Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bored in Chicago

Actually, I'm currently in my uncle's house in a suburb just north of Chicago. I don't actually have the audacity to call Chicago itself boring - because it's not. This whole so-called week-long "trip to Chicago" with my grandparents have been mostly me accompanying my grandparents. I love my grandparents to death, but they move at the speed of slow (as do all elderly folk).

In any case, at this pace I'm beginning to suffer from ennui. All we do is walk around the area randomly. We don't go anywhere or do anything, and I don't have the means to go anywhere by myself. I would require a car to get me to the nearest train station at the very least. I'm also getting tired of the same rotation of Chinese foods too now. Ah well, the family gossip is somewhat interesting to listen to.

The first two days weren't so bad. The first day basically consisted of a 6+ hour train ride, which was actually kind of cool since I've never ridden on the Amtrak before. That consumed a large part of day 1. I also finished reading Xenocide on the train. This African-American woman talked to me briefly about it, as she read Ender's Game and the sequels and loved all of them. That was amusing.

Day 2 my aunt's family in Chicago came over for dinner. This was at the insistence of my grandparents, as they haven't seen them in many years. I don't know anyone on my aunt's side of the family, so they were all new faces (except for her parents, I've seen them before). Now, the interesting thing here is listening to all the shifting Chinese dialects/accents being spoken. Shifting from Mandarin to Cantonese to 2 small regional dialects/accents that I can't remember, but for some reason was able to understand. I'm rather impressed I was able to follow almost everything despite the dialects/accents. Clearly, my family is from diverse parts of China. I say dialects/accents, by the way, to distinguish for example the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese - almost 2 different languages sometimes - and Mandarin and a regional accent that sounds similar but ever so slightly off.

It's weird having my uncle and relatives praise me and my brothers, as they always do. Of all the people my generation in the family, my brothers and I are always at the top. We always get straight-A's, we're clearly college-bound (if not already there and we're doing well there too), and now I've graduated and got "accepted" into a med school. I am praised as the paragon of the family, and my uncle wants me to teach my cousin how to do well in school and get into college (his prospects right now are somewhat dubious). If only they knew about me being bi - or possibly gay, can't rule that out for sure right now. I don't know if they even are able to comprehend that concept, much less accept it. It's a weird dark secret I keep. So for the time being, I remain the paragon of the family . . . until my brother supersedes me, which I know he will.

Anyway, let's see what the next few days bring. Perhaps I'll meet up with my friend JL-M. I didn't really get a chance to see him after graduation.

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