After ten minutes out in the fresh air this morning, my fingers are numb. It’s that time of year in Boston where it can be perfectly pleasant one day, but bone-chilling the next. Luckily, with the holidays coming to an end, the House is warmed by the return of housemates from far and wide. We end the year as we began it: together.
We’ve been doing a lot of things together as of late, perhaps to compensate for Michael’s absence as he crushes his new London job(we are very proud of him). There is a core group that is home most nights to share dinner which has helped. While many wonderful things have happened over the last year, I have to say that ending my day with one my Bondies has brought the most consistent joy. I think it’s safe to say that everyone else feels similarly, especially those roommates who are often so busy with work and their lives that they don’t always have time for dinner.
In an attempt to encourage these communal meals, Brennan thought it would be fun to host a weekly Fonduesday (fondue on Tuesday) during December. Of course he was right. The first week had us out in the wilds of Boston hunting for good Swiss. We, the terrible trio (Brennan, Theresa, and I–we’re still working on a team name), found a spot in South End that was the right amounts of quality foodstuffs and snoot from the workers. I love that they didn’t think we knew what we were doing, because there’s nothing quite like watching our young, discerning German put a fromager through his paces. Later that night over a bubbling vat/fire hazard (seriously, Brennan caught the table on fire for a few seconds), we feasted on potatoes and bread, realizing that there is little more to life than a good meal. Not that we didn’t know that already. Hosting parties and feeding people are obviously things we like to do here.
Everyone evacuated the city for Thanksgiving, leaving Theresa and I in the lonely position of being the only people in the House. Unwilling to have a depressing dinner, I invited students from the master’s program where I work who didn’t have anywhere to go for the holiday. We had a guest list of about 16. Best of all? I didn’t have to cook. That night we feasted on turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberries, casseroles, the works brought by a zealous student who likes feeding people as much as I do. Looking over the table and our joyful guests and a sting of pride hit me right in the heart. Because of where I live, I can offer a place for strangers to feel at home.
But our home is what it is only because of those who live here. During our November house meeting, we decided on two things: 1) A themed Secret Santa should be done and 2) We should pose for a Christmas card photo that we send to our nearest and dearest. In classic Bond House style, we went over the top (though not so much as the infamous ballgown incident in our first family photo). The result was 9 of us sitting on the main staircase like some sort of modern-modern version of the Brady Bunch. Let me tell you, everyone I sent the holiday card out to was tickled by our charming crowd. My grandfather sent me a letter a few weeks ago saying that we were a “handsome bunch”, and I can’t disagree with because facts are facts.
The Secret Santa exchange was cute, despite being celebrated at the beginning of the month so we could be with almost everyone (Lark is working in Arizona and Michael is in London right now, so their gifts were shipped). I got Claudia a holiday sweater (her theme was “warmth”) with a very festive Scottie dog on the front, which she put on immediately. Theresa got me a survival cookbook and a meat tenderizer (my theme was “apocalyptic”)–I’ve yet to use either, but I’m excited. After that, everyone disappeared into the late December ether. The few of us who stayed home made do by hosting dinners and inviting actual strangers over for a Christmas Eve dinner (okay, so I invited strangers I met at a brunch earlier that week because everyone should have a place to go for a holiday meal–I’ll die on that hill). And on Christmas morning, I made sure the few people at home had something to open, Brennan made waffles, and we went to see a movie in the afternoon.
And now we prepare for New Year’s. Michael and Claudia have returned for a few days after finally taking a long honeymoon. You know what that means: house party, baby. As I type this, I am putting off making dinner for 20-22 people. Not that I don’t relish the opportunity to cook for so many people, but I am enjoying the conversations going on in the kitchen right now. But everyone else is doing prep and I’m starting to feel guilty. I’ll be on my feet for the next several hours, so maybe no heels for me. It’ll be great.
We’ve gone through a lot together this past year: a wedding, new relationships, breakups, new jobs, family issues, publications, birthdays, spring, summer, fall, winter, celebration after celebration. Just this morning I renewed my lease for another year. This year’s posts have been littered with schmaltz and gratitude, but to say that I am grateful for this opportunity would be a gross understatement. As we ring in the new year, we can only hope to deepen our bonds and continue on this beautiful journey together. To all of you, Happy New Year.