That’s Dinosaur for ‘You’re Awesome!’

Or, How I Learned to Stop Being a Scrooge and Love Valentine’s Day (and Myself)

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Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol. A grumpy old miser who hates Christmas and all it stands for is visited by three ghosts who show him the light, and come Christmas morning, Ebenezer Scrooge is the most festive gentleman you could ever hope to meet.

I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day, only instead of three ghosts, I got a space ship, some knitting needles, and a very tiny dinosaur.


I have never not been single on Valentine’s Day. The closest I’ve come was in fourth grade, when a boy in my class gave me a valentine that said that my crush—his best friend—loved me. I reacted as any lovesick 10-year-old would: by chasing him around the playground for embarrassing me.

In high school, while I appreciated the opportunity to dress up in festive outfits, I sometimes chose instead to recognize National Ferris Wheel Day or, mostly-jokingly, Singles Awareness Day. By college, I had dropped even that. I had meetings to go to and midterms to study for. Valentine’s Day had no place in my plans. Continue reading →

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Setting Out My Shoes

Just before we went to sleep, my sister and I scurried to the mudroom, found our winter boots, and dusted the dirt off of them. We placed them at the window, overlooking our mess of a backyard, and then went upstairs to bed, impatient for what surprises the morning would bring. It was December 5th, 2005, and Szent Miklós was coming.

Mikulás and Krampusz in an 1865 illustration, via Wikimedia.

Szent Miklós—also known as Mikulás—is Hungary’s version of Saint Nicholas. Though the American “St. Nick” is simply one of Santa Claus’s pseudonyms, the saint persists as a unique figure in many European countries, delivering sweets and small gifts to well-behaved children on the eve of his feast day–in Hungary, by placing the goodies in their neatly-polished boots. He is accompanied by Krampusz (or Krampus, in other countries), a terrifying beast who leaves switches, sticks, or coal in the shoes of naughty children. Continue reading →

Thanksgiving at Hogwarts

A friend of mine once commented that being at Georgetown over Thanksgiving break is a lot like being at Hogwarts over Christmas. Everyone disappears rather suddenly, leaving you to empty halls and the occasional snowflake. For better or worse, you have the place to yourself.

I haven’t gone home for Thanksgiving at any point in my college career. Even discounting the year I was in France, I’ve never been able to justify the day and a half of travel and the $400 it would take to fly back to Oregon, just so that I could spend three or four days with my family. It just has never made sense, especially so close to Christmas.

I’ve noticed that you get a certain reaction when you say you’re not going to be with family for Thanksgiving. A sort of pity, almost, an eyebrow furrow, and oftentimes an invitation to join the pitier for dinner. As if you were a lost kitten in need of shelter and some warm milk. Continue reading →