My trip to visit my parents went great, and now I'm back in Florida, where I am supposed to be studying German. I really will study tomorrow. My independent study work is all turned in, and I should be meeting with my adviser to discuss dissertation topics sometime in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, I think I need to go to the beach once more before classes start, providing that it's still oil-free. I'll have to look into that. On to vacation!
My father works with international students at the university. Basically, he does what the University wishes it could do, but hasn't got time or money for, consequently everyone loves him. He organizes conversation partners, English classes and culture classes, and lots of social events for the international students. During the first week of classes he organizes a tour around town: volunteers drive carloads of students along a path that my dad has organized, and tell them about the city. The tour ends on campus where there is a free-garage-sale-furniture-etc-giveaway. People donate all sorts of things that students need, which then get set up in a parking lot on campus, and then given away.
This means that there is a lot of furniture-moving going on in the weeks beforehand. Which is what I got to do frequently over my break, including the morning of my first day home. Also, one of my dad's interns moved, so we helped out with that too.
My father also likes to make grandiose proclamations about how my brother and I will be inheriting. Who inherits depends on his mood: sometimes it's me, because I am the eldest, sometimes it's my brother, because he's the son. Currently it's me, at least as of last week. A few years ago my brother and I pointed out to our dad that there really isn't that much to inherit. He was momentarily fazed, but got over it.
So I informed my brother that I'm inheriting again, and then my parents actually decided that they need to update their will. I guess my brother and I are still being left to our maternal grandparents, who are dead, and we're too old for guardians now anyway.
This decision was precipitated by the fact that my parents are going to Asia this fall to visit some of my dad's old students. I believe the plan is to visit China (Beijing and Shanghai, and possibly other cities), Hong Kong, Taiwan, (South) Korea, and possibly Japan. I'm envious. My father is apprehensive.
He doesn't really like to travel, neither does my brother, but my mother and I love it. Dad had to be bullied into visiting Italy with me
, but ended up really loving Florence. While at home this time, my mother came across a scarf that I'd brought with me - I usually wear it or something like it into church because services are always soooo cold during the summer, with all the air-conditioning.Mom:
This is pretty! Where's it from?me:
Florence - we got it from the same place where we bought your scarf.Dad:
Yes! WE'VE been to ITALY.Mom:
I KNOW. When are you taking me?Dad:
But! I'm taking you to Asia!Mom:
In random news, my dad, who, by the way, is ordained as a pastor, and is an elder at church, sporadically likes to talk about his past lives. (Not that he actually believes in reincarnation...) This time around he saw an advert for Shark Week and decided that he'd been a shark in one of his previous lives. His usual favorite past life is when he was the Mother Superior from Sound of Music
, and sang "Climb Every Mountain." He also asked me to be on the lookout for his past lives from the Middle Ages as I look through medieval manuscripts and literature.
I learned that my mother is against mixing battery brands. Dad apparently wanted to just put two random batteries into a light that he'd bought for one of his interns, but my mother said he couldn't. Dad:
But they're both batteries! Same voltage!Mom:
I don't care! It doesn't work! I don't like it! Just use two from that new package you bought!
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I have a serious tea collection. It's getting a bit out of hand. I had to re-organize that part of the pantry when I got home. But my parents have an even larger tea collection, because my dad's students like to bring him tea from their provinces and so on. Also: really pretty teacups and teapots.
One of them, a yellow teapot, gets used a lot. My dad had a bunch of students over for a breakfast-and-lunch-planning session; I sat in for the meal parts, during which the yellow teapot was being used. It has four circles on the sides, with Chinese characters in them, and I wanted to know what they meant, and realized that this would be a perfect time to find out. According to one of the girls, the characters mean "10,000," "life," "happiness," and "none," which translates to a message along the lines of wishing you eternal life, and is one of the standard phrases used when addressing the emperor or your elders. (Something like "May you have life and happiness without end").
On the way back to Florida, I called my parents when I'd stop to take breaks. At one point my mother told me about the latest gift that they'd recieved:Mom:
Guess what we were given? More tea! We didn't have enough already!
She didn't say what type it was. Hopefully more jasmine; that's one of my favorites.