You’ve Got (Snail) Mail!

There’s something about getting mail that makes you feel like you actually exist.

Whether it’s a mailbox or mail stop, you have a physical location on this earth that is assigned to you and no one else. It sounds so simple, so “old timey,” now that most people use email and social networking sites to connect with each other, but there’s just something about reaching into a little box, grasping an envelope, and waiting with baited breath to see who sent it.

This is especially true in college, when every contact we make with our friends and family from home is virtual and on a screen. If you ever wonder why students get so excited to find out they have a package, this is why. It’s something physical and concrete they can hold. if it’s a care package from mom, then mom held it, too. Or if it’s a letter from a friend, then that notebook paper has been on another campus in another state.

Last year I received a surprise package from my friend Alisa (pronounced “Alice”) with a small note attached. I wrote her a page and a half of my excited ramblings and mailed it. A few weeks letter, a four-page letter was in my mail stop. And thus began our written correspondence for the next year.

Side by Side

As you can see, she decorates her letters with doodles.

Doodles

 

And I decorate my envelopes.

To AlisaTo Alisa2

I always look forward to her letters. I’ll rip open the envelope and start reading as I walk home, laughing at all the shenanigans she gets into (she’s in Princeton’s marching band so she has some pretty awesome stories), exclaiming in jealousy at the Lit course she’s in, or feeling lucky I don’t have to take another Comp-Sci class. No matter how long they are, they’re a wonderful read and lift my spirits (even if the topic isn’t “happy” it’s still good to hear from her). And yes, I keep all the letters!

I know, I know, writing letters by hand, who does that anymore?!? Getting me to write a thank-you note is like pulling teeth (I’d rather say thank-you in person) and sometimes I really don’t feel like replying to emails. Maybe it’s because I know I’ll get a relatively quick response, but with snail-mail there’s anywhere from a week to a month waiting time, giving me a chance to experience new things to write about. And come up with new ideas for envelope decoration!

Based off my own iPodPlace your hand here...

No matter how you do it, keeping in touch with friends and family is crucial to your well-being in college. I may not talk to my parents daily, or even weekly, but I still want to know how they’re doing. The same applies to friends. Just as I have friends on campus I see daily (my roommates) or weekly (Ben, Alex, Mary, the list is very long), there are people from back home I still keep in touch with (Stacey, Phoebe, Alisa).

Even though writing a letter can be time consuming, or I don’t always know what I want to say, it’s still worth while. It’s like writing in a journal, but there aren’t more empty pages that stare up at you when you’re done. You know something will be returned.

Kilroy Was Here

Brotherly Love and Christmas Tidings

“I’m going to kidnap your roommate”
“What?”

A few moments later there was a knock on my door and my neighbor/friend came in, picked me up by the legs, and proceeded to carry me to his room.

Ah yes, the joys of having brotherly friends.

Don’t worry, I was going to hang out in his room anyway, so I got him to put me down so I could get my knitting and homework. But honestly? I love having friends who can be totally goofy and are like a second family.

Actually, they’re more like my primary family for nine months out of the year. And that’s truly what gets me through each day, knowing there’s someone who has my back (or legs), and can relate to my experiences. It’s true I have two sisters, but there’s such a large age gap it’s like we’re in two different generations!

So, when I get back from breaks it’s like a little family reunion, everyone hugging each other, visiting our neighbors, and enjoying each others company.

In the case of this Thanksgiving break, our reunion consisted of freaking out over homework, decorating our Christmas tree and the rest of the room, and other prep for the holidays.

I won’t bore you with the first bit of our reunion, except to say that reading a book (for history class) about the Holocaust will make you 100 times more thankful and appreciative of the life you are currently leading.

As for the second bit:

I have now experienced the joy of a Christmas tree in my own place!!!

You know when people move into their first apartment and have to buy their own furniture, or celebrate their first (fill-in-the-blank) in their new “place” and it’s a really big deal? Big in terms of life steps and making your own way in the world. Well, that’s why I’m so excited about having a Christmas tree in my apartment.

Setting up the tree

Always the dramatic one...

Last year my roommates and I hung things up and baked sugar cookies we then decorated, but we didn’t have a tree.

The Christmas tree at my house is always one of my favorite childhood memories. We would get a real tree, strap it onto the roof of the car, I’d help my dad bring it into the house, set it up, and laugh at the cats’ reactions to its sudden appearance in our living room. We’d spend one night decorating it, filling it with ornaments passed down through the generations, pictures of family members young and old, ornaments made in kindergarten with bow-tie pasta and glitter paint. The whole house would smell like pine; it was wonderful. On Christmas morning candy canes and small presents would be hidden amongst the branches.

The tree in my apartment is significantly smaller and therefore can’t be host to as many surprises, but it still adds Christmas cheer to the room.

Fin!Close up

As my roommates and I decorated, we listened and sang along to Christmas music, everything from Jason Mraz’s “Winter Wonderland” to Bing Crosby’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve also discovered the wonders of Pandora’s Folk Christmas playlist (my favorite artists so far: John Fahey and Windham Hill).

We’ve also been modifying the posters in our room; there will soon be a sleigh and reindeer traversing the Starry Night.

500 Days of ChristmasSheldon

I’m sure we’ll decorate more before we go home for the holidays, and I know I have to put some time into knitting Christmas presents for my roommates! I think I’ll be spending more time with my brotherly neighbors to work on that.

I want the presents to be a surprise!