Friday, October 05, 2007

ARTHRITIS: The Conquest! or: I miss libraries

Old immune system plus new germs means I'm writing this from bed, by dose stubbed dup so dat I dalk like dis, my head feeling approximately like someone's scraped it out with a $2 K-Mart Jack-O-Lantern carving kit (complete with dull injection-molded knives and spoon of questionable integrity) and packed warm, oil-soaked cotton where my brain and sinuses used to be.

Chua Laoshi (yes, my Chinese teacher's last name is the same as mine) is remarkably patient with my incessant questions. How incessant? Well, during our first session where I barely asked any questions, we got through 6 chapters in the book (which is, incidentally, written for 5-year-olds.) During the second lesson, I turned the question-o-meter way up. We barely squeaked through a single chapter.

Tushuguan (libraries) are sorely lacking in the Philippines, and my grandma's private collection of books doesn't quite intersect with the qualities I tend to look for in a library. First of all, all the books in the house could fit in one bookshelf (they're interspersed between the much more numerous photo albums). Half the books are traditional Chinese. The remainder consists of Catholic tracts and novenas with the occasional health book geared towards those considerably older than 21; "ARTHRITIS: The Conquest!" is not exactly on my must-read list.

Learning Fukien/Fookien/Hokkien (my family's dialect), Mandarin/Instik/Putonghua (technically, Putonghua != Mandarin; the former is spoken in the PRC, the latter in Taiwan, iirc), and Tagalog/Pilipino/Filipino doesn't actually help me understand what my family says, as they mix the three languages together with English, shamelessly using the grammatical conventions of one to conjugate vocabulary from another. ("Have you ever heard your 5-ee* conjugate?" my 7-ee said before proceeding to give an example - which I must get her to recreate sometime - of a Hokkien word mangled into Filipino grammar.)

*My mom is the 4th of 8 sisters. We refer to her sisters by number for convenience: 1-ee is the eldest, then 2-ee, and so on to 8-ee. The numbers are in Hokkien: 1= Ah, 2 = Di, 3 = Sa, 4 = Ci, 5 = Go, 6 = Lak, 7 = Chit, 8 = Pue. Actually, the titles of my various maternal aunts is the only reason I can count in Hokkien... and the reason I can only count up to 8 in Hokkien.

Vegetarians and people trying to avoid sugar will probably not be happy here. Incidentally, diabetes is an issue in these parts...

Ok. Head feels like packed cotton. Must... nap. (Dear immune system: if you happen to have my blog in your feed reader, please wake up. Tell those T-cells to hop to it already.)

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