Tag Archive | Christmas

A Christmas Wonderland

Winter Wonderland... in the middle of nowhere

It may be a blizzard ending 2010 with a bang, but it’s a beautiful winter wonderland. I have quite a nice view from my living room window: the swirling white puffs of snow from rooftops, the dark blue skies overhanging the island, crystal icicles glistening, the harsh breeze and endless snowfall from up there. Except, the view is better from indoors than having to weather through snowstorm.

I have a love-hate relationship with snow, well precipitation. I love winter and the holiday season, but I do not like getting stuck in storms and slush. Back in college, I walked to school on the city streets. Bundled up in boots, leggings, and puffy coats, I felt like a stuffed animal. Rain was worse, especially in combination with heavy winds. It was a battle between my umbrella and nature. The city streets were dirty and the stroll to school was freezing. When I was prepared for rain, it never happened. When I least expected rain, I forgot or lost my umbrella. Yeah, just my luck right? Snow, however, was a tad better; it was not like hard precipitation striking you down. Snow was more a soft, light touch, and the sight (and walk) was more pleasant. That is, until the white wonderland at Washington Square and Union Square turned into black slush. Nonetheless, snow comes around less often, so I end up appreciating it more especially during the holiday season. It may be a cold winter, but Christmas time makes me warm and fuzzy on the insides. I love the spirit in Manhattan, walking down the middle of shopping districts and seeing extravagant window displays and fashion. Now I’m back in suburban Long Island, I smile at ornate home decorations- Santa Claus riding his reindeers on rooftops, gingerbread men (and women) hanging out, giant snowglobes and little elves frolicking on lawns, and sweet candies flavoring simple homes. Gifts, chocolates, cards, holiday music and movies- all in one festive season; you do not get so much happiness on Independence Day or Easter.

This holiday, I’m glad to be at home. I think it’s terrible that most of my time spent during my past 5 Decembers have been in libraries, freaking over final exams. Yes, final exams up until the day before Christmas Eve, ever since I was a fresh pre-med in college. And clearly, that hasn’t ended in medical school. Anyway, I’m back at home for over a week, before school starts again. For Christmas, my family went out to Best Buffet in Huntington. It was a special day and so much to eat: lobster, filet mignon, Peking duck, sushi & sashimi, seafood & soup, Chinese food, creme-brulee, grass jelly, hot apricot-tapioca soup, yummy desserts etc… a lot of pure Asian heaven.  I was knocked out for the rest of the day.


Home Alone

It’s Thanksgiving recess at school. I spent a few days at home, came back to Stony Brook for some Black Friday shopping at Tanger’s Mall and studying, and here I am, ‘alone’ at my other home. Well, I’m not completely alone, but it is eerie to be in such quietude. Just now, I heard the jingle of the door decoration, like someone was at the door. A car just pulled up near the house again. When I was brushing my hair at the mirror, I heard the door jingle again, and I was easily startled; I half-turned around, expecting Freddie Kruger with his ulnar claws or a Chucky doll holding my pitiful paring knife. My childhood imagination and nightmares still stick with me unfortunately.

I’m watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on ABC Family. I love holiday movies like these, because I grew up embracing the holiday spirit- gifts, shopping, music, movies and winter break. Macaulay Culkin (who plays Kevin) is adorable and witty little pipsqueak in this movie. He still ends up separated from his family. This time, he’s not exactly ‘home alone;’ he makes it as far as the airport. His family is running late, and in their frenzy and marathon race to the gate, Kevin falls behind and mistakenly follows another running man who’s wearing the same coat as his father. Instead of heading to tropical paradise, he’s off to New York.

One of my favorite scenes: When he plays a mafia movie to escape the hotel administrators. Kevin plays the mafia guy’s sexy voice and the hotel gang responds foolishly….

So mafia man says, “Get down on your knees and tell me you love me.”

