December is the greatest month, yet it must be earned. December is so great because its Christmastime, we get to go home for leave, and it's the end of the semester! Yet in order to get to December, you have to make it through the fall semester and in order to get home for leave, you have to make it through finals (both of which aren’t easy). This past semester was hopefully my toughest semester here with all my 3/c classes along with an extra 18 hours of class a week for EMT certification. I had five finals and they were not a walk in the park. By the time the last one rolled around, my brain just turned off and said good luck! It was a tough semester all around, yet it flew by; I just hope the next semester goes just as fast!
We got a record amount of Christmas leave this year and I was not going to complain! Yet the cheapest way for me to get back to Arizona was to take a train to Boston after my last final, then spend the night in the airport for a 6 a.m. flight. It wasn’t the most comfortable night, but once I got onto the plane the next morning, there was certainly no problem falling asleep on that flight. I got to spend some time with family and friends and do some Christmas decorating for the first part of leave and then I drove with a friend to Salt Lake City to surprise my girlfriend. In order to get the most time in Salt Lake City, we left at midnight in the middle of a huge snow storm in Utah (not our brightest idea). Yet, after 8 hours of driving, we were making great time! I drove all night and as soon as we switched drivers, we found the ice. Within ten minutes of my friend driving, we were spinning in the middle of I-15. After four complete spins, we landed perfectly on the side of the road seconds before a semi flew by honking its horn. After seeing my life flash before my eyes, we made it to Salt Lake City for a great surprise and a great weekend. We went snowboarding up there as well and it was my first time. After tasting more snow than shredding and after being on my back end more than my feet, I think I’m going to try skiing next time…
As soon as we drove 12 hours back home to Arizona, my family and I took off to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with more family. It was also my parents’ anniversary the day after Christmas so my siblings and I threw them a big surprise party, which was a successful surprise and a lot of fun! Then we thought we couldn’t just have one party in California, so as soon as we got back to Arizona, we had another surprise party on New Year’s Eve.
I would like to say my leave was all fun and games, but I had to spoil the fun sometime. I had my wisdom teeth out three days before returning to the Academy which was so much fun… After telling people about my future appointment, I got to hear every horror story about getting wisdom teeth surgery so I was just thrilled and excited to let the fun begin. It turned out to be not too bad, only one dry socket and an infection. So needless to say, coming back to the Academy was worse than normal with a mouthful of gauze and a stomach full of meds.
It was a very relaxing (except for the spins on I-15) and fun (except for the wisdom teeth) leave that will keep me motivated throughout the next semester. Whenever cadets get to go home, it’s nice to see old friends, but it’s amazing what else you see. Nothing has changed! Most friends are doing the same things they were doing in high school and for the most part, cadets have grown and changed so much from what they were in high school that it is hard to relate. We get to see how well this place has prepared us for life compared to other options, and going home makes me realize how thankful I ought to be to get this opportunity and to get all that I can from it.
I think my leave was so good because I couldn’t find out my semester’s grades until I got back to the Academy! Yet, we have to return to reality some time. The tub of ice cream and chick flicks got me through seeing my grades with a little less emotional damage.
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