Winter sunsets

Winter sunsets are always the brightest.
The days are shorter, the nights are darker.

It’s November,
and even though it’s cold enough to see your breath in the air
we still eat dinner in the backyard.

Photo Credit: Reddit.com User: finnishlad

It’s cold, but who needs a fire in the living room
when there’s already one in the sky?

The sky is burning,
plumes of smoke in pink, purple, orange.
Colors brighter than you knew existed.

They fade into view, like spilled ink slowly spreading across a page.
They stay to entertain the mountains, dancing among the clouds.
They decide it’s time to leave, sinking below the horizon.

Once spectacular, then gone.
But don’t worry; an encore tomorrow.

We watch the clouds burn for as long as they will.

Dad thanks Mother Nature.
Mom says it’s the moments like these when she knows God is real.
I think it’s the moments like these, the simple things,
that make it all okay for a while.

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Warmth of the Cold

I love fall. The sheer aesthetic of sitting by a window with warm glowing string lights, drinking some sort of hot tea, surrounded with the smell of books. The fact that it is finally cold enough to be wearing wool socks and sweatshirts. The feeling of cold air filling your chest from the inside, making your home feel so much warmer.

I have to admit, I miss the cold winters back home in Germany. Right now, it is almost freezing there, the leaves that are turning red-orange, some almost pink-purple, are covering the roads like a warm-colored blanket. The lakes are topped with a paper thin layer of ice in the morning, and windows and cars are frosted the way they would be in movies. Horses’ coats are becoming thick and soft, and cows are being brought from their pastures back into their winter barns.

Credit: view.stern.de

I remember how much I hated the feeling of biking up the hill to my house after school, watching the clouds turn to a darker grey as the sun set behind them, and feeling the warm air in my lungs being replaced by the cold, making my throat hurt by the time I got back home. But I always loved the moment I walked through the door, embraced by my jumping dog and the heated floor, maybe even a fire in the chimney. The best days were the rainy ones. Your house just feels so much cozier when you don’t want to go outside.

 

Credit: moondog.de

I miss that weather. I miss the grey skies and the rain-soaked lawns. I miss the muddy roads and paths going through the forest by my house. I miss collecting chestnuts with my friends and cooking them with their whole family. I miss being freezing cold with numb fingers and an icy nose. I miss how later in the winter the trees would look like they had been covered in powdered sugar, reflecting the grey-purple of the afternoon sky.

I miss my home.

And no matter where I’ll live throughout my life, no matter how many times I’ll move and find new homes, that will always be my first home. My family’s home. My real home.

Christmas Time is Here

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Christmas is here! (kind of)

Once Thanksgiving ended, a Christmas frenzy descended upon us, showering everyone in festive store windows, holiday sales, and, most importantly, Michael Bublé’s Christmas album (although Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is also very important).

The Grove’s Christmas tree has gone up, holiday candy has dominated stores, people are driving through town with green fir trees strapped on the top of their cars, and Disneyland’s Christmas celebration has been in full swing since November 8.

Kids are about to go on break, adults are taking time off work, and family members are hopping on planes, getting in their cars, or hopping in taxis to see their loved ones for the holidays.

After our cruel finals week, holiday break begins, and with that comes holiday movies, candy, parties, and relaxation (hopefully). But, it also gives everyone a chance to recharge, and spend more time with family and friends.

Warm Winters

From my experience, California winters are nothing like actual winters.  With highs of 100 degrees and lows of 70 degrees, this weather resembles summer more than anything other season.

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, and it’s pretty chilly. Around this time of the year I’m usually prepared for cold weather, and lots and lots of rain.

Here, despite the fact that Halloween is right around the corner, I can wear tank tops to school every day. Instead of suiting up in my rain jacket and closed-toed shoes, I find myself wearing shorts and sandals. 

I don’t dislike the weather – it’s really pretty, and let’s be real. I can go to the beach in October! But as far as winter goes, it just doesn’t feel like one.

Photo Credit: http://www.californiatravel.eu

To me, winter means cozying up in sweaters and blankets, and being able to lay inside and listen to the rain. Winter is the cold wind on your face when you step outside, both chilling and refreshing at the same time.

Photo Credit: fcdn.mtbr.com

And while I love the sun and warm weather, I’d like to save it for the summer. It’s just where it fits in! I look forward to cold weather, and the feeling of winter – and that just doesn’t happen in California!

No Chill

Although I knew California was hot, by choosing to go to school here I didn’t think I signed up for a 75 degree November.

Already insanely hot during the summer months, I was looking forward to it cooling down leading up to the holidays. Oh, how wrong I was.

As of right now, the high for this week is 77 degrees. In November! I don’t mind this weather, it’s actually very nice. But, it’s comforting in a spring sense. Not for leading into Thanksgiving!

At home, the high for this week is a warm 50 degrees and raining. Although I’m sure it’s miserable to live in 24/7, it sounds wonderful to spend at least a day in!

Photo Credit: wyckoffcomfort.com

I love shorts as much as the next person, but coming from the cold weather, I look forward to the temperature where it’s appropriate to wear sweaters.

When it’s cold out, mother nature creates a true wintery feeling, which is amazing to spend time in.

For Sake of the Snake (part 1)

It was 9:30 at night, maybe 10:00. I was reading intensely, as I usually do, but was quickly brought out of my concentration by the muffled noises coming from our first floor. I quietly snuck out of my room and sat on the top of the staircase, peering between the hollow metal bars of the railing and wondering why my mom and nanny were fretting in front of our window.

I continued to sneak down, careful to avoid creaky steps, and crawled atop the dog-haired couch to see what was behind the window. The window was the size of the wall, allowing us to see much of what goes on outside, but for the moment, all our interest was focused on a shadowy figure at the rightmost corner of the window.

It was around wintertime, sometime between November and February (wide range, I know), so the heaters of our house were on and the windows were like sheets of ice. There, huddled sadly in the corner, was a large, black snake.

I think that was the first real snake I ever saw in my life.

In my hours within Animal Planet I had watched many shows on snakes, as well as picture books and book mentions. I had always been fascinated by them, so that night, my 10-year-old self was in a shock from seeing that creature.

My nanny grew up on a farm, where snakes are her bane. My mom didn’t like that snake sitting there and “endangering” our family and dogs, so they were wondering the best way to shoo it away. My nanny took a boot and whacked the window with it, which caused the snake to hiss and strike on the window.

I woke up the next morning wondering if it was a dream. To this day I’m still wondering, but either way it doesn’t matter. And now, with my incredible knowledge of snakes, I conclude that the window snake was a black rat snake.

Winter X Games

The Winter X Games have been held in Aspen for the past ten years, and since I can remember my family has made a habit of sitting around the TV and watching them. When we moved to Aspen, this was made a lot easier, and I finally began to understand the excitement.

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The X Games begin on Thursday, and carry on until late Sunday night. Over the weekend, Aspen is packed. Tons of people fly in for the event, and none are disappointed. Especially the students in the Aspen School system.

It used to be a school holiday, and it might as well should be because of the amount of students that actually turn up. When we heard the contract for Aspen had been renewed, it was all anyone could talk about for days. Some of the classes make a field trip of walking over to the base of Buttermilk, where it is held, and watching. At night, you can see the lights, and hear the music, announcers, and roar of the crowd from the other side of town. It’s mayhem, but the locals love it.

When I first came to school here last year, my dad called me and told me the X Games were gonna be in town. I immediately went to my computer to see if there was a way for me to watch them live, but I couldn’t figure it out. I resigned myself to the TV in the girls’ lounge. I pretty much camped out there all weekend, and my classmates thought I was crazy.

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To me though, it was perfectly normal. I mean come on, it’s the Winter X Games. In Aspen.

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