Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

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on Home and Family and Being Alive

Sunday afternoon, the light is soft, the air a perfect 67 degrees. The leaves are changing quickly now. That is, the leaves that even do change around here. Fall in California is a big change from Evanston, and yet there's something about the spirit of the season that remains, that pervades my world even now.

I haven't written in what feels like ages, though oftentimes I'll open this window to update and realize that I'm not quite ready to put the things I've been feeling into words for the rest of the world. Today I'm sitting at the kitchen table looking into my backyard patio, eating breakfast that my mom made for me. It's been sitting out for a while, but its still delicious. I savor every flavor, eating slowly - the smokiness of bacon, the crisp dry wheat of slightly over-toasted waffles and the garlic soft of scrambled eggs. Sundays move with a languor, I watch as the angle and intensity of light murmurs before me.

Last night my entire family had dinner - all 12 of us. What sweetness. Dinners such as that are precisely the reason that I came back to California after graduation. My parents, grandparents, Robert and Julia, my aunt and uncle, my three younger cousins, and of course, me. It's funny how we grow together more and more every year, even as we find ourselves taken up by our own lives. Even more than ever I am caught up in the feeling that these moments cannot last, that someone else will grow up and go to college, that someone might move away, that one by one we'll lose such members of this 12. But on Sunday we sat around an enormous round table at Joy Luck, scooping food for one another, sharing a rare moment of silence as we all blow on our hot soup, leaning in toward each other to speak, pouring tea for our family. Chatting in both English and Chinese, a glorious mix. We barely notice the waitstaff, we laugh at each other. My aunt shows us pictures of the kids on Halloween - a green power ranger, Storm, and Mulan. We talk about my parents' trip to China, my cousin's science project, Mike's latest adventures. Afterward we stand outside for another 30 minutes, talking to one another. Me instantly tagging Michael when he made me "it" because my arms are so much longer. Later back to my grandparents' house, my grandmother trying to apply herbal remedies to my dad's hurt shoulder. The kids on the floor watching "Shanghai Knights." These moments, so fleeting, are now hung in my mind, swinging gently with their energy and color, like brightly colored linens strung up and flapping in the breeze as they dry.

Lately Sunday is the one day that I take steps back from my life. Sunday is my deep breath, my calm day, unhurried and simple. I'm dancing six days a week now, nearly 14 hours a week. Sometimes a little more. I'm working on average a 50 hour week, eating big lunches because sometimes I don't have time for dinner before dance. But I don't feel burnt out, or hurried. More and more, I realize that I love coming in to work everyday. I'm excited about my job, about the challenges. I come into work everyday and there is something new for me to learn, I can almost always guarantee that I'm going to do something I've never done before, and it feels amazing. I love the constant motion; I delight in it, I bask in it. I adore my coworkers. I am coming to love the products, and the company. Odd; I never expected this. But there seem to be many wonderful things in my life lately that I never expected to emerge. Despite all this, I do find the week to be taxing. My days consist, mostly, of working, dancing, coming home to talk to my parents, and sleeping. on Sundays I've learned to take it slowly, to recharge. I no longer feel the need to rush out of bed, though I often don't linger past noon.

Today Julia and I climbed Mission Peak. I woke at 5, and we got on the trail around 5:50. We didn't make the peak in time for sunrise, but we hit the ridge. Low clouds made us feel like we were standing higher than ever before, and as we hiked, a moon the color of creme brulee shone brightly to the west. Afterward we went to Starbuck's and shared a muffin and some laughter. Back home, and back to bed for a couple more hours!

Jack is off in Tibet right now; he'll be there until the 13th. Its so odd how separate our lives are right now. It seems the things that we can share and understand about one another's day to day lives becomes fewer. Every special experience of his comes to me, but oddly, as if from the pages of a book. I don't believe this to be unusual. And yet we stick to one another, doing our best to continue sharing. Each of us still living every day with intention and joy, so that when we find one another again we can look at those days and say "though we were apart, such days were not wasted."

For a while, my life seemed to be spinning out of control. As if I couldn't balance the things that were important to me, and I felt as though enormous pressures were being exerted upon me by many people, not the least by myself. But lately everything feels right again. I am simply moving through these new things, and everyday is good. And though I may have many different people and events in my life that I am sending energy toward, all these things seem simple to me again. It's so easy to become worked up about how much time to spend on one thing versus another, about whether my direction in life is the "right" one. My mom always says "what will be, will be." I try not to stress out about these things. I turn off what the world says. I do what feels right and allow my heart to guide me. And whatever I step into, I accept completely, boldly, with smile on my face, and a passion in my heart.
Tags: about cs, ballroom, family, food, google, relationships
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