Going back to Harvard after more than a month of vacation can be bittersweet, and at times a little awkward. Needless to say, walking into Annenberg the first day back at school was quite the dilemma: are you close enough with that girl from LPSA section to give her a hug? Or should you just wave and smile? Are you tired from telling everyone you know that your break was great because you did nothing but sleep? If this sounds like you, don’t worry; Flyby is here to help you out.
Most of your friends are probably going to head back to their schools in the next week or so. And you still have 3 long weeks of winter break left. You’re starting to get...dare I say it? BORED. If this is you, keep on reading because flyby has the solutions for you.
This year, all dreams of a White Christmas seem beyond reach, unless we expect to see the East Coast drop from a balmy 70° down to below freezing in time for Santa’s arrival. In case the Christmas Eve heat wave has got you down, flyby is here with the holiday guide to global warming.
After finals ended, I was ready for a break from Harvard. I packed my bags and boarded a plane back to Georgia, the place that for eight years I had called home. I was ready to celebrate the holidays, spend quality time with family and friends, and catch up on sleep without worrying about looming deadlines for papers, psets, or tests.
What did I do when my hometown got hit with its coldest week in 23 years? I put on a long-sleeve T-shirt. Like any good Angelino, when the temperature dropped to 40, I headed to the airport. It wasn’t an instinctive reaction or an impulsive decision—although that would make for a better story—but after a great deal of planning, 12 hours of travel, and several bad airplane sandwiches, I landed in St. Maarten.
On weekend afternoons in cafes over lattes or weeknights over drinks during the semester, I’d often put lecture notes aside to share my half-joke revelation about how to best savor time at Harvard: books, I declared, would always be here, but the electricity of connection between people around us is only now.
Then the dust got so bad in the winter you had to do the floors every day, twice a day, grime thick on the table, my laptop, our books. I hardly left the boys’ place. Woke with my mouth glued open and my nostrils dry, construction workers banging across the way. Deep in the night (and we all crashed at their apartment in a last study binge, kept jagged hours in the sore-throat tipsy-sunny early December, scrambling to get papers done) the watchmen knocked their staffs against the bone ground calling jaagte raho! jaagte raho!—stay awake!—striding in tandem like the ladies that power-walked together every day down the streets of my New Jersey housing development.
If someone had told twelve-year old me that I would someday voluntarily join a dog sledding trip in January in Maine, I would have put down my cold medicine next to my three inhalers and wheeze-laughed until I cried. If someone had told fifteen-year-old me that I would someday voluntarily wake at 6:30 a.m. to shovel dog shit, I would have rolled over in bed and asked for ten more minutes.
When I tell people I’m from Alaska, I get a variety of responses from “You must get a lot of snow!” to “Doesn’t it get dark there all the time?” to “Do you have penguins?”. I’m not kidding about these. I’ve heard them all, and more. Alaska has such a distinct character that most people feel they’re well acquainted with the “Last Frontier.” Unfortunately, this acquaintance often seems to stem from a regrettable combination of Sarah Palin and TLC.
I’m kind of addicted to sadness. Just the other day I was staring at the Pacific Ocean’s dirty-window sheen, discussing the futility of marriage and ambling down a beach strewn with scrappy shrubs and barely-clothed people. (No matter the weather, no matter the Ugg boots, Southern Californians always seem a little bit naked.)