Creepy concierge, “I LOVE YOU” (ear-to-ear smile)…

Mafia man, “You gotta do better than that”

Hotel gang (Chorus): “I LOVE YOU”
Mafia man, “I’m going to give you the count of 3… to get your lousy, lying ass out the door…1…2… (BANG BANG BANG~~~^&%$%$%##$^%)… 3. Merry Christmas you filthy animal… (bang bang) and a Happy New Year (bang).”

And the fools jump out the door and slither away, totally outsmarted by a kid.

And the 2 burglars again, out of jail!!! They remind me of Simon and Garfunkel, but not at all musical. The end of the movie is like playing Mouse Trap on two bozos.

I really like the symbolism behind the turtle doves, a symbol of friendship and love. It’s like in the song, “12 Nights of Christmas” with the part with the 2nd night of Christmas. Kevin received the doves at the toy store, when he donated his $20 worth of shoveling snow. In the end, it was touching when he shared the dove with the pigeon lady. The ‘twinkling’ song played in the background, as they embrace and snow flurries down on a white Christmas. I hope to find my turtle dove one of these Christmases…

Right now as I watch this classic childhood movie, I am missing Christmas in the city. This movie is making me long for Manhattan. I’ve spent 4 years there, it has almost become a second home. Here’s another list itching to be posted:

  • I miss the holiday shops at Union Square. An evening stroll with the bright lights and homey music, it really felt like the holidays were here to stay. Last Christmas when I went with a few friends, I had the urge to buy one of those winter hats with an animal face on it. I wanted the panda one, but knew I’d look stupid wearing it out everyday, even if it was to keep my head insulated.

  • I miss ice-skating. I love the feeling of a Winter Wonderland at the scenic parks. Junior year, I went to NYU’s “Wintuk” ice-skating in Central Park with a good friend. That was the first time I stepped on ice and learned to skate; let’s say it was a wobbly trip around the rink, luckily without that many bruises. Senior year, I went to Bryant Park with Kendo club to ice-skate. This second time, I ended up with more bruises on my legs than I could count on both hands. Finally, this summer as a camp counselor, I became more pro because I did it everyday. Only difference was, I was stuck on the frigid ice with shorts and T-shirt. At least when it’s winter in the city, I could bundle up with leggings, puffy jacket, and stylish scarf.

  • Herald Square’s hustle and Macy’s merry window displays. I’m a shopaholic, but I cannot resist the decorations and glam.

Flashback to 2006 Macy's

  • Winter Wonderland on 3rd Ave, Union Square

    Oh the white blizzard before the slushy mess ruins my trip down Broadway. This year during my last semester, NYU did a revolutionary thing: giving us a SNOW DAY. Yes, this never happened, even when nearby schools like Columbia or CUNY schools closed down for a blustery storm. NYU gave us a late, but amazing gift that Wednesday in February. I felt like a little kid again, jumping in joy over a snow day. I stayed in my PJs and totally skipped out on volunteering at the medical center. As I mused over the belated Winter Wonderland, I remembered my childhood and how much I enjoyed feeling cozy at home while watching the snow or rain fall. I mean, I do not like being stuck in the bad weather, because I’ve had a bad rap-sheet on getting trapped at the library or forgetting my umbrella just when the downpour begins. But, I like listening to the rain patter or watching the pure-white snow drift softly from the clouds.

  • Rockefeller Center’s Christmas-tree lighting. I went back in freshman year. The wait was long and the crowd just as obnoxiously suffocating. I don’t think we actually saw the tree-lighting, but we did see the naked tree, light-less. That night, we ended up at Bryant Park and took a pseudo-picture with a lighted, miniature tree =P

  • Holiday shopping is never as easy as in Manhattan. I reminisce strolling on the streets, blending in with the holiday crowds and finding amazing deals.  Holiday in the city, does not compare to plain Long Island here, where everything requires pumping greenhouse gases into the air.

The Christmas Heart & Spirit

Ah!  Even Snoopy is bitten by the Santa bug!

See?! Snoopy is even in the spirit!

