"What do you want for Christmas?" The most commonly asked question this time of year. Normally, I can think of at least 5 things that I've been wanting, but this year, it is not the same. Although school here isn't as easy as some people claim it to be, I have had the opportunity to see so many cities and countries, and meet so many people. I have been well taken care of by my family (thanks mom and dad) in regards to meals, and have had my fair share of shopping. So, here is your not-so-typical Christmas list, one may even say my "grown-up" Christmas list.
1. Time with my Family
After being gone for 105 days, not that I was counting or anything, I feel as though I missed out on so much family time. Even though I normally would be at school anyway, I would at least make it home for birthdays, occasional weekends, and especially Thanksgiving. Not being able to do these things has hurt me more than words can describe. Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays because of the time I get to spend with my family, and not being there for that is going to kill me. So, for Christmas, I want time with them to make up for time lost. I want to hear everything that has gone on in their lives since I've been gone, and honestly to just all be together, sitting around a fire in the family room watching movies. This sounds like a dream to me.
2. Time with my friends
Even with the prominence of FaceTime, Snapchat, and international phone plans, I have been terrible at keeping up with my friends, except for the occasional "how are you?", and "I miss you". I can't wait to hear about everything I missed out on, and to fill them in on all they have missed over a bottle (or two) of wine. I can't wait to be able to wonder aimlessly around Target with Erin, and make Margaritas with Haley, and eat enormous amounts of junk food with Kaitlin. Who knows, I may even make a trip to Seattle?
3. Visit Family in Ohio
One thing I have always hated about the holidays is the absence of family. Having pretty much all of my family living in Michigan and Ohio, it is almost impossible to be with family during the holidays. It has always wrecked me seeing how all of my friends are with their families during the holidays, and not being able to do the same. So, this year, I want to see all of my family. Even if it's just for New Years.
4. Time with Nike
Have you ever gone 100 days without cuddling with a dog? Well, I have, and I don't recommend doing such a thing. My dog is one of my favorite people on the planet. He doesn't talk back to me, is always down for a car ride, and provides endless love and snuggles. Not a day goes by that I don't miss cuddling with my dog in the mornings and at night. I miss how excited he gets when I come home, even after only an hour being gone. I can't wait to see his reaction when I come home after 100+ days, and am so ready for endless snuggles this holiday season.
5. Lots of Time with My Mom
This kind of falls under the same category as "family", but she needs her own bullet point. My mom and I are inseparable. This semester, there were no visits to Milwaukee for a quick lunch date, or days spent at the pumpkin patch, like we normally do. There were no Starbucks runs, or dinners made together. It was a lonely semester without my mom, and I can't wait to be with her for 5 weeks when I come home, and no more than 40 miles away the following semester. I can't wait to spend time making Christmas cookies, shopping, and wrapping gifts. I can't wait for our Starbucks dates, and late nights talking about everything that comes to mind. I knew leaving my mom wouldn't be easy, but holy wow has it been painful without her.
As my time abroad is coming to an end, I have realized that without my family and friends, I am nothing. I have had so many great times abroad, but have had and almost constant feeling of emptiness. I have everything I need in Italy. Food, the freshest water east of the Mississippi, a place to live, and so many things to do. So all I want for Christmas this year iseverything I have been missing out on the past 4 months. Friends, family, my dog, oh and snow, too!