When I was but a wee high school student, I did an inordinate amount of handwringing over the decision of which college to attend. Deep down, I knew I needed a change in my life that would not be afforded by going to Northwestern, my top choice school. Northwestern would keep me in the same geographic area, surrounded by many of the same people with whom I had gone to high school. Washington University in St. Louis, which I had only applied to as a back-up school on the advice of my guidance counselor, had the dual advantages of distance, and virtually nobody I knew from high school was going there. I opted for Wash U, but I was terrified. Night after night I would pour my heart out to my parents, fretting that I would be unable to make new friends there, and I would spend the next four years of my life miserable and lonely. They did their best to reassure me, but right up until that first day of school, I was unconvinced.
In the end, I need not have worried. Not only did I make friends, I made amazing friends, with whom I am still close, despite having scattered to different corners of the globe. Although I do not get to see them nearly as much as I might like, I try to see them whenever I have a chance, and luckily for me, Christmas usually affords me the opportunity to visit with my friend, Abel, who returns from Japan every year to be with his family for the holidays. His family happens to live not too far from my grandma's house, where we travel every year for our own Christmas celebration, so Abel and I try to set aside time to catch up.
Every year, it seems hard to believe that so much time has elapsed, but in spite of the time and the distance, we always seem to fall back into an easy rapport. Although I certainly wish I got to see my college pals more often, I am thankful to have such relationships in my life. The chance to reconnect with even just one of them makes my holiday season a little sweeter, and is yet another reason why Christmas is my favorite time of the year.