For Thanksgiving this year, four of us TA's went to Sarah K's home in Muskegon, Michigan, so celebrate the holiday with her family. Benjamin, Cécile, and myself all crammed into the backseat of Sar's sister, Danielle's, Jetta for the 3-hour trip over and had a great time, although we were all exhausted from the long stretch of the semester! The night we arrived, the night before Thanksgiving (Wednesday) we went out to the local bar to celebrate with some of Sar's highschool friends and had a really nice time. Nothing crazy but it was good to get out!Thanksgiving morning we all got up and started helping Sarah's mom, Mary, cook the big meal. There were 9 of us for the dinner in all so it was a good group - not too big, but not too small, either! The food was delicious, and I got to talk to Michael for almost an hour and a half that morning so that is always a plus. It's very strange to not have him here during all of these "firsts" for us...I guess that we'll just have our firsts again next year!In Chicago during the month of December, there is a German Christmas market that is called the "Christkindlmarket" and I actually went twice last week - once with one of my neighbors, Amelia, and once with the Sarah's. The second time, pictured here, it was 20 degrees and there were loads of people there - but we still had a great time!
Last week when I picked my mail up from my box outside, there was a letter from one of my best friends in it saying how thankful she was for my friendship and how much she admired me for what I was doing. She had written it on Thanksgiving Day. Little things like that that come at unexpected times are some of God's best and most beautiful work, I think. That card completely rejuvenated me after a long day during the last week of classes this first semester, and gave me the encouragement that I needed in order to stay going strong for the last couple of days. It's been a great past few weeks, but I've been struggling with feeling like I am not teaching at the same level that I was initially. I think it is due to a number of things, but I know that one of the biggest reasons is that I am just burnt out. Going straight from college into grad school, while I am really glad that I did so, is pretty exhausting and I am certainly feeling that now! Luckily, we only need to be in the office Tuesday evening and Friday afternoon, and I only have one final exam on Thursday afternoon, so I am almost there!
I'll head out for Seattle on Saturday the 12th, where Michael's family will pick me up at the airport for a few days with them until my parents arrive home from my dad's "Southwest" portion of his tour in New Mexico and Texas. I cannot wait to share some moments with both my in-laws and my parents, and look forward to having almost a month of relaxation in the place in the States that I love the most. Also, my best friend Jes is coming up for a few days and New Year's this year, so I am really looking forward to that! I will miss Michael during this time and it will indeed be strange without him, but hopefully his mom and I have sent him enough in our packages to remind him we are here thinking of him and missing him and that he is so loved this Christmas. Next year will be an amazing time and I cannot wait, but we need to live as much in the present as we can, no matter how much we want it to be a year from now!
God bless all of you; I pray that this holiday has started out full of gratitude for both the joyful and challenging moments that have touched you this year. Hallelujah - a Child is born!