I can’t believe it, I won!
All my life I dreamed of having my own Christmas Movie™ experience. Snow, hot chocolate, and a budding romance in a small town where I got trapped during a trip because of said snow. Is that too much for a girl to ask for?
Growing up in sunny (and balmy) Miami, Florida, I never had that ideal ‘white Christmas’ that every holiday movie depicts. Sure, my holidays were never boring, especially when I could go swimming after opening my gifts, but I always felt like I missed out on a core memory. My mom knew that she could never bring me to the snow, but every year around Christmas-time, we always watched our favorite, cheesy, holiday, movies together. I guess that’s where my love of meet-cutes in a small-town diner began.
Every year, once I hit middle school, I subjected my friends to what they now call ‘the holiday horror,’ where we would watch hour upon hour of holiday movies. The cheesier the movie, the better to me, but the more horrifying to them. It all started when I threw a friends’ holiday party leading up to Christmas day back in the sixth grade. That day, we watched one movie together, but I found that I loved sharing the movies with my friends as much as I loved sharing them with my mom.
It slowly but surely expanded from there. One movie at one party, expanded to so much more. Once I hit twelfth grade, all hangouts, with any of my friends for any occasion, after Thanksgiving would consist of at least one holiday movie. If we were hanging out for a study group, the movie would be playing in the background. If we were having dinner, a movie would accompany us.
My friends never seemed to mind it. We would enjoy the movie and our time together. It wasn’t until a few years ago that they started to refer to our movie binge as ‘the holiday horror,’ and fewer and fewer friends came to hangout around the holidays. I guess to my friends, ‘Christmas in July’ was not a good enough reason to binge watch holiday movies starting right after Independence day… Their loss I guess.
You’d think that with such a passion for all things Christmas movie, I would find a profession somewhere in that field, like maybe a novelist, or an actor, or even just as a regular citizen living in a small, snowy, town. Well, you’d only be half right and only as of a few months ago. No matter how much I loved cheesy holiday movies, I was nowhere near creative enough to be an author, nowhere near talented enough to be an actor, and nowhere near wealthy enough to move to the middle of nowhere with no job opportunities. But luckily, I did have one other passion besides holiday movies: Science.
I worked my butt off to get into Florida State University with enough scholarships to cover the costs of studying. I thrived there, and four years and two degrees later, I was accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Miami. It took me another five years, but now, at twenty-seven-years-old I can proudly introduce myself as doctor Cassy Kevin.
Now, I told you that you would be half right about an assumption of my holiday passion weaving its way into my everyday life. I am clearly not an author nor an actor, so ding-ding-ding, you guessed it! I now live in a small, snowy, town. When applying for my post-doc, I took a chance and applied to Dartmouth College in snowy New Hampshire. I never expected to be accepted into such a prestigious school, but I found myself moving up north to Hanover from Florida right after I was done with my degree in May.
I’ve been in Hanover for seven months now, and my first semester as a professor and researcher was better than I could have ever imagined! My students were amazing, save for a few pesky students, but that’s a given. And I made a few great friends in my research department and I braved the walk to find friends from other disciplines. I even showed restraint when inviting my new colleagues and friends over for some holiday movies. I only showed them one movie, which I haven’t done since sixth grade. So, needless to say, I am pretty proud of myself.
The only thing I am disappointed about is the snow. It is December fifteenth and it has not snowed once! I thought that New Hampshire was supposed to be snowy all of the time, but maybe that was my Floridian naivete. I have always dreamed of the snow, and I was told that while it doesn’t snow ALL the time in Hanover, it usually does by now. Dang global warming. But that doesn’t matter anymore, because like I said, I won!
Every year, the Literature Department at Dartmouth does a mini get-away raffle to: one, raise money for their undergraduate club; and two, provide professors/authors a nice get-away to write in peace. The theme for this year’s get-away was ‘Winter Wonderland,’ and if that doesn’t scream ‘me,’ I don’t know what does. My friend Stacy, who works in the Lit Department, recommended I buy some of the raffle tickets. And of course, I did. Okay, so maybe I bought more than I should have, but at least I was supporting the school at the same time as I was supporting my dream. My all-expenses-paid two-week trip to a winter wonderland leaves tomorrow morning, and I don’t think I have been this excited since I got into college.