Cancelled Christmas

My brother is in his fourth and final year of medical school. He only has six months left before he’s officially a doctor! As part of his last year, he is flying to different hospitals all over the country for residency interviews. He was back home late last week for less than three days. He flew back to school early Sunday morning. He has a big exam a few days after Christmas, so he decided not to spend Christmas at home.

This is the first Christmas for which my brother will be away from home. Since my brother’s birthday is around this time as well, my family has always celebrated both Christmas and my brother’s birthday together. Knowing my brother will be away, my mom has been feeling less inclined to host a big Christmas party for my extended family (she gets tired just thinking about it), so she decided to cancel the party (I like to say she cancelled Christmas). Only my sister and my brother-in-law (still sounds weird to say a year after the wedding) will be coming over for a much simpler gathering for immediate family.

I don’t really mind not having a big party (less presents to buy), but not having my brother home will be a strange feeling. It’s a feeling I might have to get used to, though; I don’t think my brother coming home for Christmas will get any easier once he’s a full fledged doctor.

Brief Recap

Wow, it’s been a month since I last posted anything. That’s the longest hiatus I’ve had since I started this blog. I didn’t want to wait this long, but life has a way of becoming busy. A brief recap:

My Thanksgiving weekend was great! I went to my uncle’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up, I used to go to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving every year, but I hadn’t been in nine years because I lived away from home for college and graduate school. The turkey was juicier than I remembered (I always thought turkey was dry), but the stuffing and biscuits were just as amazing as ever. I love stuffing. Besides the food, I also love the idea of Thanksgiving. It’s nice to have a day to reflect on what we often take for granted. We all need a little perspective sometimes.

A few days after Thanksgiving, my sister got married! She was the most beautiful bride ever (though I might be biased). I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but my eyes got a little watery during my sister and her husband’s first dance. It was just too cute. The whole wedding and reception were simply amazing (and I got to take a lot of cake home).

The weeks after Thanksgiving were beyond busy. I had a take home final exam for one of my classes, and I literally spent an entire weekend working on it, only stopping to eat and sleep. My finals were stressful, and every day was more tiring than the previous one, but I prevailed! I ended up getting over 100% in one of my classes (over the entire quarter) and almost 100% in another. All in all, I had an amazing return to school, and I hope it continues next year too.

After classes ended, I immediately had to work on my applications for graduate school. I hate writing essays, and some schools require two of them! I finished almost everything for the applications, but there are still things to be done. I have to set aside some time next week to work on those.

My brother came back from medical school for the holidays about a week ago. Usually when he comes back, I don’t have time to do anything on my own. Most of my week has been spent cleaning the house in preparation for Christmas and watching TV shows on Blu-ray with my brother. He got my addicted to Heroes last year, and now it’s Lost. I’m not complaining about spending time with my brother. I love my brother, but I barely have a spare moment to myself (I only have time now because I woke up a little earlier than him).

And here we are: Christmas Eve. The season (and the year in general) moves very quickly. My family has our huge dinner and family gathering tonight, so I still have lots of cleaning and preparing to do.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Three Days, Three Exams

Last week was probably the most stressful and exhausting week of the school term (and of the year) so far, but it ended up being less scary than I had feared. My midterms were easier than I expected. The GRE was exactly as I remembered it, except that the math section seemed more difficult this time. Interestingly (or perhaps not), my GRE scores this time are almost identical to the scores I received six years ago. Apparently a master’s degree in math doesn’t help on the GRE!

I was ecstatic after finishing my three consecutive days of exams, so I took most of the weekend off from studying. I didn’t do anything particularly special, but I did go to the mall. I haven’t been to the mall in a while, so I was surprised by all the Christmas decorations. I love Christmas! Yay!

Speaking of Christmas (this segue totally makes sense in my head), I haven’t had a drop of Starbucks coffee since I went back to school! All the coffee shops on campus are university owned, and I haven’t had much opportunity or need to find my coffee elsewhere. I always look forward to the red holiday cups from Starbucks (hence the correspondence between Christmas and Starbucks), and I have yet to get one this year! I definitely need to make sure I get my grande peppermint mocha fix soon!

Unfortunately, my three exams in three days were just the beginning. After a deliberately unproductive weekend, I’m faced with piles of things to do this week. Besides my usual schoolwork and two final projects I’m worrying about (there are only about two and a half weeks left in the school term!), I also need to work on my applications for graduate school. I would enumerate what I have to do for the applications, but just thinking about all I have to do makes me feel overwhelmed. The fact that one of my potential referees declined to write a letter doesn’t help.

No worrying about it now. Time to sleep! Another busy day awaits!

Semblance Of Christmas

I feel like it’s been a long time since I updated. I hate having long breaks in between posts.

My brother is back from medical school for the holidays, so he’s been taking up my time when I’m not at work. Not only that, but our family’s annual Christmas gathering is tonight, so my whole family has been frantically trying to clean up all the clutter in the house. My brother is the only really organized person in our family, so clutter tends to build up to unorganizable proportions while he’s away.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Christmas. Since I’m still at work, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas just yet. Thus, during lunch today, I made a point to buy myself a peppermint mocha (in a red holiday cup of course) from Starbucks. There has to be some semblance of Christmas today, otherwise I’ll be sad.

Luckily, I get the next two days off, so I have a nice four day weekend starting tomorrow. It’s going to be so relaxing. Meanwhile, a full day of work today with the Christmas party tonight means I’m going to be really tired by the end of the day. I’ll probably need the four day weekend to recuperate.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Two Weeks Worth

I’ve been debating for a while about getting my work friend a Christmas gift. His birthday is only a few days after Christmas anyway, so I have even more of an excuse to get him something. I kept thinking that giving a gift was probably too forward of me, considering that I’ve only known him for a few weeks, but I decided to go for it anyway.

I bought him a $10 gift card at Cinnabon. He goes to Cinnabon every day to get cheap coffee using his team member discount, so I figured that a gift card there would be thoughtful and useful. I didn’t want to get too big of a gift card, but $10 will still buy two weeks worth of coffee.

I bought the gift card during my lunch break today, but I had to wait a few hours to give it to him so that he was alone (not because I “wanted to be alone with him,” but because I didn’t want other team members to get jealous or something). Not knowing what he would think, I felt pretty nervous before giving it to him. When I finally got the chance, I tried to play it off like it was nothing, quickly saying “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday” and handing him the card.

He was really surprised (in a good way). He thanked me and seemed genuinely appreciative. After I clocked out for the night and went to say bye to him, he thanked me again and said he would buy me a coffee sometime.

Christmas Lounging

Usually when I stay at home all day, I get bored and antsy. But on Christmas, staying at home doing nothing is almost tradition.

Today is my only day off this week (my forty hour work week is stretched over six days with no overtime). Spending the day lounging and playing video games with my brother was a nice way to rest up after being exhausted for the last couple weeks.

The festivities yesterday, like every Christmas Eve, were extra tiring too. I didn’t end up going to bed until 4am, so the relaxing today was even more welcomed.

I hope everyone’s Christmas was as relaxing as mine. Merry Christmas!

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The Christmas Feeling

The whole time I was at work today, it didn’t feel like Christmas. It felt like just another day at work. Only after I came home after my shift and my relatives came over for the party did Christmas really feel like it was here.

Last year, I gave up my Christmas at home for the first time ever in order to study for an exam. I stayed in Canada during the whole holiday season. As a result, the feeling of Christmas was missing. Sitting alone in my apartment wasn’t very festive.

This year, I was afraid that I had once again inadvertently sacrificed my Christmas by working at Target. I’m certainly more tired today than usual, and most of the Christmas season felt different (I didn’t listen to nearly enough Christmas songs). But at least, in the end, it still feels like Christmas.