Before we get too far into the semester, let’s take a moment to talk about winter break. I don’t know about you, but I REALLY needed the time off. As I’ve mentioned here before, last semester was the hardest I’ve ever experienced. I felt burnt out by September, considered dropping a class or two, felt intensely suicidal, had to have my parents come visit so they could check in on me… et cetera.
And yet somehow, I made the dean’s list. Go figure.
Anyway, I tried my hardest to make the most of break. I relaxed, enjoyed time with family + friends, attempted to be productive, and planned for the new year ahead while wrapping up the old one.
More specifically, here is how I spent my time:
1. Watched The Last Jedi
My brother and I spent a really enjoyable evening in the middle of December eating dinner out, buying some Christmas presents for our parents, and then going to see the latest Star Wars movie! It wasn’t my favorite of the series, but overall I liked it!
You can read my review of the movie here.
This has been my dream since I was about twelve years old. After reading Blue Balliett’s The Wright 3, I’ve always wanted to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous, unusual, and beautifully designed home for myself. My family drove up to Chicago one weekend to visit the house – and just in time, too, since much of it will apparently be closed off for renovations throughout the next two (!) years.
Definitely one of my best days in a while.
3. Watched Carol + met my friend Clarissa in person for the first time
I’ve seen Carol so many times I’ve lost count, but I always enjoy showing it to someone new! My friend Clarissa and I have known each other for more than three years now, but had never hung out in person until now: Although our hometowns are just minutes away, we attend schools in different states and so there was never a good time to meet up. Hoping we’ll have a chance to spend more time together this summer!
4. Celebrated Jólabókaflóð with my mom
Also known as the “Yule book flood,” this tradition comes from Iceland and involves giving your loved ones books on Christmas Eve + consuming prodigious amounts of chocolate! Since we’re cheap, we both borrowed books from the library, rather than buying them.
My mom gave me the Carson McCullers novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, while I gave her Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe. For the chocolate element of the event, my mom made me hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and I made her peanut butter hot chocolate.
I met my Goodreads challenge goal of reading one hundred books in 2017! I then promptly started in on my 2018 goal of reading, you guessed, one hundred again. I’m trying my best to make 2018 a better reading year than the past three have been, since I feel I really lost my spunk after 2014 and have struggled to get it back ever since. Since I’ve already read X books so far, I’d have to say I’m doing a pretty good job!
6. Wrote, like, a shit ton
It’s SO satisfying to concentrate on one’s own writing projects after months of prioritizing school assignments! I wrote some fiction and journaled as well (see below), but mostly I focused on scheduling enough blog posts to get me through this semester. (Like 60+! Whew!)
Apart from monthly class updates, reviews of movies that haven’t yet been released, and posts related to National Poetry Month in April, everything is good to go. I love love love blogging but these days, as I draw ever closer to the end of my college career, I just don’t have the time to sit down and write a new post every few days!
Me, actually using the vast assortment of notebooks I own? It’s more likely than you might think. One of my resolutions was to start journaling, so thus far I’ve started a mental health/self care journal (compete with a year-long mood tracker!) as well as a quote journal, a list journal, and a dream journal. Go me!
8. Baked + cooked
I’m proudest of the peppermint bark my mother and I made! We did two versions – white chocolate and dark chocolate. Turned out beautifully!
Other than that, I made some classics such as pancakes and pizza, as well as some cookie recipes I hadn’t made in years… chewy date cookies and sour cream chocolate chip cookies! (I know the latter sounds a little weird, but it actually doesn’t taste any different from your standard chocolate chip. The sour cream just makes the cookies really soft, that’s all.)
I stg that no matter where I am – Iowa City or home – it’s cloudy during all the most spectacular astronomical events! (I’m still salty about August’s underwhelming solar eclipse, if you can’t tell.) Luckily, we were able to see the supermoon on the first day of 2018! What a large and beautiful glowy lesbian, shining so brightly for her bi gf the sun…
10. Gave homemade presents to my friends
In particular, I had fun creating little coupons for my roommate: They said things like “good for one movie night (must schedule in advance)” and “good for one mug cake” and “good for some advice (may be of dubious quality).” I’m more about experiences than things, so I look forward to spending time with her this spring…
11. Enjoyed the cozy little comforts in life
Example A: The dinosaur footie pajamas my roommate gave me for Christmas, which are SUPER DUPER SOFT and adorable. Thanks, Jessi!
Example B: My parents helped me string clear Christmas lights above and around my bedroom window. They’re so beautiful + hygge that I’m gonna leave them up year round and turn them on when I’m home on breaks!
All in all, this was probably the best winter break I’ve had in a long time – or maybe even ever. Last semester was certainly one I needed to recover from, so I spent the past month or so taking things easy and practicing self care while still setting reasonable goals so that by the end of it all, I’d feel like I had at least accomplished something.
This holiday season, my family changed things up a bit. We started some new traditions, such as Jólabókaflóð, and moved away from others. For instance, we gave away some Christmas decorations we no longer want and spent Christmas Eve at home because my aunt and uncle, who usually host that day, weren’t at home this year. We also decided to not make certain holiday recipes because the more we talked about it, the more we realized no one actually liked them! We’d made them for so many years on end out of the feeling that “this is how we’ve always done it.”
I focused intently on my New Year’s resolutions of reading more, starting to journal, and increasing the amount of time I spent outside. (Well… as much as I could, considering the subzero temps on some days. Thanks, polar vortex + bomb cyclone!)
I made an effort to work on each resolution at least a wee bit each and every day. Some days were more successful than others, but I was determined to chip away at each task and, in doing so, hopefully make them into habits! Considering how early in the year it still is, I’ve worked harder at these goals than I have on any other resolutions I made in the past.
How did you spend your winter break?