I'm back from Missouri. My grandfather's funeral was somber and beautiful, and I had an excellent time getting together with some family members I hadn't seen in 15 years.

I have to say, my cousins are extremely awesome. Some of my older cousins have kids, and their kids are awesome too. In many cases, I had no real relationship with some of them before this trip, and it was amazing to discover all sorts of little things about them (such as the fact that we all like Simpsons and Law & Order).

We played cards late into the night after the funeral, and talked about random stuff. I know it shouldn't surprise me, but it turns out that most of them are online pretty regularly; I'm really looking forward to chatting with them in the future, and hopefully staying in contact with them much more than I have in the past.

We met together at our grandparents' house just outside of Springfield, Missouri. It's amusing to me -- I flew from Los Angeles to Kansas City, and then drove to Springfield, and the total travel time was over 13 hours. (You can fly into Springfield, for triple the price.) Although it's barely over 1000 miles, my grandparents live as far away as Tokyo, time-wise.

I took almost 300 pictures, and I'll probably post some of them soon. Meanwhile, here's a family portrait that includes everyone who was there for the funeral. Most of you won't recognize it, but we're re-enacting the last family portrait that was taken there on Grandpa's staircase in Christmas, 1987.





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