On Friday, December 14, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and groggily walked to my first exam of the day. Then at 10:15, I made my way to my next one. And finally, with a little bit of studying in between, I walked across campus to my last exam of the year at 12:45. I was exhausted, to say the least. All week, when I wasn't busy studying, I had been thinking about how great it was going to feel to be home and relax with no worry about school, exams or responsibility. On Friday after my last exam, I got my first taste of freedom.
My dad picked me up from campus around 3 in the afternoon, giving me some time to get all of my stuff together and giving him time to stop at Bagel and Deli — a classic meal for our way home. When we finally arrived home after our two-hour drive, my house had already been decorated with vibrant Christmas lights. Bright white lights lined the edges of the house and colorful ones were wrapped around the trees in the front yard. It was a great way to be welcomed home.
Once I stepped inside, I realized that no one's plans were going to be altered just because I was home. Everything was happening as it normally would. My oldest brother was already out with his friends, planning on going to our high school's big basketball game later that night. My parents had a holiday party to attend in an hour, and my other two brothers had plans with their friends as well, meaning I would be left home alone. So, I took matters into my own hands and made plans with my friends from high school. It's really comforting to be able to come home to a group of people other than my family.
The Sunday after I got back, my family and I made a trip to Oakland Nursery to pick out our Christmas tree. It was gracious of them to wait for me to be home to get one even though it makes their lives a little more difficult, as picking up our tree has always been a family tradition that I love to be a part of. After spending about two hours at the nursery messing around with my brothers and running around the store looking at the crazy ornaments they offered, we went to Max and Erma's to eat a late lunch. Once we got home, we spent the rest of the night decorating our tree just as we always have in the past. Spending this time with my family is something I enjoy and is always appreciated during the holiday season.
During the upcoming weeks, I will have the opportunity to see friends and family that I haven't seen since before I left for school this year. Coming home, although it can get boring or repetitive, has its perks.
All in all, the best part about being home for the holidays is that nothing really changes. Everybody else's life goes on whether we're there or not. It's a comforting feeling to arrive back to the life we've always known. Coming home for the holidays isn't all about the gifts we receive, money to take with us back to school or the material goods. The best part about it is the continued traditions, time with family and friends, and always feeling welcome in a world where we're mostly absent.