Saturday, December 29, 2007

Winter Solstice

I went back to Missouri for Christmas, and was there for the beginning of winter. In fact, it snowed a bit during my second day in Carl Junction.

Less than 24 hours after arriving in Missouri, I left for Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers, Arkansas with some friends to visit an old bookstore, eat one of the best burgers of my life, and ice skate for free. (I love road trips with friends. Or without. I just like driving places.)

AND I got to hang out with Luis, one of my best friends from Chile, who recently married Katie, a classmate of mine from Ozark. It was sweet to see them together, since I knew both of them even before they met each other.

On our way back to Missouri, we drove through Rogers, AR, and looked at a new impressive church building, which had 3 amazingly huge crosses at the edge of a pond, in which they baptize people. (The white spot at the bottom, in between the crosses, is where my friends were standing.) I’m especially proud of these pictures, although the lighting was weird to work with.

I also met my brother’s puppy, Doug the Pug. He is pretty cute, but I think he truly believes that he’s a human.

I’m more poor than I have been in past years, so I made a lot of my gifts this year. Here Matt and Ashley (my brother and his wife) are displaying the matching hat & scarf sets I made for them. And then my brother seemed to think that the purse I made her was actually a hat. (I must add that I do like my sister-in-law. She's fun.)

Christmas Eve Day, my dad’s family came over, and so I got to see my two favorite cousins. We were only able to talk for about 2 hours, but it was really good to see Michael and Maria. Maria invited me to come live with her in Tulsa, and the truth is, that sounds like a lot of fun. She and I are simply silly around each other, and really enjoy one another’s company. Plus, I really like Tulsa. So who knows what my future holds.

Did you know that mistletoe was the Oklahoma state flower until 2004? And that it is actually a parasite? I found out when we visited Mom’s family. We went on a walk after lunch on Christmas Day, and I found some in the wild.

I also got to have coffee with one of my best friends in the world, Ceri. She had just gotten back (as in, an hour before hanging out with me) from visiting her family in Ohio with her husband, Jason. She was exhausted from having been in the car for 12 hours, so it took us a while to get a good picture—13 tries, to be exact. This was the best one.

My brother is one of my most favorite people in the world. Even though he's quiet, he's hilarious! As you can probably tell from the pictures, he is adopted, but has been with us since he was 5 months old. Once, when we had company for dinner, my sister referred to him as "the one we do not speak of." He totally got a kick out of going along with it, to the horror of our guests.

So I take advantage of any moment I might get to spend with Matt. He tried to teach me to play Halo3 the night before I left, which was really sweet, because I’m not very good at video games. He hung back part of the time to protect me when others (namely Cory, Paddy and Liam) were hunting me down. I only got one kill all night, but it was supremely satisfying, as it was Cory, and he didn’t even realize I was the one who killed him. (And by the way, Cory, you can keep the Switchfoot pick. I won’t be needing it.)

As I flew back on the small Express Jet aircraft, we were moving into the west at sundown, which means that the sunset lasted about 4 hours. Pretty impressive, actually, as the sun and sky took on all the normal hues, but didn’t fade immediately. What beauty!

And now I’m glad to be back. I’ve never been really close to my extended family (since I grew up on another continent), but it was a good trip. It is simply hard to go back home. As Jon Foreman put so well, I'm not so sure that home is a place you can still get to by train. Or by airplane.

And as he also wrote, every lament is a love song. But that is a story for a different audience.


nathan118 said...

Sounds like you had a very merry christmas. You've got a great looking group of family and friends out there in the mid-west. Thanks for all the pictures. :)

Milky said...

Woohoo!! Awesome post Sarah! Halo 3 all the way!

Ceridwen said...

Thank you for not posting all 13. I'm still bitter that my best is worse than your worst.