Concord offered a ‘staycation’ over Christmas for those boarders who weren’t able to return home. My mother did not want to expose me to the virus by taking flights and going to airports, so I remained in campus for the entire month.

It was quite a lonely time for me. All of my closest friends had returned to their home country, but I remained in Concord instead. Time differences did not allow us to call often, leaving me alone without family or friends with me. I had found some people I could be with, but it simply just wasn’t the same. Every time I went out, it would be bleak and gloomy, with barely any sunshine or light. I would jog in the windy night in hopes of escaping the biting frost, and feeling chills inside me, I thought:

“What a cold, silent, and horrible night this is. I wish it was over already.”

Concord tried to provide a fun time for the students with the Christmas dinner, formals, and many small activities every day. They were small fleeting moments of happiness which were quickly washed away by the weather. Everything became mundane and boring, and eventually I stopped going for those too. But one night, I had a sudden urge to go outside for once, and just walk around and maybe sit somewhere with some food. Perhaps I just wanted a breather from the cramped stuffy atmosphere of my room. I went out and as usual, it was a dark foggy night with only a single lamp to light the area around it. Holding the hot chocolate in one hand, and a cookie in the other, I stood alone as snowflakes descended around me, forming a blanket of white fluff on the ground. One landed on my nose and promptly melted as my breath formed mists, and I looked up into the night sky. The Christmas lights were twinkling, and the sound of leaves rustled in the wind. I stood there, tasting sweet chocolate in my mouth, and feeling really warm inside, I thought:

“What a cold, silent, but beautiful night this is. I wish this would last forever.’ 

The snowflakes that fell all around me have turned into cherry blossoms petals. The grounds that were once covered in white sheets and littered with pinecones, were now covered with beautiful, sprouting flowers and colours. The campus was now bustling, chattering found everywhere and buildings filled with people. I sat on the same table as my friends, laughing as they recalled their stories of their adventures while they were home. Everything was back to normal, and I was happy.

But sometimes I do think back into the peaceful nights I had as I trudge down the path through the snowfield, with the soft Christmas lights and glowing snow. The monochromatic lights had a certain charm to them, which, within me, brought an enchantment of deep relaxation. And to be honest, I was glad to have these small moments of respite. I could just wander around, without the looming fear of Saturday tests or prep work for classes. All of this made me realise – the warmth I was looking so hard for shouldn’t be something external. I had to be happy and let the warmth come from within myself. Fleece jackets and wool blankets will never work if one did not produce the body heat themselves. So, I decided to accept and enjoy the present, and be happy with what the world has to offer.

To appreciate what I have no matter what – It was a difficult thing for me but yet something I needed. For now, I will be enjoying the springtime and the cool weather (for all those with allergies – sucks for you!), and will look forward with a smile on my face and hope for what comes.

Andrea – 6.1