Pardon my tactlessness, but it has been too long a day to preoccupy myself with smooth transitions. Forging on, I believe a few big thank yous are in order:
Grace E. Lee. Watching all your ridiculous YouTube and Facebook videos online these days always evoke the same thought: how did I get to live with such a celebrity last year? What am I? A big deal or something? (Clearly not, seeing as I [accidentally] gave Grace moldy yams for Christmas last year. Oops...) Thank you and your cohort Garrett so much for the incredible care package. The card, the notes, the jokes, the koala loofah, the stickers, the can of chili, Mac n' Cheese, the Jelly Belly's and travel-size dispenser, the chocolates...I can't even list everything, but YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING KOREAN POSER WE KNOW. Put your stunna shades on and give yourself 37 million Gold Stars. Also, Happy Belated 21st Birthday, Gracers! We're sad we couldn't be there for the cereal extravaganza but we hope it was amazing!
Our ERC "Freshmen." (Sorry, you'll always be dear little freshmen to us.) Gracie, Carla, Jess, Alicia, Meg, Pau, and Jon, I almost cried digging through your treasure trove and reading all your letters, which are now all hung up around our room. Thank you thank you thank you for your incredible thoughtfulness, heartfelt words, drawings, and edible goodies galore (which we may or may not have already eaten most of our way through...ahem). You have been ceaseless blessings from the very minute we met each of you and while we miss your little faces terribly, we trust that God is doing some astounding things in your respective lives and ministries (I clearly speak for both Sierra and myself). We're praying for all of you and can't wait until our next Skype rendezvous!
P.S. Sierra also says she can't WAIT to grow her boyfriend.
Benedict and Neo-san. Where do I even begin? First of all, thanks for braving the horse stampedes to bring some good ol' American Christmas joy to this foreign side of the world. I don't think I would have made it through this year without going home during Christmas and definitely would not have been able to come back to Spain had I gone home for the holidays, so in a nice long run-on sentence that I hope makes some semblance of sense, thank you for coming. Secondly, thanks also for lugging our beasts of baggage all the way here. Minus a few particular articles of clothing, ahem, it was happiness in a bag. Clearly, I can't include everything we're grateful to you kids for here, but among many, many things, thanks for the ridiculous adventures, the delicious food, the copious laughs, and the great company. Definite good times for the history books. Hurrah.
P.S. Neo, get well soon! Ben, you too! Sierra as well. And...me also. Congratulations on winning aggregate immunity? Between the four of us, we now have the disease spectrum entirely covered. Woopee.
Kelby. I think anyone who brings us onesie pajamas that fit uncannily well is automatically counted among the top three superstars of friends (just wait for the pictures, folks). Your timely arrival also lulled us out of post-Christmas depression and provided the long-awaited balance of girl-time we've been highly anticipating all year. It was sheer joy seeing you after such a long absence and celebrating New Year's with your white coat and lack of grape eating abilities. Thanks for also being a middle (wo)man bringer of presents and such delights. For you and your truffles and your Fig Newtons and your impeccable taste in sleepwear (and your priceless friendship and your Trader Joe's chocolates and your forgiving our sleeping way too much and...), we are eternally grateful.
P.S. Please don't study abroad again next fall! :)
Sam Yee, Say Yee, Cristina, and Stephanie. You cannot imagine the realms of joy that were reached today when I found your caja in my mailbox after a particularly rough day. I felt like a miner that struck ultimate gold in '49 as the bags of Cheez-its came spilling out of the box. And the riches didn't stop there! Gracias for always thinking of me so generously; you surely brightened my day...and provided dinner. Also, your adorable pictures are on my wall and your letters shall be saved in my journal to be read over and over and over again. Hope you can all come visit soon!
Parentals. Our beloved parents, thank you for packing our enormous bags of home essentials and...non-essentials. Si and I are both pretty sad we didn't get to come home this break, but thanks for sending us all varieties of San Diegan treasures and for financing our frolics about the European continent. We are indebted to you and infinitely appreciative for a million more reasons than one. Can't wait until you comeeeeeee.
And to everyone else who contributed to our weight gain over the past month, thank you! Seriously. I haven't eaten this much in the last six months combined. Foof. And I'm pretty ecstatic about how stocked our cupboards still are. Yessss. The upcoming weeks of finals are going to be appropriately snack-a-licious! Speaking of finals, I'm about to be sucked into a vortex of death. Here is so long and goodbye should we never meet again...
A small smattering of pictures from our week with Kelby: