Erin Virginia

Name:
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Peaceful Storm

It's like a dirty little secret. Co-workers pull you aside in the hallways. Friends surreptitiously check cell phones for updates. Hushed whispers carry around corners. Did you hear? I lean in a little closer. We're going to get a BIG snowstorm. Maybe it's the drama, but I love feeding the panic. Yes, yes, I say, making my eyes wide and raising my eyebrows. We should probably all work from home in our pajamas.

We did get a bit of a walloping, but the landscape is beautiful. The sky in infinitely hushed with fewer cars inching past with snow drifting backwards off roofs. Chris and I bundled up to shovel this morning, which I didn't even mind for this first storm - better today than on Wednesday when we'll be driving to Indiana. Earlier today when Chris suggested we spend some time tonight reading, I pinched him. Who is this guy who has time for fun reading? What about studying?

We are getting excited to drive westward. If I don't post again within the next few days, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Year's End

Chris finished finals after yesterday evening's exam. It has been a peaceful fall for us, but the weight of the semester bears down heavily in December for Chris. He is very excited to have nearly a month before Spring Semester begins.

I don't know why, but it's been hard to get into Christmas this year. I haven't decorated our house for the past couple years - it's just too much work to rearrange furniture if we're not even going to be here for Christmas. I started to put on some Christmas music in the car on my way to work the other day and was promptly cut off twice within five minutes. And like everyone else I get so preoccupied in December with preparing to be away from work, finishing school, shopping, packing, addressing cards, etc., that I am almost startled to encounter moments of real joy.

Last Sunday, our church celebrated baptisms for several older children. As our pastor prepared to pray with each of the kids dressed festively in black velvet dresses, red bows or little boy suits, he invited extended families (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) to come to the front to join the prayer. Something about that moment especially touched me - the fact that so many people can join around a single child and pledge to raise this child in the right light. It was a juxtaposition of this present and future dedication against the traditional message of Christmas and where I should be focusing: the realization of a child's potential.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dusseldorf

These past couple weeks have been a blur. We celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving by making a mini-meal of Cornish game hens and some of the traditional sides. Chris has been holing up at the library every weekend to research and write his final papers and study for finals. He says that each year of law school gets a little bit easier, but I know it's still a massive amount of work. After this semester, he will only have a year-and-a-half left.
This past Monday after returning from the long Thanksgiving weekend, I had to scramble to schedule a last-minute trip to Germany. I flew out Wednesday evening (unfortunately on Chris' birthday but we celebrated the night before) and returned just this afternoon. This entire year my work team and I have been preparing to start a new clinical trial, and the first patient was treated on Friday in Dusseldorf! It was a huge milestone for all of us. I spent a couple hours on Friday afternoon and evening walking around the city. Germany is famous for its Christkindlmarkts, which are outdoor Christmas markets with lots of festive vendors (different kinds of wursts, pretzels, spiced wine, handcraft vendors, etc.). It seemed as though the whole city was celebrating on Friday night, with the streets bright with lights, ribbons and fir branches and people crowded around tables with hot drinks. I felt the first inkling of Christmas spirit for the year.
Konigsalle

Dusseldorf University (I think)

Christkindlmarkt

Eating a Bratwurst for Chris