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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

Winter Break

Samantha Strub

(2/10) Relaxation time! As exams are completed, the cars speed out of the University's parking lot, as students pack their bags and hightail it home. Everyone is in the Christmas spirit, having help from all the decorations around school. Students are ready and more than willing to go home to their family, friends, and the all-important food.

My drive was looming before me. I dreaded getting into my green Honda Accord for the fourteen-hour drive back to Wisconsin. I didn't like that my break started with a long car ride or that my friends would all be home that night and I would still have another long day on the road. Yet my thoughts were of home as I packed and said goodbye to my friends as if we would never see each other again--even though we'd be back in a month. I loaded my car and said goodbye to my horse one more time. The first part of my journey brought me to my uncle's house in Pittsburgh. As soon as I stepped in the door I was attacked by my five cousins who jumped me and brought me to the ground. Then they played their favorite game-tickle monster! I welcomed this display of affection with open arms. My joy increased when two-year old, Nathan, who normally is very shy, followed his older sisters in this loving attack. This made my day! My winter break was going smoothly already; I was surrounded by people I love.

The long drive continued. All I could think about was seeing my family and friends, eating some amazing food, and making sure I didn't get lost. That's kind of important, because with my ability for directions, that can happen very easily. Then it would take me even longer to get home. Despite how long the ride is, I did make it home and was ecstatic walking into my house which smelled amazing from everything Mom had been cooking that day! I had missed walking into a fragrant kitchen.

It was wonderful to see my family! My Mom was looking forward to my coming home so much that she had spent her day in the kitchen making sure that it smelled wonderfully! She definitely accomplished her goal. The air smelled of cookies, chocolate, peanut butter, and other indescribable things. This was her way of showing me how much she missed me and how she wanted my time at home to be special. When she hugged me, I saw tears in the corner of her eyes. This makes sense, though, because I'm the first to go to college, and she hadn't seen me since September. It was nice to know that I had been missed; I felt loved.

Being on break is a welcome relief. It's very nice for it to be so long because it gives you the opportunity to see all the people back home that you have missed so much! I did the necessary sleepovers with friends, had that all-important family time, worked to get some extra money, and caught up on much-needed sleep! Having to work definitely puts a damper on the rest of my break, but it's a necessary evil. I need money desperately to pay off that wonderful tuition bill, so I put up with the work. I don't let work get in the way of enjoying my break though. I still have had time to do all the things that I wanted to do.

Some great family memories have come from this break. Christmas is always an interesting experience at my house. We have a big family which means a lot of cousins, of which I'm the oldest. That comes as a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I have all these kids looking up to me and wanting to be just like me, and a curse because they follow me everywhere and don't give me a moment's peace. I bear this minor pain because it's such a joy to be a part of their lives, a role model, someone that they look up to and go to for guidance. To some degree, I will shape their opinion of life-what a scary and amazing responsibility!

Once the kids go to bed, though, all bets are off. That's when the oldest cousins and adults break out the cards and play spoons. You better be prepared to play this game because, though it may seem like an innocent card game, we get vicious! You're lucky if you come out without signs of battle. You normally leave the game with multiple marks, scratches, and even bruises! You never know what will happen. We will do some insane things just to get a spoon!

We always play these games late at night which means there are many blonde moments. People say some strange things. We all just look at them thinking, "What? I think they have lost it because that makes no sense." Late nights do that to you though. It's probably part of the reason why my father calls me Marie after his sister. At any part of the day he just can't seem to get our names straight, but it's always worse when we are playing a game or late at night. Strangely, he only does this when the whole family is together. We have no idea why, no one can explain it, except that we look a lot alike. Still, calling your own daughter your sister's name is pretty bad. I don't think we will ever understand his logic.

This year brought new surprises. We don't know what changed in the family, but some people went a little bit crazy. For some reason my parents believed that getting the spoon was the most important thing in the world, because they were running around the table and diving under it to get the spoon! It makes some sense because they would have lost the game if they hadn't gone to this extreme. Still, my parents running around tables and diving under them-what a strange sight to see! Then, we had the wonderful, utter shock on everyone's faces when the chair just suddenly broke out from under my uncle! He wasn't moving around or sitting down on it hard; he's not heavy; the legs just snapped in two! Who would have thought? Everyone just sat there not saying anything for a few minutes. Then laughter burst out from the whole group and continued for the rest of the night. For some reason a chair breaking is the funniest thing in the world. My mother even thought it was funny and that would be something she would normally be spazing over, yet she was laughing along with the rest.

Breaks come with unexpected surprises, that's for sure! Now it's time to again pack those bags and bring back to Maryland all the goodies Moms buy for their kids to bring back to school. Relaxation times are over, and once again it's time to hit the books. So let's get cracking!

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount

Samantha Strub is a Freshman at Mt. St. Mary's majoring in English with a Secondary Education minor. Samantha will be authoring an on-going column sharing her thoughts, achievements, thrills and yes disappointments as she progressed from being a Freshman to Mount graduate.