Hello everyone! I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve last updated. I’ve been trying to look around and wait for inspirations… but of course, that shouldn’t be an excuse for my tardiness. Anyway, just so you’re wondering what it’s like to spend your Christmas break on campus, you’re on the right page. Unlike the other breaks we have occasionally throughout the semester, Christmas break is not only the longest break, but it’s the only one where we don’t have to worry about upcoming assignments and tests afterwards. I felt rested enough to prepare myself for the next half of the year. Honestly, the Christmas break that I had wasn’t the one I pictured in mind. I imagined myself taking about 3 days off at Minneapolis, try every outdoor snow activities there is like skiing, ice-skating, sledding, snowboarding, etc., and of course, that was too unrealistic of me. Transportation is limited especially during breaks when most of your friends who are able to drive are not around. However, I only felt that way at the beginning of break because later on, I was growing lazier to leave campus as the days passed.
So here’s how I spent my break:
I was on Skype a lot catching up with my friends back in Malaysia as well as my family. I didn’t get to do much of that before this because of school and the time difference which was usually inconvenient for either them or myself. Since it was break, I didn’t have to worry about what time I had to get up the next morning and if I had anything else to do later, so I was able to spend more time with them. Apart from that, I got to catch up with a lot of my TV series that I never got a chance to finish since I got here. They were blasting on my speakers for almost a week but it wasn’t too much of a problem since no one else was living on the same floor as I was (which was great). It was really relaxing everyday, until later when I realize that I have to start looking for other resources to get food because Oneota no longer opens at the end of December. It’s also going to be too expensive for me to order pizza delivery all the time, and I was planning to save up this break. So, I had to keep track of when there is a shopping shuttle available to bring us to Walmart. The shopping shuttle is a service provided by the Luther sustainability team on campus to bring students to Walmart and back. It’s available for about four times a month at different dates and times and the schedule can be found at the Diversity Center front desk.
Anyway, I started stocking up for a week before the next shopping round. I made a mistake by not bringing my cooking utensils and pans to Brandt, but that wasn’t much of an issue because the service center in Brandt provides them whenever there’s an RA around. Cooking everyday for yourself wasn’t too bad as well, especially not when your friends are around with you. We would take turns to visit each other at different dorms to cook a meal together. Also, I remember I said in the previous blog that I would be talking about the many activities the RAs were going to organize for us during our stay here. I didn’t get a chance to attend all of it because they were mostly held in Miller, but the ones I’ve attended were good. There was an evening where we decorated vases made out of used soda bottles and papers. Great company, great cookies. Another evening, we had Pasta Night, where there were all kinds of pasta made by the RAs! Great company, great cooking. There were also a couple of job opportunities on campus for the break, so I decided to work for custodial services a whole week before Christmas to earn some extra cash for J-Term.
I remember on Christmas Eve afternoon, I decided to take a stroll around campus and further down when the weather wasn’t too windy. I was taking pictures of the neighborhood next to campus, and I happened to spend a longer time at this house which I found nicer than the others. Out of nowhere, I was greeted by a warm, middle-aged woman who invited me into her place. I kept apologizing for intruding her place, creeping around taking pictures but she only laughed and the next thing I know she invited me and my friends over to her place for dinner. I was really excited as I got to see what Christmas Eve is like here in Iowa. The lady was Sue Blair -- Pastor Mike Blair’s wife. So I brought one of my friends over to their place, and we got to meet their kids Kate and Ben, who were just as lovely as the both of them. There were also two other internationals who joined us for dinner and Sue’s neighbor and her little girl. We had a night-long conversation in the living room next to the fireplace after dinner. Sue also did some story-telling from a children’s book. It was the coziest Christmas Eve I’ve had in a long time. Christmas Day was about the same too. The internationals who stayed back on campus were invited to an Rich and Mary’s place not far from Luther. They used to attend Luther back in their days. They were extremely welcoming and made sure we all were comfortable enough being a big group in a regular living room. As for New Year’s Eve, my friends and I planned to head up to Minneapolis to do some counting down but plans changed when we found out that our closest friends were not going to be around to give us a lift. However, it wasn’t as boring as it turned out to be! We ordered pizza delivery that night and talked about how much this year has changed us (your typical new year’s eve topics).
All in all, it was the first time that I’ve got to celebrate these events in such humble settings and I do not regret it one bit. For once, it was different and I got to spend more time closely with the company I enjoy being around with, which mattered more. Happy New Year’s everyone. Here’s to another life-changing year.