If you look outside, it doesn't look like December. It doesn't even really feel like December inside from my apartment. We have one pine tree candle, and we've purchased stockings to decorate, and we've even made a decent dent in the large canon of Christmas movies out there, but I'm just not in the Christmas spirit yet. Today, though, I think that may change, as I'm returning to Holy Cross for the afternoon.
Ricky and even my coworkers sometimes tease me about my love for HC. There's just something about that little academic paradise on a hill that sets my heart pitter patter, and it comes out even stronger in the wintertime. Much like how Hogwarts always looked prettier at Christmas, Holy Cross feels and looks even prettier under a blanket of snow with greenery and advent wreaths. Last night, HC hosted its annual tradition of Lessons and Carols. I didn't steam it, but I'm sure it was merry with the choir singing and candles and greens everywhere. I went a few times when I was in college, and it's a really nice experience.
This is a stressful time in the life of a Crusader, since classes are wrapping up and finals are going to be underway next week. It was a lot of not sleeping for me and a lot of cramming to write all my papers and study literary themes or important plays. We even had all of the student performances during the reading days, so those three days that I could have used as a jump start on papers were spent in the Pit, rehearsing one thing or another. But it was still very nice, since it signified the end of a semester and visual proof of learning outcomes.
There was definitely a social aspect to the end of the semester and finals. Because no one had classes, big lunches used for discussing books and studying happened regularly. Jess, Karin, Tim, sometimes Erin, and I would also spend hours in Hogan, buying cup after cup of coffee and writing papers on the couches. At night, we'd all trek to Midnight Breakfast and stay for hours, soaking up all the free coffee they provided while eating egg sandwiches and hash browns. This was the break we'd need, though often someone would have a book or a paper in hand to edit and hopefully not get coffee or maple syrup on. It didn't matter what we were doing, we'd make sure we were there every night. There was also a memorable time when our classmate Ed (now a monk!) was panicking about something and gave himself a bloody nose.
I know I discussed all of this last year, but the feelings of nostalgia came flooding back again. Why? My friend Tim has been teaching at HC all semester, and today is the last day of his fall semester. He's celebrating with pizza (as only one can when you're finishing Milton) and then I am joining him for a later lunch somewhere in the city. It's been exciting hearing him talk about being back in Worcester and starting on his career path, so spending time with Tim on the last day of classes seems appropriate. It makes me remember all the winters in Worcester (or while I was in Worcester and he was studying in England) we've spent together. The midnight breakfast, the coffees in Hogan, the Christmas party where he dressed up like Santa. All of it.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think this trip to Worcester will be the beginning of holiday cheer that I need. A walk around to look at the greens, see the manger, drink too much coffee with Tim... that'll all bring me to that frame of mind that's ready for Christmas and the holidays in general. I'm glad that I'm doing it a little older, a lot wiser, a few more grays and a ring on my left hand, and that I don't have to stretch my margins out to get a paragraph onto the 10th page all while trying not to spill in my books so I can try to sell them back to the bookstore.