I spent a whole week with my family and was struck with what fascinating people they are.
Not only are they all among the smartest people I know (and I know some brilliant people), they are also interesting, well-rounded people:
I have three brothers. One is a talented, sought-after computer programmer who also happens to be an incredible poet, a gigging puppeteer, and moonlights as both a novelist and lyricist. One brother is an entomologist (a wasp expert, actually) who is winning awards for his research all the time, and he also happens to be a fantastic, cutting-edge T-shirt designer and on the side he studies old maps and ice ages and scriptural as well as genetic history. The third brother is a medical student who also happens to be an incredible songwriter and performer (who writes not only singer-songwriter stuff but also amazing ska and "oldies" style rock songs that make you want to dance and sing along). All three are amazing dancers.
I also have three sisters who are equally amazing. One sister is a professional photographer AND a professional CNA who happens to enjoy studying ancient religion and languages on the side. My second sister is fluent in Russian and good at Belorussian, skilled in English literature, and sought after by the CIA. And did I mention that she's an incredible dancer, ultimate frisbee player, hiker, editor, and character actress? And my youngest sister is a fantastic writer, smart as the others, and the person you go to if you need something done. If she wasn't so busy being an amazing mother, she'd be a top-notch investigative journalist (and probably will be some day). And she's a talented decorator. All three are also amazing dancers, compassionate and thoughtful, and fun. Oh, and they happen to be physically as well as intellectually stunning. All three of them. (Not that it matters).
And then there's me: writer and art quilter. But I also read science and medicine books (narrative nonfiction, textbooks) and journals for fun, and I'm fascinated with abnormal psychology, historical clothing, and historical uses of plants. And I collect antique books and folk cookbooks. And, as time passes, I'm learning more and more about music as a business.
Oh, and my parents are a political scientist/Instructional designer and a lawyer/Social Psychologist/writer for a judge--and he enjoys french cooking (doing it, not just consuming it). They both also dance AND sing AND write AND read science. My Dad studies Shakespeare and Calculus with equal abandon. My mom can read a half-dozen books and write a complete online reading course (for adults, struggling teens, or kindergartners) in about a week. Name any subject and give her ten minutes and she'll have an unbelievably perfect lesson plan ready, with a dozen extras on the side just in case your class (of any age) needs it.
Add the inlaws, and we have a fantastically diverse, opinionated group. We have musicians (many of them), a bicyclist, a belly dancer, naturalists, animal scientists, businessmen/women, computer geeks (more than one), medical students (more than one), linguists (and over 10 languages with varying degrees of skill), artists, dreamers and do-ers. Name a subject and I suspect someone in the family knows quite a lot about it. Typical family parties involve lots of talk, lots of incredible food, a measure of dancing, a great deal of music (hand drums, guitars, percussive stuff, voices--anything you can clank, bang, jingle, or strum), and never a shortage of things to learn and do.
No wonder going home is so fun!