Well, we’ve come to the end of the term. Everyone pushed hard to make it through finals and dorm cleanup, and then collapse at the finish line when it was done.
Even though it’s still November, Christmas season starts early at RVA. The kids all leave the weekend after Thanksgiving, and so everyone wants to celebrate Christmas with their friends before they go. The band and choir performed their Christmas concert—about half of my girls are in one or the other of those, and one of them is in both. Parents came in from out of country to hear their kids perform, and it was a great concert.
We also had Christmas parties in the dorm. Our dorm did a White Elephant gift exchange. We had lots of Christmas snacks (and nacho cheese dip, which isn’t particularly Christmassy, but it was delicious), and my apartment was decorated with Christmas lights and a little Christmas tree made out of poster board. The girls all brought their presents—some beautifully wrapped in Christmas paper or gift bags, and others rolled up in layers and layers of toilet paper. The party was a lot of fun, with lots of good gifts and lots of good-natured stealing of presents going on. Once it was all over, we watched A Muppet’s Christmas Carol.
By the time we got to exam week, it was the end of a long term and everyone was running on empty. The girls were up late studying for exams and beginning to pack and clean their rooms—lack of sleep and the fact that everyone had been living in very close quarters for 13 weeks now meant that tempers often ran short. Somehow, we made it through without killing each other, and the last exam was on Thanksgiving Day. No time to stop and celebrate, though, because after lunch it was time to clean. The dorm was scrubbed from top to bottom—trashcans washed with choruses of ‘ew, gross!’, hair pulled from drains, showers curtains washed, floors scrubbed with soap and vinegar (using toothbrushes behind the toilets!), and everything else mopped and swept and polished. The dorm was then inspected by a woman who brought her own flashlight to look for dust—some redos were in order before she was satisfied—and then it was done. Everything was shiny and clean, and the girls could collapse into exhausted heaps on my floor. We watched movies and one by one, they took off, either with parents in cars or in buses to the airport. A few of them had very early morning flights the next day—it’s an amusing, slightly dangerous thing to be the one waking teenagers up when it’s still dark.
And now they’ve gone—everyone back home with their families, and the other dorm moms and I have mostly been sleeping for the past two days. It’s much needed rest, but we’ll catch up before too long. Plenty of time to get tired of the quiet and start missing everyone before they come back.