Wednesday, November 12, 2008

grand illusion

Before I came to college (oh so many, many years ago), I had definite ideas of what it would be like. First, it wouldn't be like high school. People'd actually want to be there and they'd all major geeks like me. Second, pertaining to the first, I'd finally find a place where my geekiness actually helped me fit in. Third, I'd excel in college. Fourth, I'd build a community of people to support me and who I'd support. When Thanksgiving came around, we'd all gather at a professor's home and feel like family.

Okay, so yes, I'm a huge dork. I watched too many movies about private schools or grad programs where people actually were a lot more focused on school, where every aspect of their lives had something to do with school. Those who didn't take school seriously, or who just didn't care, wouldn't be there. I still tend to live in my own little world very often.

I think about these weird expectations every time Thanksgiving rolls around. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings since 1998. Ten years. We don't really do much (well, anything, actually) for Thanksgiving because Cardo works. And, then it's over. It just doesn't feel right to celebrate it on the Friday after (The Day We're Too Bloated To Deal with Work and Besides We Have To Get Up at 4am To Go Shopping at Best Buy*...aka "Family Day"). For a while, it was just me and Cardo and for some of that time, we were both working at the same place, where working Thanksgiving is mandatory. Even now, there're only three of us. There's no way I'm roasting a huge turkey for only us. (Okay, so I'll probably never, ever roast a whole turkey for any reason). This year, we'll probably have turkey breast, sweet potato casserole (because Cardo loves it and won't let me not make it), green beans and bread. Nothing fancy, and we may not do that.

Another problem with celebrating this holiday is that I just start to shut down at this time of the year. It seems like everyone is rushing off to spend time with their families or their families are rushing here to spend time with them. We can't get away and it makes no sense for all of the other people in our families (all million people) to come here (anyhow, a good part of La Familia B is Mexican and, therefore, doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving). It's kind of a defensive move on my part that I just pretend that these upcoming holiday days aren't special, so I let them come and go, paying them little attention. And, every year, Cardo worries about my mental and emotional state because I always become quieter, a little more depressed.

Maybe this year will be different, and we'll have a nice quiet dinner with just the three of us, when Cardo returns from work. Maybe not. I'm already imagining all of the overtime he'll work that day and I'm already beginning to feel frustrated about it. This is how holidays have always been for me and how I expect they always will be.

[I'll try not to post on holidays for the rest of the year. I just started typing and it all just poured out. I hope that the rest of you enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate, as you should. I'll be here with my head in the sand.]

* I really think there is no merit in calling the day after Thanksgiving a holiday. Basically, I think it's a day for us to be lazy without really admitting it. At the same time, I appreciate the day off. I do not, though, participate in the Black Friday events. I'm not that into buying Christmas gifts (or that into Christmas, for that matter) and crabby, pushy swarms of people freak me out.


The Furie Queene said...

You know that idea of college that you described? I think that very idea and the lack of it here is why I was so unhappy last year. I had that community during my master's program. As a matter of fact, while we didn't have Thanksgiving at a prof's house, whoever stayed in town would gather at someone's house for the great big, traditional turkey dinner. There was always about a dozen or so people who went to this dinner. (I never did; I always went home.) We were all just really close.

This year, one of my friends from my last university is driving down with her husband to my family's house for Thanksgiving. And last year, I had about five friends from NAU drive down. So that sense of family/community, does exist at some universities. This one, sadly, lacks that. Or, to me it does, anyway.

I'm sorry you feel down during the holidays. If there is anything I can do to make you feel better, let me know. Even if that involves me making a great big Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner right after the semester is over. :)