Friday, December 26, 2008

Hanukah, Christmas and stuff in between

Since Hanukah came first, I’m going to talk about that. The Root residence hosted us C’ville orphans, as we’re now called, one evening to witness the lighting of the first candle of Hanukah. Being totally ignorant of all things Jewish (except the phrase about sounding like Hebrew), this was a fantastically enlightening evening. The Roots and the Katz (another Israeli family from the second year) recited the story of Hanukah and sang the traditional prayer, even translating it for us. Of course, there was delicious finger food and wine. That was also the first time I sampled Oren’s brilliant Turkish coffee and the guy, bless him, had stoked up the fireplace as well. I headed out “early” (in Darden, early is just before midnight) while some folks stayed behind to watch a movie.

Well, the Charlottesville orphans had so much fun on Hanukah that the Roots decided to host us again, this time for a potluck Christmas dinner. I will spare you the menu, but will tell you that it was delicious and had some fantastic Indian chicken and vegetables and Mrs. Root's finger licking stuffed chicken along with a variety of rice. Great conversation, some pictures and a lot of laughs later we decided to watch a movie of course! This one ended late, not too late though, and only after a round of Oren’s Turkish Coffee!

In between all this, there was a lot of Starbucks coffee trips, drives in the night on the foggy Blue Ridge Mountain highway, shopping trips, movies, long conversations over phone and chat and some spring cleaning.

This whole experience got me thinking about how closeted my vacations were in India. Of course I know all about the Christmas dinner and the joy and cheer, but for me it was always just a holiday! But being here, sharing the festive occasions with other people that I didn’t know from Adams even 6 months back was a fantastic experience. It is to experience this stuff that I decided to uproot from the place I called home for twenty six years, to travel half way across the world and come to Darden. With each passing day, I feel like I am learning so much both inside and outside of school.

It’s strange that as I’m building relationships on the one hand, I am severing some. For the first time in this country, I’m going to move out of a shared residence and get my own place. I know it’s no big deal and a bunch of people choose to do it anyway, but somehow this feels different. There is this exhilarating feeling of independence but there is also a niggling fear of getting cut off from all things familiar. I suppose it’s a natural reaction to change.

There is one regret though – I didn’t get to eat chocolate cake. One of my greatest weaknesses is chocolate cake – all chocolate with nothing white in it! And the one place I did find it, they refused to cut me a piece since they were going to be closed for Christmas and therefore wanted to be able to sell the whole cake. So much for a craving!

So what's it going to be for New Year's eve? I figure a good way to cap off this excitingly unexpected adventure of a year is to watch the ball drop at Times Square... Am I adventurous enough to make a trip to the Big Apple next week? Let's see...

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