Well, term is over...
Which means ample time to write lengthy emails and otherwise enjoy recreational activities, such as: sleep, sit down meals, reflection, etc...
I'm not going to get in to the details of the past couple of weeks, but since Thanksgiving it's been one really long sprint. The last week+ before the end of the term I didn't even sleep in my room. I was camped out in the main building taking 10 minute to 2 hour naps (averaging probably 4 hours of sleep per 24 hours). It was pretty rough -- but I got through it.
Now its break and life is good. I'm pretty happy and its not so cold. I'm just looking forward to things calming down and getting a bit of a nice holiday routine in.
The thing with working every waking hour is that there is very little that I've been up to... since my daily allotted time for reflection was also taken up by work, I've been in a little vortex for the past couple of weeks and probably couldn't even tell you what I'd been up to.
AND, furthermore, because of life sans reflection, I haven't had any particularly noteworthy musings or trains of thought that I can share. So I apologize for not being able to be exciting and tell you how wonderfully life changing the past couple of weeks have been...
But, seriously, I'm happy to have had break arrive without being elated. I used to feel wonderful after each term ended -- but in the past year and half it's lost its novelty. Its not that it doesn't mean anything, but work aside, there isn't a significant difference between the two. Granted, work is a relatively large factor and I'm happy not to be racing towards deadlines, but at the same time racing towards deadlines isn't so bad and either way you've got a day to fill.
So, it feels nice.
I have no major plans for the next couple of weeks. There are four of us who will be here the whole break (maybe five), and then some others will be dropping in and out. At this point, there are still a couple of guys who haven't headed home, so we've just been enjoying ourselves.
Dan Fahey, my Congo teacher and our visiting prof, is heading back to the Congo -- he has work with a group called the Eastern Congo Initiative (sponsored by none other than Monsieur Ben Affleck) -- so we went to Boonies last night (the bar/restaurant in the next valley over). It was nice to get out of the valley. We actually lifted the D&A policy for break so we can drink in the dorm after 8pm, but its all been pretty casual.
The other day Cyril (a good friend from Minnesota), Ben (the guy who was in the Marines for a five years) and I went with the Mitchells to cut down some Christmas trees. The Mitchells are the family who have been here for 12 years. Ken, the father, is the ranch manager and his wife, Karen, runs the garden. They have three girls, one of whom married a Deep Springer who takes care of the farm. They are lovely family (Ken is a little more the 'calloused rancher' type, but still a good guy, whereas Karen is the nourishing, caring, homemaker type).
Karen, the girls, and Mark (that former DSer who married their daughter) drove us over to the next valley where we spent an hour looking for christmas trees in a little evergreen forest. There was snow on the ground so that meant snow ball fights. Then we finally found a nice looking tree (and when I say 'we' I mean 'I' ;-)...), cut it down, and headed back to the car. I was supposed to be in charge of SnackCom (snack committee), but had slept through the allotted time to arrange for snacks. Fortunately, Karen had whipped up a great little tailgate picnic. There were shrimp, cocktail sauce, tortilla chips, salsa in cream cheese, water, apple juice, caramel popcorn, and cookies -- essentially great snackums.
Then we headed back to campus with the tree.
The tree is now in the dorm and it sounds like we'll probably do a little Christmas thing in the dorm amongst the guys. The Mitchells also have the guys who are on campus over for a Christmas eve dinner, which is supposed to be lovely.
As you know, Dad, it was wickedly cold when you were here (or it was getting wickedly cold) and it got really cold, but now it isn't so bad. I've grabbed a old, blue down vest from the bone pile (a wardrobe of clothes left and donated by old students) and I wear that practically all the time, but I don't really need much more than that for the time being. I'll usually wear a jacket underneath or one of the long sleeved flannel shirts that I picked up from the bonepile, as well. Actually, now the winter weather really is quite nice.
I'll probably take you up on your offer of some warm clothes. I'll take a look on-line to see what I need. The moccasins would be wonderful, but I'm just worried that I would just ruin a good pair here. Things here get battered pretty quickly and I don't know if its worth it.
I know you guys have sent me a bunch of small emails asking me of this or that, and I've tried to stay on top of the necessities and I'm sorry I couldn't do any more than that, but it really has been an insane period of work.
As for Taylor Swift, she really is quite lovely isn't she? Her sincerity and innocence drip through her lyrics and her voice, its kind of hard not to enjoy. Although, let it be known that she does have a darker side that comes out in a couple of verses that you kind of let float by because of her aforementioned 'sincerity and innocence'. Then you realize what she's saying and you see that she is, after all, a woman.
Leah's bill of rights is both adorable and inspiring, I hope it works out as well in Practice as it does in Theory.
Anyway, let me know how things are going on yourrrr side. Or rather let me know when you guys can call, and we can talk.
Lots of love, Ez