December 30, 2011

2011 In Review

So many wonderful memories were made this year! I drew close to the members of my Connecticut church home, as well as a few of my fellow classmates. I have also grown in mind, spirit and ability. I have worked on no longer living to please others solely for their approval of me. I have learned to: let things go; leave some things unsaid; and most importantly, continue loving unconditionally.  I have gotten a better grip on this thing called "life".

As I move forward into 2012, I will carry that which I've learned this year. I don't know what the next 365 days hold, but I do know that there are some special plans for this upcoming year (earning my Master's is one big thing). I look forward to it... and I look forward to making new memories.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you are all enjoying this time with your family.
I saw this video at the Christmas Eve candlelight service yesterday evening. It's just a reminder of why we celebrate this season. 

Jesus came so that he could die for the sins of the world. 
What an awesome gift!

December 13, 2011

Missing Out

I have never had a good sense of family. As I've stated before in a previous post, my "family" consists of my mother and big sister, Opal (and my other half sister, but I hardly know her). 

We don't have traditions. 
We don't have family outings.
And, we've never ever taken a family portrait. 

As far as I can remember, I don't even think we've been in a picture together, and if we are, we don't have it in our possession. We don't have family albums at home. The few pics I have of growing up are few and far between and I guard them in a little blue photo album in my bedroom at home. Most of the pics in there are from my mid to late teens and were photos given to me by my friends at the time, or maybe from a church member.

My idea of holiday traditions for years on end was going to my friend, Vanessa's house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas because my mom was working yet another year, and she felt "bad" and didn't want me to be at home alone. Vanessa's family became mine, but as I got older, I felt as though I was intruding on their special family time. 

It is no wonder why the holidays are no big deal for me. Aside from the problems I've been having with my mother as of late, I did not feel an urge to go home for Thanksgiving this year. I spent it here: in Connecticut. in this grand grad school house. all-by-myself. I even ate left over porkchops for my "big Thanksgiving dinner". No big deal. I wasn't phased by it at all, and frankly, I did not feel as though I missed out on anything special. 

When my beau's momma asked me what I like to eat on Christmas Day, my response was "nothing". I don't have traditions. I don't have special holiday dinners. Every Christmas since high school my mom would beg me to put the faux Christmas tree up. I always resisted. I resisted even more when I came home from college for winter break and she asked. I refused until she begged me once more. I hate that stupid thing. I hate that I always had to put it up by myself and decorate it by myself. She never helped... Just came home from work saying that the living room looks much better and it helped to make her feel happy. I guess that's why I always did it... To make her happy.

Although it seems as if I am complaining, I don't resent my mother. She has had to work to make a living for us and herself. She never really had a stable family of her own growing up, and when we finally immigrated to America to live with her, my 2 sisters and I were 17, 12, and 7 years old, respectively. She hardly raised us. 

I do get sad thinking about all the things I missed out on during my childhood. I sometimes envied other families who decorated Christmas trees together, always had home-cooked meals, and go out on family outings/vacation together. But when I think about it, I am not the only person in the world who has never experienced those things. Certainly my life is not worse-off or lacking because of it. It's just that sometimes we see things as black and white, and black is almost always negative. 

Now, I don't get disappointed at a lackluster holiday celebration, or even the lack there of. The camera I received as a gift in 2005 has truly been my favorite inanimate object. I try not to attend an event without taking a picture to capture the memory. Also, I have the motivation to do all the things that I have 'missed out on' with my future family. 
This was all a learning process.

December 6, 2011

Christmas Party and Columbian Food (sans Columbian Food)

This past weekend was very fun for me. One of the women from church invited me to her 13th Annual Christmas party. Her and her husband have been doing it for years (obviously), and it has grown so much, they had to add an extension to the house to accommodate everyone. It's true. There were upwards of 100 people there that night, although it did not seem like it.

All invited guests were asked to bring a $5 grab bag gift and our "favorite snack". I didn't want to do the cliche chips and dip, so I ventured out a bit and prepared oven  baked bbq wings. (I tried one at home. They were really good. I also got compliments at the party). For the $5 grab bag gift, I purchased a set of 4 coffee mugs that came with a metal stand from Pier 1. I was surprised about the price myself! As you all read previously, I have a newfound love of that store.

All in all, it was a great time of fellowship with the people from church. I got to see all the familiar faces and actually exchanged a few words with the ones that I've only seen from afar. With the grab bag gifts we brought, we played the "gift exchange game". I chose a gift bag with Andes chocolate mints and a $10 gift card to Target. Obviously that gift bag was over the $5 mark, but I'm not complaining. Also, because I had a higher selection number, I got to keep my gift, and no one decided  to take it from me.

On Sunday, I was to have lunch with a Colombian family at one of their recommended restaurants after church. Sadly, the wife was sick and we had to rain check it (probably until I return from Christmas break).

This is the last week of classes for the semester. I have a total of 3 finals to complete, and then I'm home-free for a month! Of course, my laptop decided to die 2 weeks before finals (JUST like last year) and I am left freaking out over:
  1. not having a means of studying my powerpoint slides
  2. making my vision worse by staring at my iTouch's little screen for long periods of time, and
  3. realizing that not having a computer is not half bad. I waste way too much time doing nothing on it, anyway.

Thank God for warranties, though. I got that thing shipped off and fixed in less than a week.... Now, if UPS and I can stop playing tag so I can actually receive my laptop and study for my finals, I would be quite elated.

**Photos from party will have to be posted once I get my computer back. **
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