Friday, December 17, 2010

Update: grandmother, exams, holiday

My grandmother's funeral was last Saturday. The service was very nice. The church was beautiful, and the flower arrangements were lovely (it was convenient that it's Christmas, so the church was already decked out in poinsettias...we just added even more flowers). We grandchildren all sang "Over the Rainbow" (Iz's tune, original lyrics) accompanied by me and one of my cousins on the ukulele (I'm still terrible at playing the uke, so I was glad that I showed my cousin the chords...he's quite good at guitar already). Another cousin--the one with a masters in vocal performance training to be an opera singer--sang a slightly modified version of "For Good" from Wicked. The turnout was good, and we ended up with just about the right amount of food (yummy Chinese food) at the reception afterwards (i.e., enough for a meal of leftovers).

On Sunday night we had dinner with family from my grandfather's side, which was actually closer to my grandmother as an adult than her side of the family (she didn't seem that close to her siblings), then went back to one of their houses to "talk story" (it's a Hawaii phrase) about my grandmother. I ended up learning a lot about her I hadn't known. I also learned a lot about my grandfather's parents that I hadn't known...even though we were there to share memories about my grandmother, my grandfather and great uncles couldn't keep themselves from veering off topic to talk about other family members who have passed.

We buried her on Monday. It's a lovely cemetery right next to Diamond Head, with the graves decorated by the colorful tropical flowers loved ones bring. I'd been there several times before, as my grandmother's parents and grandfather's parents (whom I never met) are all buried there. The weather was perfect--sunny and clear, slight breeze, not too hot (80ish). I'm relatively stoic, but it was during the burial that I cried the most. It finally sunk in how final this was. That if I wanted to visit my grandmother from now on, that I'd have to come here. And the thought that her parents were buried nearby, and now their daughter was joining them, really got to me.

On Tuesday I got back to work. I had to study for my final exam on Friday morning. I took the exam and I think it went pretty well. I say this now, of course, but I could have gotten some of the questions completely wrong. We'll see. I tried to find my advisor after the exam, but there was no sign of him in his office--for all I know he's already off for winter break. I haven't seen him in a month. With all the family stuff going on, and me just being a general slacker right now (I haven't been feeling very motivated lately), I never had anything to report to him. No progress made on my research. I'm actually a little depressed about it. So I sent him an email saying what's been up with my family (I hadn't even told him about my grandmother), which will hopefully excuse me from not making any progress with my research this month, and wishing him happy holidays. I feel bad, though, that I didn't see him to say that in person. Oh well.

A couple hours after my exam, I went to pick up my college roommate from the airport. I haven't seen her in a year and a half, since our second reunion. I bought a pikake lei (not a very nice one...I am a poor grad student) for her, since I figure it's her first time on the island and I might as well give her the full Hawaii treatment. They're so beautifully fragrant, and as I type this on my bed, it's making my bedroom smell wonderful. My friend is here for five days; I leave on the same flight as she does to go to my parents' for the holidays. Hopefully we can fit in a lot of good stuff in those five days. I'll probably not be blogging much in that time. I hope everyone is well, and I'll surely have at least one more post by Christmas, but in any case, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!


Hezabelle said...

It sounds like a beautiful ceremony, and I think I really like the idea of "talk story."

I hope you did well on your exam! Have fun with your friend and have a safe journey home for the holidays! :)

Eleni said...

Thanks! I hope you have a fun holiday, too :)