I am sorry for the delay in posting.
I think mostly everyone who reads this blog already knows this, but on Monday the 9th around midnight I got a phone call from my parents with some very bad news. My brother, Robert, died.
It's been a really hard week for me. As hard as it was to be alone in a foreign country away from all my friends and family during the holiday season...this is 10 times worse. I attended the funeral yesterday morning over webcam, which was pretty torturous, but better then not being there at all.
Getting back to work has been hard, especially since my job involves being the center of attention a lot of the time. The first class I taught after coming back to work I broke down crying, luckily with only a minute or two left in the period.
I am lucky, though, to have amazing co-workers who covered my classes for me without hesitation when I needed it. They also took me out to dinner all of last week to make sure I was eating and getting out of the apartment. Becky even bought me a chocolate pastry which she said was "the perfect comfort food". Lucy and Isabelle have also been wonderful. I spent most of Saturday with them and after dinner, wine, talking and watching movies, I felt almost normal again. Some of my students even wrote me notes expressing their sympathy and condolences.
Every time I think about my brother I get this wrenching empty pain in my chest like there is some sort of black hole under my ribs that's pulling me into myself. He and I had a complicated relationship to say the least and it's hard for me to sort everything out in my head. I've been writing a lot recently as a kind of personal form of therapy and I think it's been helping.
I don't plan on talking about this again in this blog (mostly because it's a personal matter and this is a public blog), but of course plans might change.
I've spent much of the last week in my apartment crying, watching TV and knitting. I am trying to move on, get out and do stuff. This weekend I am finally actually going to go to Hangzhou with Lucy and Isabelle. The train tickets are already purchased and the hostel will be booked today. We leave Friday. Considering what a calming effect they had on me last Saturday I am really looking forward to spending a whole weekend with them. Also, D'Arcy (a friend of mine from Drew) will be arriving with a friend of hers from Japan in a week. They will be staying with me for 5 days. I am really happy about the idea of seeing someone from home, and D'Arcy has already promised to give me about 1,000 hugs when she arrives.
So...that's whats been going on with me.
If anyone is interested in watching it, my mother put together a really nice video memorial about Robert.
Thank you to everyone who has been sending me e-mails, facebook messages, or calling. I really do appreciate and I'm sorry if my responses have been short or non-existent. I really just don't know what to say to people.