Christmas Break 2011 – Rest, Relaxation, and Laughter

Traveling home

After a long semester indeed, I ended up steeling myself for the 16 hour train ride home to Ohio.  The actual amount of travel time was something like 11 hours; due to the lack of a direct line between New Haven and Cleveland, I got to experience a couple of layovers along the way.  All told, Mike’s AMTRAK Hypothesis held true: armed with a Kindle, some snacks, and a scarf for the midday AMTRAK cold, the entire experience, regardless of elapsed time, ended up being absolutely excellent.  Unlike some prior trips (such as my 2007 Thanksgiving experience on Greyhound), this trip home was free of odd folks and/or experiences.  As a matter of fact, I ended up seated next to an elderly Lutheran Swede for nearly the entire trip, and we had an interesting set of discussions about politics, life, and the world in general.

Time with friends

Quite soon after arriving home and sleeping for a while, I embarked upon the requisite break activities – movies, food, board/card and computer games with friends.  I was lucky enough, even this far after our undergraduate education, to still meet up with all of my oldest and best friends, engaging with each in our shared favorite activities – for some, this meant intentionally crappy movie screenings; for many others, this meant a variety of board and card games.  The around-Christmas contingent of games included several rounds of Jason’s game called Killer Bunnies (basically, using a set of bunnies and weapons to battle for the most carrots, one of which is randomly the winning carrot for whomever holds it at the end), and my newly-received copy of Bananagrams (simply put, Scrabble but without the board, requiring a constant shifting of their grid by each player).  These experiences were buttressed by a long set of resting, relaxing, and resting and relaxing.  All told: a deeply-needed, wholly-fulfilling aspect of my break.

Time with family

Finally, one of my favorite parts of going home is time with my folks and my siblings, none of whom I am able to see as much as I would like because of years of school.  I will go ahead and officially declare that 2011 was probably the best Christmas of my life thus far, due to a variety of reasons: mostly, because my siblings and I are all older now and able to have a good time without bickering any which way.  As the photos of Christmas detail (particularly my brother’s excellent Christmas suit, and my dad’s last-minute-arrived package’s “bow”), it was such a great holiday because we were all able to, and interested in laughing and enjoying our shared company as the blessing it really is.  Speaking of Christmas, and referring here to the issue of gifts: as these next couple of posts will indicate, I have discovered (to my utter delight) that both of my current housemates, Ryan and Shawn, are interested in and veterans of some board games in the past.  As such, I grabbed several for Christmas (and you’ll see action shots of them in the next few blog posts).  This spring promises to be a delight.  😀


Finally, a wide variety of photos from my Christmas-time experiences.  Everything from examples of board games I played, to hockey, to Christmas events, to delicious food served!

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