It's Christmastime in the city!

Ah, friends, it's been a full week; please forgive the potentially long and rambling post--I just want to fit in a lot of goodness. Last Saturday I journeyed into Boston with my roommate and a dear friend for a concert by a group called "Good Old War." (Check them out here if you're interested in acoustic, folky music.) I found a song by them somewhat by accident back in September, loved what I heard, found out they were stopping by Boston and convinced my friends to adventure with me. It was incredibly worth it. The venue (The Middle East in Cambridge) was small and intimate--the audience was capped at around 15o and standing-room only--and so we were treated to an incredibly open and lively performance, with the crowd familiar with all the songs, often singing them louder than the band. It was amazing.
Last night I went to dinner at a professor's house with a few other students who are also teaching assistants for "The Great Conversation," and we had a wonderful time talking about our different lives and different interests, but were all gathered around a table enjoying the nourishment of good food (if you ever want to have a conversation about how much I believe in hospitality ministry, feel absolutely free to email me :-)). We waxed philosophical and silly on everything from the church in Europe to our gripes with the American educational system to whether we prefer cranberry jelly homemade or from the can at Thanksgiving. Good conversation is such a rarity, and it's always nice to find similarly curious and earnest souls.
Today my floor had an "in-retreat," which consisted of five hours of NOT DOING WORK, no cell phones, making baked ziti, cakes, garlic bread, and a journey into Gloucester to watch the lobster trap tree lighting-that's right: a lobster trap tree. Don't believe me? That's a picture of the whole thing up at the top, and a close up to the left, decorated with painted buoys and covered in lights.
While my girls and I froze our toes off, I remembered that amazing scene from Elf, and so I urged my friends to join me in a rousing rendition of a Christmas carol. And although we were drowned out by the crowd of rambunctious eight-year-olds chanting "Light it up! Light it up!," we huddled together for warmth and just enjoyed the small-town pride and joy of a town that once a year delights in gathering 'round a bunch of old traps...and got our token picture taken with Santa.

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