Easter, if you celebrate it, is one of those holidays that, for better or worse, you have to figure out how to celebrate at college, since it falls during the spring term. Although some people have their families visit them or they travel home for the weekend, mine live just a little too far away for that to be viable, so I usually go to church in the morning and get a big dining hall dinner with all my friends. At home, Easter was always a really fun holiday for my family. We would open up our baskets, put on our Sunday best, and then after church come home to a huge family dinner topped off with an Easter bunny cake. Although I wasn't able to have that exact experience this year, some of my friends (more like family) helped me feel at home for the first time on Easter.
One of my best friends is actually from Hanover, and surprisingly, this is not an unusual occurrence. My two best friends are actually from Hanover and Norwich, VT respectively, so over the past few years I have had the chance to get to know the Upper Valley a little bit better and have been so lucky to be pseudo-adopted into their families on birthdays, short breaks, and other big events. I had never, however, spent an Easter with either of them. It can be hard having a family so far away, but the willingness of my friends and their families to welcome me on so many occasions as always made me feel a little bit more supported even 4,000 miles from home.
I had started thinking about Easter a couple of weeks ago and didn't make any concrete plans because I was a little busy trying to balance some new and challenging classes I am taking this term. It came down to just a few days before when I got a text from Peter, who lives in Hanover, inviting my friend Ben and me to an Easter dinner at his house! Not only was it such an incredible gesture, but it really made me appreciate having friends (and their families) who have opened up to me and are willing to share experiences like that together. Ben and I headed over to Peter's house on a surprisingly warm spring day and had probably one of the best meals I have ever had. Peter is from Taiwan, so his mom cooked up barbequed meat and veggies with rice, which made me feel just at home.
I am so thankful for even the smallest opportunities to find families here. One of the coolest things I have learned at Dartmouth is that you really can choose your family here. Based on how my Easter went, I think I chose pretty well. That same friend group is already making plans to head to another family's house for Thanksgiving, and I couldn't be more excited.