I believe in the Holidays.  The music, warm fires, big sweaters, ice-skating, freshly baked cookies, hot apple cider—I love it all. It’s the time for happiness, for family, for love. It’s a time when everyone can come together and, for a couple of days, forget about their busy lives to laugh and relax with their loved ones.  It’s my favorite, and I make it my personal goal every year to make something about the Holidays memorable.  This year, it hasn’t been too difficult to accomplish.

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Just some gingerbread open s’mores cookies

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Lit-up Botanical Gardens!

This year, the Holidays have been about reunions—people, places, food, you name it. I can’t even explain how good it felt to check my suitcase in at the BWI airport and proudly tell the person at the counter that yes, STL is home. When we pulled into our driveway and I opened the door, I was excited to be greeted by my mom’s wonderfully warm hug, and the cozy smell of delicious dinner that I may or may not have requested repeatedly over the phone for the entirety of finals week. I was excited to sleep in my bed for hours and hours and also flop down on my sister’s bed to talk and marathon episodes of Bones and Friends.  It was exciting to plan visits to my favorite places in St. Louis. My dad and I (the nerds) eagerly requesting a visit to the science center, my family taking evening strolls at the lit up and festive Zoo and Missouri Botanical Gardens (also known as how many layers of clothes can we wear to battle the cold and still be able to move comfortably).

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reunions are fun

And of course…it’s our first long break back home! All of my friends from high school are finally in one place again so we can officially be crazy together. We’ve sat down, we’ve eaten an exorbitant amount of food, and we’ve shared our experiences. We’ve met all different kinds of people. We’ve all had our share of exploring our new cities. And most importantly, we all survived our first finals week. But seeing old friends also means seeing my favorite high school-ers. The majority of my friends are also seniors this year, so there’s celebration of those that have been accepted ED (what up JHU Class of 2018, it’s so much fun to be a part of your Facebook group), but there is also mindful avoidance of other college questions, because we all know that the wait is too long and too nerve-wracking. It’s also a bit of a strange experience talking to seniors, because it’s a reminder of everything that has changed in the past year. It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were anxiously waiting on decisions and now we’ve already settled in to our new homes… and in another year, the seniors will have found their own new places.

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My perfectly functional family of friends

This Holiday season has been, and I’m sure will continue to be wonderful. And I can’t forget to say: 2013 has been great—challenging, nerve-wracking, scary, exciting, happy, and amazing.  Happy New Year everyone and 2014, here we come!