More than a week ago, the morning after a night of protests that occurred all over New York City, it was the day before Thanksgiving and as I was running errands and packing for New Hampshire, I felt like the city was incredibly tense. It was raining hard and so cold that the rain drops were sharp, like tiny icicles. Like me, everyone was tying up their loose ends, finishing up their shortened work week and preparing to leave for the holiday. The line at Trader Joes was out the door and onto the street, and I kept seeing people carrying bags of fall colored flower arrangements, trying to shield them from the rain.
Later that evening when I was stuck on a bus crawling through the snow on the Massachusetts highway, I began to realize the reason for the intensity I had felt that morning. It wasn’t the impending upstate snowstorm (people here are used to snow, I’m pretty sure I was the only one worried about never making it to New Hampshire) but the impending holiday. More than just worry about turkeys cooking and black Friday lines, the tension was created by the juxtaposition between the busy holiday season and the unrest over the ruling in Ferguson.
I’ve never lived in New York before, so I don’t know what the Holiday season is usually like. I can guess that it is normally pretty intense, because it seems to me like everything in this city is heightened. But maybe this year there is a sharp edge to the normally cheerful season because it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit when there is such visible injustice against the lives of black people in our country.
Last night a protest, today Christmas shopping. My privileges in life allow me to quickly switch from rage over injustice to happiness about a sample sale. It feels so wrong.
My Thanksgiving break in New Hampshire was like a snow covered haven of relaxation, filled with good food, wine, and the dog hair of an incredibly excited lab named Phoebe. Emily and I had Thanksgiving with her Aunt Deb and Uncle Marc and their two adorable girls Olivia (age 8) and Quinn (age 3) at Deb’s friend AJ’s house. Everyone was so welcoming of the two poor college girls who needed food and comfort while away from home on a holiday. (And they devoured the chocolate chip cookies I made–my Gram’s recipe never fails!) It was lovely, and there was a cat named Bunny who helped to calm my separation anxiety from my own fab kitties.
Post Thanksgiving, Aunt Deb and Quinn joined Emily and I on a trip to Micheal’s to pick up essential Christmas decor items. Then, back at Em’s dorm we decked the halls and rocked out to Micheal Buble for pretty much the entire evening. Her dorm room is so much larger than mine it fills me with jealousy just thinking about it.
The University of New Hampshire is such a beautiful campus, especially covered in sparkling snow. It has that college campus-ey feeling that NYU replaces with the weird pigeons in Washington Square Park. The part of New Hampshire that I saw basically consisted of cute towns and farms, which reminded me a lot of home. It smelled really good. (I’ll be honest: everywhere smells good compared to New York).
I was sad to go back to the city, but once I returned, I felt a sense of new determination to end this semester on a strong note instead of feebly crumbling under the pressure of finals and papers. We’ll see how it actually turns out.