Christmas at Princeton

January 12, 2016
Avaneesh Narla

This year, I decided not to go home for Winter Break. Although I initially feared that I would be incredibly lonely, it has turned out to be a very exciting time with my friends and their families. As part of a larger effort to procrastinate work on my junior independent work, I decided to keep a diary to document my winter, and share my activities around Princeton town with everybody!

Saturday Dec. 19, The First Day of Break: My friends Vipin and Shannon are visiting. We went to North Campus to see the Chapel and other gorgeous buildings, and then went to the Art Museum to see the exhibits on Cezanne and the Peck Shahnama. We then cooked a quick lunch in my food co-op, 2D. Shannon had to leave, so we her off at the Princeton train station. Vipin and I later went on to do some cardio in Dillon Gym. We then joined a few more of my friends in 2D and cooked pasta in tomato sauce with broccoli, scallions and mushrooms, while we discussed the presidential race ahead of the democratic debate. We then came back and joined a few more of our friends to study. I went to sleep reading the Lowland by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, whose class I am taking on literary translation.

Sunday Dec. 20, Heading into Town: We were feeling lazy so we just cooked some eggs with broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes for brunch. I then went on a run along the Tow Path to the dam at the end of Lake Carnegie. We came back and had a wonderful pasta dinner in Infini-T Cafe. Vipin went to get a haircut at the Princeton Barber Shop, while I bought socks at the Princeton Running Company. I went to pick up a book at the Firestone Library, and ran into my friend Abby who is also here over break. Vipin and I walked around Princeton, which was decorated heavily with festive lights and then joined my friend Abby for hot chocolate and ice cream at Bent Spoon. Abby and I dropped by Wawa to buy some groceries for dinner, and Abby’s sister Lily joined us for a study session in my room.

Christmas tree

Monday, Dec. 21, The Start of Laziness: I woke up to a very unproductive day. My first meal was lunch with Scott Leroy, the director of the Bridge Year Program. I had spent nine incredible months in Peru on this program before coming to Princeton (You can read about Adrian's experiences here). We had quesadillas and Juice at Tico’s on Witherspoon Street in downtown Princeton. Lunch was followed by a run with down the tow path with my running buddy, Charlotte. I came back and napped and then joined Vipin for dinner at Panera, just across the street from campus. We ended the meal with blended ice cream at Thomas Sweet’s. We hung out near the fountain in front of Robertson Hall and then came back and watched a movie.


Tuesday, Dec 22, Celebrations!: Vipin had an exam today, so we had a light breakfast and lunch, before going off on a short run around north campus (you can read about my favorite running tracks on campus here). After dropping Vipin at the exam center, I joined a few friends -- who are graduate students -- to start watching the Star Wars movies. I then cooked with Abby and Vipin joined after his exam. We hung out in my room for a long time afterwards, before going Wawa for a quick sandwich.

Wednesday, Dec. 23, Decorating the Christmas Tree: Vipin had to go back to New York today, so we had a quick lunch and then I sadly dropped him off at the train station. I went on a longer run that day with Charlotte. I tried to study in my room, but I mostly procrastinated. I then joined Charlotte and her family in decorating their Christmas tree with ornaments they have collected for many years. We ended the evening with a delicious dinner.

Thursday, Dec. 24, Ukrainian Christmas Eve: It’s Christmas Eve! I went on a short run with Charlotte and then tried to study for a bit. I got very little done. The exciting part of the day was that I was spending it with my friend Alana and her family, who lives close by. They held a traditional Ukrainian Christmas celebration! It was one of the best Christmas Eves ever. Her family was incredibly friendly and made me feel at  right at home. I had a lot of fun, and a lot of incredibly delicious Ukrainian food.

Friday, Dec. 25, It’s Christmas Day!: I was very lazy in the morning, probably a result of the huge dinner I had the previous night. In the evening, I had dinner with a few friends at a couple's house who invite all students who have graduated from a United World College, like me, to their house for American festivals and holidays. It was a great time, and we talked about a great deal of things and shared many jokes.

Stay tuned for the second week ...