By Kristan Hoffman and Angie Liang
While there was no snow or sleigh bells, my holiday was otherwise fairly traditional. I flew home to Houston and was greeted with lots of hugs from my parents as well as lots of kisses from mosquitoes.
That first weekend, we battled the crowds to do our last-minute shopping. Funny enough, nowadays my parents and I tend to buy our own presents and then wrap them as a surprise to everyone else. It may sound weird, but we enjoy it. Makes Santas life easier too.
After Christmas, my half-sister came to visit with her granddaughter, and we showed them a few of Houstons highlights: Moody Gardens, Kemah Boardwalk, NASAs Space Center, the Galleria and the Waterwall. We also drove around nice neighborhoods to look at their sparkling holiday lights. Though I had done it all before, it was fun to see my hometown through a newcomers eyes.
For me, the new experience was babysitting my cousins daughter for 3 nights. Shes now 5 years old, which is a fun but exhausting age. We colored Hello Kitty activity books, read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and watched My Little Pony. I gave her a bath and brushed her teeth. She ate the ham and eggs out of my kolache. I felt like I was playing Mom for a few days, and it was illuminating.
Now its 2013, and Im back home, back to my regularly scheduled life, back to work. I dont have any specific resolutions, but I would like to continue applying a few themes across all areas of my life: (1) Dont try to do/have it all; (2) Dont worry about what people think; (3) Keep It Simple, Stupid; (4) Push yourself; (5) Be more assertive/decisive; and (6) Dont aim for perfection, just keep getting better.
My parents and I always celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way lots of friends and a massive feast but for whatever reason, we dont do any of the December holidays. So after a wonderful extended stay at home in November, I decided to do something different this winter: Freeze my butt off in Canada. At 10°F to be precise!
Why give up the balmy Texas climate for arctic Canadian weather? I wanted to learn how to ski. Also, as a child I had visited Banff National Park, a World Heritage Site notorious for its scenic beauty, in the summer. Now I wanted to witness firsthand its breathtaking views in the winter.
I was not disappointed. I spent a couple days touring the towns and then three full days skiing the popular sites: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay. Each day as I arrived on the slopes, with an instructor leading the way, I ooo-ed and ahh-ed even falling once because I was so captivated by the view.
Needless to say, I fell quite a few more times trying to complete a green (easy) run on the second day. Although I picked up the basic skiing techniques quickly, gravity sometimes won. Nevertheless, I slowly but surely conquered the mountain, turning and braking my way down the steep inclines. By the third day, I felt confident on the slopes, and eager to return for more someday.
After my skiing adventures, I spent New Years Eve in Seattle with one of my best friends, eating and exploring the city. We even toured the old city underground and then watched the fireworks shoot off around the Space Needle.
On January 1st, I flew back to New York City, with sore legs and a clearer mind, ready for change in 2013.