During the Christmas season, I am not immune to the holiday spirit.  I’m a self-declared Santa’s little elf.  No, I’m not stuffing stockings or checking bad children off Santa’s list at the North Pole.  I’m a volunteer gift-wrapper at Barnes and Nobles!!!  It’s through NYU Habitat for Humanity, and I help fundraise for my spring break Alternative Breaks trip to West Virginia at Patch Adams Gesundheit! Institute.  More about that come spring time…

Anywho… I’ve been wrapping gifts since last Christmas.  I love it, even though I end up on my hands and knees, all day long and all by myself sometimes.  I am no amateur anymore; I’m pretty much professional, lol… I can wrap all shapes and sizes, in quick time and minimal paper waste.  If I make a mistake, I can carefully unwrap and start again.  If I get a hexagonal cylinder with a children’s rubics cube game, I use my scissor as a crafting tool and carve out a beautifully wrapped present.  In addition, I love chatting with people I help.  Most really do have hearts, and donate anywhere from $2 to $20.  I see how people are attentive to charity work, especially when student volunteers are willing to dedicate significant time to gift wrap for strangers, almost for free.  To hear holiday wishes and good-natured laughs while I volunteer my time is truly touching and magical.

Ah! The Christmas spirit straight in the house...

I see my brief stint as a gift wrapper in light of the health care field.  In medicine, I know it’s essential to have the brains AND the heart.  The heart is the center of emotion, intuition, and personality even.  It nourishes sympathy and love.  For me, I’m a people-oriented person, very social, considerate, and selfless.  During my time, I chatted and crafted each present individually.  Gift-wrapping is an art, a way for me to express my inner nature.  The care I took to beautify each gift showed that I am ambitious, meticulous, dedicated, and hard-working from the heart out.  I want to carry this to my future in medicine, because I want to treat each patient individually, just as I cared for each gift for each customer.  People were grateful for my generosity, and I was happy to give an additional gift of my time and effort during this festive, benevolent season.  I do not ask for anything back, except the opportunity to continue my community service endeavors and the chance to travel to accomplish my dreams.

As one customer commented to me, “Oh, you don’t have to make it perfect.  Look at you, it’s like you’re performing a suture!”  This occurred when I made a mistake and forgot to cover the price.  The green wrapping paper was almost taped together and ready for the finishing touches.  Then, after realizing my mistake, I took my time (and the poor customer’s time) to remove the tape and start again, even when I could have easily just ripped everything up and started anew with fresh paper.  First, I did not want to waste paper; I reduce and reuse, even old gift wrap that are perfectly reusable.  Second, I like to go back and fix my own mistake.  I took the scissor and snipped away the tape perfectly.  I covered up any marks and rips I may have made, and whipped out a neatly-wrapped Christmas gift.  I took to heart his comment about my character and insistence to perfect and repair.  As a doctor, my job will be to perfect and repair, even if I’m not planning to enter surgery.  Even with my delicate hands, I do not wish to enter that field.  Instead, I want to enter primary care, to guide patients to lead healthy, satisfying lifestyles.  I can perfect my profession by educating myself and my patients about their well-being.  I can improve as a person and as a future doctor because people’s lives are in my hands.  I can repair lives by encouraging prevention, healthy nutrition and exercise, and personal care management.  I am in the position to change the future of primary care and millions of lives.  I can help people adopt ways to hinder the growing chronic problems facing America today.

Just as each donation made the teeniest influence in supporting NYU students like myself to travel abroad and serve the community, each experience has fostered my growing passion for medicine.  Each gift I wrapped was like a patient I treated.  I observed each gift for its size and shape; then I estimated the right amount of special paper to completely wrap without wasting too much or additional paper.  Then I efficiently started wrapping and taping.  The end result was an ornamental, neat present, a gift from the heart of each purchaser for a dear friend, family member, or significant other.  It was a gift wrapped with love and happiness.  Likewise, each patient deserves special treatment and attention.  Doctors take medical histories, symptoms, and current complications to size up their patients.  Then, they go about applying tests for diagnoses and treatments.  The end result is a patient getting quality, optimal care.  He or she is treated like a human being, someone different from the person next door.  There is a sacred doctor-patient relationship that mirrors the connection between the people and gifts.  That’s how this one particular seasonal activity illuminates my view of the future.