I’m writing this as I fly back from my Thanksgiving Break at home. In Hawaii (that’s right, be jealous). I hadn’t been home since last Christmas, so it was great to see my family, lie on the beach, and just enjoy the comforts of home. And while I didn’t take my laptop home and refused to do any school work on my break, I learned a number of things during the vacation.
Lesson #1: Contrary to what mainlanders seem to think, waiting in lines isn’t a fact of life. I had a couple errands to run while I was home and when I went to the doctor, I got a delightful reminder of much less waiting there is at home. I had two appointments back to back. I got into my first one with no wait, got into my second one early, and I picked up my prescriptions with about ninety seconds in line. I had a similar experience at the DMV, which is notorious in pop culture for taking forever. I walked in, walked up to the window and filled out my paperwork standing there. They approved it. I took my picture, got my new license printed, and left. All told, I think I waited less than ten minutes total. I am not sure why things went so much faster (my hometown is close to 50k people and probably serves another 30k because it’s the largest on the island), but it was a good reminder that I really did grow up in paradise.
Lesson #2: There can be too much of a good thing. I really love animals and spent my entire childhood with lots of pets. I’ve always had a dog and during high school and middle school we had around four dogs, six cats, a goat, and a chameleon, and random sheep and chickens that wandered into our yard. So I’m not usually bothered by the hubbub of animals or barking or animal fur. Not usually. My parents recently opened up a boarding kennel, so rather than having a reasonable number of pets (around 10), they had closer to twenty dogs and cats and they’ve started to feed the chickens (meaning there’s a dozen of them hanging around). Too much! I do not need a rooster crowing at the backdoor to my room (about 10 feet from my sleeping head). I have never been so happy to hear barking dogs fade into the distance as I drove to the airport.
Lesson #3: No one knows you like your family. Since coming to Linfield, I’ve made some really close friends. And they know me so well that sometimes I accuse them of witchcraft and mindreading. That said, it was amazing to spend time with my cousin who knows my history, knows me, and knows my family. No one but your family really knows how crazy your family is. I often try to explain how intense my mother is or how ridiculous my cousins are, but it’s so hard to understand if you haven’t lived with them and their stories for years. It was really great to be able to sit by ocean and chat about all the crazy things our aunts and uncles and cousins have done (and continue to do).
So, while many of my friends were stuck in four-hour detours, frozen fog, blizzards, and sleet, I got to spend my break enjoying the sun on the beach or reading a book on the porch when it rained (but was still 75 degrees). It would have been great to have a break a month ago, but this was exactly what I needed and it was a great decision to not take any work back with me. I’m glad to be heading back to campus now and am ready to finish out my penultimate semester strong, but there really is no place like home.