my grandmother - my last surviving grandparent - passed away this evening. the moment my mother called me i knew. my grandmother hadn't been doing well, and had stopped eating for a few days. my 2nd aunt left for taiwan last week, afraid the worst was about to come. i didn't answer the phone the first time because i had my hands full making dinner (reheating a cheeseburger), but when my immediately mother called again, i was sure what the news would be. the last time i saw my grandmother was less than 3 years ago, june 2017. she seemed fine, not as spry as she used to be (she used to be a speed walker), but still looking good and lucid at 89. later that year, she went back to taiwan on a routine trip to visit family, but took ill, and wasn't well enough to fly back to california, where she'd been living. from that point on, she never left taiwan again.
the people of my grandparents' generation knew hardship. my grandmother survived the japanese invasion during WWII and fled hankou (wuhan, hubei) for taiwan after the chinese civil war with my grandfather who was a KMT military pilot. she raised 6 children (4 daughters, 2 sons) who grew up to give her many grandchildren and even great grandchildren, spread across the US to taiwan. one of the things i remember the most about my grandmother was when i was in 4th grade (1983-1984), she and my grandfather came to boston to take care of my sister and me while my parents worked at the restaurant. back then we had an atari 2600, and my grandparents loved pac-man. love is putting it mildly, they were addicted, playing it whenever they had a chance. while i was outside riding bikes with friends and collecting cans for deposit money to buy candy, my grandfather and grandmother were inside the house, playing hours and hours of pac-man. they played it so much, the rubber sleeve of the joystick had come off. now whenever i hear the intro music to pac-man, or any of the sound effects, i think of them. that's why when my parents went to taiwan last month, i asked them to play a youtube recording of atari pac-man. my grandmother - who by then was slipping in and out of lucidity - immediately perked up when she heard those familiar sounds, nearly 4 decades ago.
my sister called after my mother broke the news to me, asking me if i wanted to go to belmont. i said no at first, but 4 minutes later i called my sister up asking if she was still around and for a ride. it was misting outside. my grandmother's death didn't come as a shock, but the passing of a close relative is always sad, especially when it's your parent, as it was in my mother's case. i gathered up a google album of my grandmother's photos and sent it to my mother. she was annoyed that she couldn't find any physical photo of my grandmother in the house. she took a blood pressure reading, which was high, and said she didn't feel like going to work tomorrow. after we collectively lit some incense for my grandmother, my sister gave me a ride back to my place.
i told kevin before i left that my grandmother had passed away and i had to go see my mother for a bit. he didn't seem the least bit empathic, just said okay, like i was going out for a routine grocery run. just as i predicted, he came home very early again today, around 3:45pm. but contrary to my prediction, it wasn't because he went to the bank to get me my rent money. no, he completely forgot about that little detail, instead he basically came home early because he was tired. he took an hour long nap before waking up at 5pm to take a shower. all that i cared about was he didn't piss on the floor, and at least for today, that didn't happen. he did do one annoying thing though: he left all the kitchen lights on again this morning.
so far there's just been 1 confirmed case of the coronavirus in massachusetts, but today it was reported that there have been 608 people quarantined. 60% of those had been cleared (which could still be uncertain as there's been reports of the coronavirus being still contagious long after symptoms have stopped) while the rest are still under quarantine.
earlier today i went to a lecture titled "lessons from china: the world's largest education system" by lenora chu. she talked about her own experience enrolling her son in a chinese public elementary school. it was interesting, but i'm not sure how much of that makes her an expert on the chinese education system, beside offering some personal anecdotes. she contrasts that with american education system, but once again i question her expertise as she currently lives in berlin and her son is attending school there, not exactly america. i feel like i know a little something about chinese education from talking with a series of chinese roommates, and talking with former coworkers who have children. one thing that shocked me was the system of giving money as gifts for teachers, something lenora didn't talk about, though she did note that chinese teachers have far more power and clout than they do here, never to be questioned by either students or teachers.
i came home and had a hearty lunch by around 2pm comprised of a chicken salad bagel sandwich, some fruit juice, a salad (italian dressing with parmesan cheese), and some orange slices.
something else i'd never been able to do before on my previous android phone: play pokemon go. back when i dabbled in pokemon about 2 years ago, i could only ever play it on my iphone. even then, i was always afraid to for fear of using up my limited data. now with unlimited data on my android, i can play pokemon go to my heart's content. i installed it out of curiosity, and was amazed by how much things have changed. new features everywhere, and new critters to catch. i'm still not sure if i'm playing pokemon go again, but i might pop it open once in a while just to see what's around.
my fabric google case arrived today. it wasn't as horrible as i'd thought, as i was having second thoughts about buying it. the black rubber case looks generic, but at least it was functional, and i never had to worry about it getting dirty. it also had amazing grip, i could set it down on any surface and never have to worry about it slipping off. the fabric case makes the pixel look more premium, but the edge isn't as thick or raised as the black rubber case, making it easier to accidentally touch the edge of the screen and turn on an app. i fixed it by increasing the margin width of the homescreen within nova launcher's settings. the grey "fog" color of the fabric case makes me more visible, the all black rubber case had a tendency to disappear. it's also easier to tell which end is up with the grey fabric case, as the black notch is more visible, as well as a lip opening at the bottom of the case for the charging cable.