Finally. After 4 months of not seeing my family, I will soon be home again. In one week I will be on a plane on my way back to Germany and I can’t even put in words how excited I am. I came to the boarding school in the U.S when I was 15. Now, this is my third year going here but every year I don’t see my family for 4 months at a time. I always fly home over Christmas break and the first feeling of stepping out of the airport in Germany is so refreshing. The cold air, the snow, and there they are. My mother, my brother, and our dog. Every year, it is the greatest feeling there is. We drive home and I see our house shining bright with Christmas lights. I open the door and I am greeted by a huge Christmas tree in the living room.
The feeling of finally being home is not comparable to anything else. I step into our garden and play in the snow with our dog. We run around and I go to the lake to see if it has frozen yet. We live close to beautiful mountains, so everyday I walk up with our dog and just sit and watch the beautiful view while it starts snowing. The next day I meet up with my best friend and we go to the famous German Christmas markets in our city. Hot chocolate, waffles, crepe, everything you could imagine for Christmas is right there. All the little shop huts are decorated with lights and snow on top of them. Christmas in Germany is incredibly special to me, and not comparable to anything else.
Like most people, I’ve received several vases of flowers for several occasions. I watch them blossom and wilt as the joy from the event fades, or I regain my health from an illness.
When I am sick, the decision to throw the flowers away is symbolic of moving on. I have recovered, and the flowers have given me their beauty and life when I was physically weak. After I regain my strength, I can appreciate the era of the beautiful flowers, then feed them to my tortoise to let him have the last of the gift.
It can feel sad watching them wilt, but when I put it into perspective, they have served their purpose and it is time for me to move on. They brought me happiness when I needed it, and with each day they grew weaker, I grew stronger.
Tossing out flowers from events can seem more sad, because it was a good moment, and the wilting of the flowers symbolizes the moment’s transition from an experience to a memory. Once the vase is empty, however, it leaves room for new opportunities. Another great experience will come, and the vase will be filled once again.
Going back 10 years ago, a 6-year-old blonde-haired girl went into the rabbit shelter in Santa Barbara (that to this day does not exist) with a determination. As she comes into the outside rabbit room, she laid her eyes on hundreds of bunnies. She walked around the shelter saw some cute ones, but not staying more than a few seconds to thoroughly examine the rabbits until she comes upon an odd pair, two brothers one bright white with blazing red eyes and the other another jet grey. She immediately sat down as began to play with the bunnies. His mother seemed shocked because these two bunnies were not particularly young and not particularly friendly. Not more than half an hour later the little girl left with her new bunnies, chewy and sweetheart. Sweetheart, the white rabbit got his name from immediately coming up to the girl and resting his small head on her equally small foot. While the grey one simultaneously chomping on a carrot, moving his mouth in a circular motion made the child burst into laughter. As the girl began to grow, so did the bunnies. Stages of their life passed by quickly. Skipping ahead two years. The girl left her house with one of the Dork Diaries in hand and walked out to the back yard where the hutch sat. She climbed through the bunny door and sat in the wood and chicken wire cage. The bunnies would hop over to her, lay down, and not move until she got up to leave. Every day, she would read aloud to her bunnies, all the way until she graduated the fifth grade. Going into middle school the bunnies became a second priority, but she still fed them twice a day and would do monthly spa days for the rabbits, which they thoroughly enjoyed, until that next summer came and the white bunny that had glowing red eyes died. She held him in her arms for the last time before her dad took him to the bunny clinic. He had bladder stones. That night the not-so-little girl, her mom, and brother sank onto the living room carpet embracing one another in each other’s sadness. The girl had never truly lost anything to that extent before. But life went on. The girl in the fifth grade, about a year before sweetheart died, had gotten two more bunnies. Chewy lost his bother that day, and at 7 years old decided to keep living. As middle-school continued, the girl grew more distant from the bunnies, she became more interested in drama and “life”. She still took comfort in them and would visit them when she wanted to take comfort in something so innocent and that depended on her. Although she loved all of her animals, she would always hold chewy longer and give him extra carrots. She loved the way he would eat them. Although it did not make her burst into uncontrollable laughter, she smirked and watched until he finished chewing. In eighth grade she lost one of the bunnies and she buried him in her yard. She spent the rest of that day with chewy and the other bunny. Chewy looked happy as ever. His jet grey coat was sprinkled with white. His eyelids dropped slightly but his eyes sparkled the same that they did nine years ago when she got him. Now, skipping ahead to the present day. At 10:13 on November 22d, 2020. The girl’s mom comes in and says that something is wrong with chewy. Immediately the girl, who has turned into a young woman, begins to sob. Running outside she sees chewy laying on his side. Shaking. His head hung low as he tries to stand. She picks up chewy as he lays on his side. Turning him over she sees that he has an infection. Putting him down gently and stroking him in hopes to provide comfort to him as he had done for her. Her mom and her get into the car with Chewy. They decided that the best thing to do is to end his suffering. Knowing that a piece of your childhood is dying is something hard to face. Arriving at the 24-hour clinic, she carries the box to the front door. Her mom fills out paperwork as she sinks into a patio chair looking at Chewy. As a man approaches the door to the clinic, she opens the box and gently strokes chewy’s back and says goodbye for the last time. Standing up. Not being able to stop the tears, she hands the box to the doctor. And at 10:55 pm, Chewy and the girl are separated forever. Turning to her mom embracing each other like they had done so many years before with Sweetheart, they drive home. Sinking into a coma of emptiness, the girl thanks Chewy and wishing him the best where ever he may be going. She hopes that he finds peace and that he is relieved of all pain that he felt.
