A Perfectly Magical Winter Break

I’ve been back in school for a week now, and I’m already hardcore missing winter break. It may have something to do with leaving the mountains, or returning to school work, or the fact that it is way to warm in Raleigh to feel at all like winter. I also had quite a long winter break (over a month!) since I didn’t have any final exams (perks of design school) so getting back into the daily grind and constant work work work has been a bit tricky.

So while I should be writing code, learning about shape grammars, and researching inclusive design, I’ll take a minute to share my winter break with all of you.

My whole goal of winter break was to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Since the full effect of cold winter weather hadn’t fully settled in yet, I found myself on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost once a day. Since both my siblings were still in school and I didn’t have my usual hiking buddies, I spent a lot of time alone which was actually super refreshing. I’m the kind of person who actually enjoys spending time by myself so having afternoons on the trails with only my camera and my thoughts was nice after a long grueling semester.

I’m realizing it now as I look through the pictures that I took over break and realized that I didn’t actually take too many photos. I found myself leaving behind my camera on several occasions and just going off for a drive and stumbling upon a trail to explore. It was a challenge to try to get nice shots on my phone, but I made do with what I had available.

Somewhere in the midst of all this hiking and outdoors stuff I managed to drive over to Nashville, Tennessee. My best friend is currently part of Nashville Ballet’s second company, and was performing in the Nutcracker. I haven’t missed one of his Nutcracker performances since we became friends, so the five hour drive surely wasn’t going to stop me now. Looking through my phone, I realized that I have absolutely no photos of Nashville, which sort of upsets me. Ah, oh well. I’ll just make him dress up like the grandfather when he’s home again and get a photo with him. Peyton, you down with that?

I also went exploring with the fam-bam and we all shared some of our favorite hikes with each other. While I enjoy the solitude of an hour on the trails, its nice to share the scenery with other people and discover new places in the process.

We all have a major love for snow skiing, so we made a ski trip a priority on our winter break list. We met up with an old family friend (not in this photograph) and had a fun filled weekend of snow tubing, decorating Christmas cookies (which we’ve been doing since I can remember), kids vs. parents games of Heads Up, and a day of skiing. It was a perfect day of skiing with 50 degree temperatures and sunny blue skies.

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Probably the most exciting part of winter break was having the company of my aunt, uncle, and Oma for Christmas. They made a last minute trip to North Carolina to spend the holidays with us. It was such a treat to have them here for a few days. It was Oma’s first time to North Carolina in roughly ten years. It was like a true family Christmas.

During the last few days of my winter break, North Carolina got a mini monster of a snow storm. It started on Friday morning and by the time I woke up on Saturday morning we had a good 6 inches on the ground. On Sunday, the snow still hadn’t melted but I packed my car up and got ready to go back to Raleigh. I had just hit the road to go back to school when I got a text informing me that my first day of classes had been cancelled, so I got one extra day of break. It was a nice little surprise to have one last home cooked meal and a few hours more with the parents.

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A Full On Blizzard

Last weekend North Carolina was hit with a mother loader of a snow storm, along with much of the east coast. In response to a forecast of 6-18 inches of snow in the mountains and a pretty solid day of ice for Raleigh, NC State made the decision to cancel school on Friday. In response to that same forecast, and the news of school cancellation, I quickly packed a bag, hopped in my car, and drove home.

There are very few things that I enjoy more than a good heavy snow. It feels like the world is new again. Its like a fresh clean slate. Plus it makes a playground out of the streets and snowflakes are really quite beautiful. Usually in North Carolina our snow consists of maybe an inch, and its a big deal if we get up to two or three inches. Having around a foot of snow caused some crazy apocalyptic scare. The grocery stores looked as though they had been ransacked, and there was no one on the streets (except for the crazy teenage boys who wanted to donuts in parking lots in their jacked up trucks).

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Proof that our local grocery stores were completely ransacked. Image credits to Jaye Robin Brown.

Of course my brother and I took advantage of the emptiness of our town and hit to the streets with sleds in hand. Even our parents joined us and took a turn down the slippery streets. I wish I had some footage of this, but unfortunately I left my GoPro at school and didn’t want to risk damaging my phone. But I have fond memories, and I am kind of glad that I didn’t have to worry about capturing it digitally.

I had a great weekend with my family, and when Sunday rolled around, I didn’t want to go back to school. Also seeing how much snow was still on the roads made me nervous to drive back, but I braved the roads and made it back to Raleigh safely. Raleigh was a little icy, but nothing that a mountain girl can’t handle.

The wonderful thing about North Carolina weather though is that last weekend we were experiencing a blizzard, and this weekend the forecast called for highs of 70º. So I should be wearing t-shirts and shorts next week after freezing my tail end off last weekend. Ahhh, you gotta love it!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and that you are all safe and sound after the storm.

Peace out, enjoy life, and live the adventure.