I was talking to my family today. Not as a whole, but I talked to Mommy on the phone and then online, and I talked to Shra online too. Talking with members of my family is almost always entertaining. This time, Mommy referenced Harry Potter (she thinks Ron, but not Hermione or Harry, is what the Chinese call laoshi), and Shra commented that for Al’s upcoming trip to Tennessee (for the national Destination Imagination competition!), I’m giving her a nice blank book so she can record her thoughts, while Shra’s giving her… a stuffed cow. Ah, sisters.

I think I’m truly lucky to be able to say that I love my family, and not just because we’re related. Whenever one of my parents drives me back up to Berkeley, we talk the whole time, despite my frequent inspiring conversation starter: ‘I’m really tired today so I’m going to take a nap.’ Somehow, that never happens, and we always end up talking, and about everything: what we’ve been up to lately, what everyone we know has been up to lately, the nature of love… of music… of historical thought, and–of course-the all-important issue of what’s for dinner. Although our conversations are definitely not completely open (and maybe there should always be some secrets between parents and their children?), I know there are a lot of kids out there who just don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about most aspects of their lives. Or talking to their parents at all.

That I’m so close to my sisters is a gift. But that I’m so comfortable with my parents was at one time unthinkable. I remember frequently thinking (and often saying): ‘I am never going to do that to my kids!’ There was a time when I thought my parents were so wrong, so unfair, so limited in their knowledge. I don’t now think they’re perfect, but I appreciate much more what they have been through and that they do everything they know to ensure that my sisters and I will turn out to be, if not successful, at least good people. I was complaining to my friend Carla once that I can’t stand that my parents’ political views are so different from mine. She smiled benignly and replied, ‘Well, you think the way you do, so they must have done something right.’ It is an amazing thought. How do you raise a kid to be a moral person, while still giving her the capacity to think for herself and make her own decisions? I have no idea. Thank God I don’t have to have kids yet! And it further amazes me that despite my past scorn for my parents and their ideas and methods, we’ve somehow now reached the point where we can be friends. I still sometimes think to myself that I won’t raise my kids exactly the way I was raised, but should I even still say that? I’m not sure.

I could write a lot more about my family, but as I realize people will only read journal entries of a certain length… (thank you if you’ve already kept up to this point!) I would just like to say here that as my relationships with my family members keep developing, I’m really enjoying the process. I’ve just recently realized that my particular brand of philosophical-ness comes from my dad, and I’ve also only realized in the past few weeks just how closely connected I am to Shra. Even Erik, every time we get back from hanging out with my family, often remarks how much he likes their company. I’ve almost forgotten that this is a weird thing, for a boyfriend or girlfriend to like the other’s family (and for the family to like them back!)–it’s only when I sometimes bring this up to other people, and they look at me in shock, that I understand once again what a remarkable group of loved ones I’m living in.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]