Thank you Chewy for all that you have done for me. You will be remembered and loved forever.
Students are going on break soon to celebrate a holiday with their friends and family. This holiday is fun for people of all ages with football, the Macy’s Parade (which is going to be virtual this year), the National Dog Show, and lots of food.
There is normally turkey, but if you do not eat meat or turkey you can always substitute it. Mash potatoes and gravy is a necessity at every thanksgiving table. My personal favorite is stuffing.
My family and I play lots of card games and spend time together. We used to eat Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but due to COVID it will just be our family which is perfectly fine.
I can not wait to go home and celebrate this joyous time with my family. We gather around the table and say what we’re thankful for and what we hope to do for the rest of our year.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I can not wait to celebrate it.
The Halloween experience acts as a measurement of growth as it changes after every birthday. I watch each Halloween become less and less magical as my costumes have faded to my everyday clothes. Halloween is, as they say, “what you make it,” because unlike holidays like Christmas where there is no escaping the holiday spirit, Halloween is the easiest time to take a knee.
Spending time with friends and family passing out candy or trick or treating this year has been discouraged due to COVID. I’m not too disappointed, as I haven’t done much in recent years either, though I celebrated with a glass of apple cider and a little pumpkin to keep up the spirit.
I look forward to the day when I can spend the evening with my friends again, and maybe put together a costume with some magically newfound makeup skills. For now, however, I am content with this year’s Halloween because I know that there are many more to come.
Some things really do get better as they age, and the little old house that sits at the top of a hill is the perfect example.
This little house is strong and mighty, and it has seen its fair share of heartbreaks, makeups, first moments, last goodbyes, tears, smiles, storms, fires, spring rain, and much more.
It sits atop a hill, with a view of the mountains surrounding and a window through the trees to look down into the valley surrounding below it. This little house has aged, but it has a story to tell.
The house has sat atop the same hill for over seventy years, watching multiple families grow, being a safe place for kids to run to after the rain starts, a place that is not just a house, but a home.
Even though the white picket fence with the red fence is tipping over with chipped paint, the porch does not keep the rain out, the wood floors inside are warped and worn, the ceiling leaks, and the doors do not keep the winter chill out, it has aged beautifully.
Although those little details seem off-putting to most, to me they make that little ageing house a home.
It’s exciting, yet I feel like I am losing the security of youth. This is my last chance to live guilt-free as a dependent before I look upon myself as an adult who must do adult things.
I will be held accountable and have obligations (more so than I already do.)
I can vote.
I can go to prison.
I can adopt a cat.
I will now be one of the “grown-ups” I never thought I’d be. I will still be seen as a “kid,” though the number to my name proves my maturity when people find it convenient. I’m old enough for financial shame. Adults will look at me as a young teenager in the hierarchy of age, yet call me an adult when I make a mistake. I’ll have been alive for eighteen years. I’ll no longer be grouped with the “children” at family Christmas parties.
But I’m still in high school. I’m living at home. The title of “adult” on government documents makes no difference to my level of maturity. I will be a true functioning adult when I move away to college. I will soon become independent, but for now, I am happy where I am – finishing high school with my supportive family.
She appeared behind my house with her sister and her mother. She was the first to pop her head above the brick wall with her wide eyes looking curiously around the yard. She and her sister were beautiful. Her sister had solid white paws and defined face markings. My family and I planned on keeping her, but we had no room to keep the wide-eyed black and white kitten.
When we brought them inside, the white-pawed kitten, now named Penny, became the more confident of the two. They played together for weeks, and while we knew Penny would stay with us, the formerly unnamed black and white kitten quickly became my little baby Blue. She was shy, yet always curious of her surroundings. She turned to her sister for comfort as they kept each other company.
They had grown to be ten weeks old when Blue was ready to find her forever home. I spent the night holding her and watching them toss around toys. The sun rose sooner than I had expected and I found myself putting little Blue into a cat carrier while we said our goodbyes. Penny didn’t notice as we shut the carrier door and left their playroom.
I sat in the back seat of the car with Blue while she pressed herself against the back of the carrier. Her little body was shaking as she looked up at the passing buildings. As we pulled into the parking lot I stuck my fingers through the wired door hoping she would come to be pet. I knew I would never pet her again. I carefully picked up her carrier and handed her to the shelter staff before watching her be carried away.
I told the woman the name I had given her, and within a day my little Blue was up for adoption. I checked the website daily for updates. She looked happy and confident in the photo they posted, and within a week her adoption post had been taken down.
I watch Penny grow and imagine how big Blue must be today. I am confident that the Humane Society sent her home with a good family. I know she won’t remember her first home or her sister, but I think of her every time I look at Penny. She came to us as a scared feral kitten, and I am grateful that my family and I were able to socialize her and make her comfortable with moving into a real home.