…except there’s no snow. Yet.
It’s “officially” winter here at Bethel, even though technically winter isn’t for another two weeks. Since we’re only here for four more days, though, winter has been these two weeks since Thanksgiving. We went straight from “Why are you playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving?’ to “Hurry up and do all the Christmas stuff because we aren’t here much longer!”
Besides Gala, the Christmas celebrations include Lighting of the Green and various singing opportunities at Chapel and and Mojo’s. Lighting of the Green is a 26-year old Bethel tradition that involves turning off the outside lamps on campus and making a human advent wreath with candles around the Green at the center of campus. It’s a really beautiful event to participate in.
Despite the fact that celebration is in the air, there’s also panic in the air. Finals have set in, and they’re not leaving until Friday. The library is far more popular than it has been all year and so is Mojo’s. Food is everywhere, provided by professors, Student Life and care packages from home or church. We’ll all make it through, but this week will be rough.
Hoo-rah and ga-la are intended to rhyme, in case you were wondering.
With the schedule one week earlier this year, Gala ended up being held on the only Friday night between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. This early schedule meant the people who see Gala as the prom of Bethel and hold it in very high regard were preparing before Thanksgiving. I didn’t exactly have the time or energy to devote to that kind of preparation, so I ended up wearing the same dress as last year and having 4 dates. The 5 of us had a great time not having to deal with usual date stuff.
There’s nothing quite like the community formed during your college years. Our mod is blessed to have an awesome guy’s mod right across the deck. (And no, I’m not just saying that because of the 3 guys from the mod who are in relationships with 3 of our ladies). They are just great guys. For Gala their mod came over to ours to travel en mass to Memorial Hall, talking, laughing, and teasing each other all the way. In the last week we’ve gone to Applebee’s for half-price appetizers, gone to Eric’s house for snacks (his mom provided a feast of snack items), and just plan had fun despite the stress of the last week of classes and finals looming on the horizon.
“Miriam, go put on a dress!” (To the modmate standing in the hallway of the mod singing while everyone else was rushing around getting ready)
“Can someone bobypin my hair?”
“Who has the eye shadow?”
“This necklace or the choker?”
“I’m wearing my long underwear under my dress.”
“I ate so much my dress isn’t falling down anymore!” (After the delicious pork loin with orange dressing)
“Good evening, my Dear Fellow.” (From the occupants of one carriage to the other as they passed each other )
Kicked off last Thursday night with the Tacky Sweater Party, the Christmas season has officially hit Bethel. Hosted by the Student Activities Committee, the party featured a decorate-your-own-cookie bar, eggnog and milk, student-led classic Christmas tunes and a bad sweater contest. I arrived at 9:30 and swiped a couple of cookies before they disappeared, then started snapping pictures of all the kitschy-sweater-wearing students that walked in the door. While students mingled and enjoyed their cookies and drinks, juniors Aaron Rudeen and Renee Reimer entertained with guitar and vocals, complete with interpretative motions. Once, during the line in “Dashing Through the Snow,” that goes “dashing through the snow/on a one-horse open sleigh/o’er the fields we go/laughing all the way/hahahahahahaha…” they started laughing and couldn’t stop! Eventually the entire room was laughing along with them! It was a pretty memorable moment.
My hands felt damp as I smoothed down the brown skirt of my new dress and stepped a foot closer to the stage as another name was read. I looked around the crowded banquet hall and nervously smiled. I heard Bethel College announced and Dorothy’s name called. I’m next, I thought as I took a deep breath and stepped onto the stage, smiling as I accepted my certificate and shook the Kansas commissioner of education’s hand.
This year, Dorothy Voth and I were named Bethel’s two “Teachers of Promise”. Every year each college in Kansas with an accredited teacher education program gets to name two of their pre-service teachers with this distinction. We spent a day in Wichita and had a wonderful time. We attended a workshop for several hours in the morning with the 2011 Teacher of Year Team (this was the 2011 Teacher of the Year as well as the 7 other finalists). They lead an active workshop on the importance of creativity in the classroom with lots of fun and engaging ideas I hope to try out in the spring as I student teach, and someday in my own classroom.
After the meal we all ventured back outside. While in conversation with her father I was summoned by her cousins and uncles to join in a football game. Clad in a business-casual longsleeved polo, my favorite jeans, and the nicest pair of sneakers I owned, I was hoping that this game would be nothing more than “tossing the ol’ pigskin around” or at worst a game of two-hand touch.
A full-scale tackle football game ensued. One that put me on a team with some pretty sizable men, but against my girlfriend, her father, and two brothers. If they didn’t like me, they weren’t going to get a better opportunity than this to prove it.
I volunteered to be quarterback, after no one else on the team seemed to be incredibly enthused about the prospect of doing it themselves.
My rationale was: I won’t get hit as much, thus not ruining my clothes. Wrong. My other rationale was: It’s an opportunity to showcase my athletic prowess in front of the future inlaws. Didn’t matter.
For the second time in the last three years, I was unable to share the Thanksgiving holiday with my family back home in Dallas. That is because of my commitment to playing on the basketball team. A personal choice, no doubt, and one I would never take back. However, with the season lasting 6 months long, missing holidays, having shortened breaks, and not seeing family for extended amounts of time becomes the norm, however crummy.
This year we were allowed two days off from practice. Thanksgiving and the day before. We were to report back on Friday for practice before our game on Saturday. Considering the drive time to get home and back, it was most convenient to stay near campus for the holiday.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the myriad of invites from close (and even not-so-close) friends and acquaintances that were extended for me to join them at their Thanksgiving celebrations. It was truly heart-warming to have such generosity be offered. I had, however, back in September, made plans to attend my girlfriend’s family reunion/Thanksgiving.
Tis the season to be thankful, and I am so thankful for so many things, my family, my friends, my health, my shelter, everything I have is such a blessing. This year has been so great. I have lots of friends who I love and care for, I have an amazing boyfriend who has made this year awesome, a family who is always there for me when I need them, and everything I could possibly need. I feel so blessed.
This time of season is also the season for giving. Not just to others who you care for but also to those who are in need. Not quite sure what we will be doing, but I can’t wait to get involved in some kind of service. I know my family is doing a homeless shelter meal and I know as RA we will be doing something but I am not sure when we ill be doing it. Whatever it is it fills my heart to know I’m helping those in need.
So its a little delayed, but about two weeks ago the basketball team had their first game. We went to play Central Christian in McPherson. The weather wasn’t the greatest, but it didn’t seem worrisome. After the game it was snowing, hard. It was sticking like alot. It was so bad if it would have stayed we would have been seeing a lot more of winter. It was crazy. Well we stopped at a girls house who is on the team for dinner. They live out in the country and we had to park in their gravel/dirt drive way. I am sure you can see where this is possibly going.