Unlike many Kenyon first-year students who returned home to partake in traditional Bacchanalian festivities with their high school friends, I did not. I have the misfortune of having friends with the bad judgment to pursue higher education in Canada or to get stuck in a Costco in rural Wisconsin for three hours while we’re supposed to be getting sushi (How does that even happen, Aparna?). And though I had a pleasant time going to all of the grocery stores in town to try to acquire Twinkies (we failed) and nearly getting hip-checked over a jacket at the mall on Black Friday (I was bigger than her) with my various other friends, I have to say that the most memorable moments of my break happened with my beloved and slightly insane family.
When I got off a particularly traumatic flight from Columbus to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I expected love and affection, hugs and happiness, but what I got was my dad taking one look at the hat and coat I acquired at school and saying, “I thought we sent you to Ohio, not the Yukon Territory. Been prospecting much?”
Much like other Thrill bloggers, I had to overcome my utopian expectations and accept that my family is just as weird as I left them. My dad can sing along with the My Fair Lady soundtrack (Ed.: My dad knows all the punchlines in every Golden Girls episode. I feel you, sister.). My mom can explain in-depth how smelting equipment is manufactured. And weirdest of all, my sister still does things like coming into my room at 10:00 p.m., frantic because she needs an 1800s-style pamphlet on vampire slaying for the LARP she’s writing and thinks I’m just the girl to do it, since I go to the writer college and work for a mildly popular blog.
With so much immediate change in my life, it was a shock to realize that things were largely the same at home. Sure, the narcotics-dealing pizza place by my house finally went out business once and for all, but the people, places, car and stuffed animals remained the same.
And after the initial shock, I realized how important it is that there was stability in my life. I could count on my dad to humor all of my insane away-from-Peirce food requests. When watching Skyfall, my sister and I looked at each other at the exact same moment with the exact same thought. My mom even drove me an hour to go see a two-and-a-half-hour-long movie about love affairs in imperial Russia, and didn’t bat an eye when I spent the entire ride home fuming about the portrayals of Vronsky and Karenin.
So even if I was thoroughly sick of turkey from Peircegiving and the subsequent leftovers, my favorite breed did not win the Thanksgiving Dog Show and it took the length of two football games for us to teach my grandma how to text, my break was fantastic.
My family may be a bit crazy, but I’m more than a bit crazy, too. The only difference is that at school, it’s easier to hide. These first few months, you let your crazy fester, not wanting your new friends know that you get a little too passionate when talking about the Founding Fathers or that you cry and whisper along every time you watch The Social Network. Going home was an excellent reminder that, no matter how much you want to pretend that you’re a mature college student, you’re not. And even when you start screaming about how people just don’t understand Alexander Hamilton, your family will always be there to listen.