows, and stir-frying, and kristina's hannah montana, and maddie's...everything, and maria's need to control the craziness, and the boys running around and screaming and laughing, and my mother trying to pay attention to everything and talking to everyone at once, and my father trying to make peace, and my going-deaf-and-senile grandparents repeating everything twenty times and loudly and all at once.
so every moment I am learning to value for what it is now, hoping to bring that all-pervading peace I know so well here back home with me.
don't get me wrong. I love home. I love my family. I love the craziness, although in small doses. and in a strange way I long to be back now because nothing will be the same from here on out. maria's going to med school, maddie's going to boston, and the children are growing up. gabe couldn't speak in sentences when I first came to college and now he's reading and writing. kristina looks more like maddie each time I go home, and mikey is getting wiser, concerned about how much of a temptation candy is for him.
sometimes I want my brothers to never grow up, to keep picking me flowers and drawing me pictures, and climbing onto my lap and asking me to tell them stories about dragons and adventures and aliens, and to always be entranced by the squirrel in the front yard, and to always find something to laugh about, but in other ways I'm so glad they're growing up and changing. because, strange as it seems for me to be saying this, I have been growing up and changing and becoming more deeply myself or at least accepting more of myself and it's not half bad.
...but oops I should have reading all this time.