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Missing the Midwest

Derek Bakken/CREATIVE COMMONS

 

Take a stroll around Biola’s campus and the trees will appear much the same as they did on move-in day around three months ago. While normal for some people, students who came to Biola from the Midwest now face the perplexing idea of having a green Christmas.

“I feel bad for people that haven’t had a snowy winter,” said senior math major Molly Folkert. Having spent eighteen years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Folkert appreciates the Midwest’s frigid fall and winter seasons. “Have you ever stepped on a sheet of ice and it makes a crackling noise? That is my favorite thing about winter. Stepping on ice and it makes a deep cracking noise ... it is so beautiful.”

ADJUSTING TO THE SEASON

Whether or not these students miss the cold weather, many of them will agree that temperature plays a major role in creating the Christmas atmosphere.

“I don’t like the cold, I don’t miss that, but it adds to the atmosphere, and it’ll be weird to have Christmas and have it feel like what fall would feel like at home,” said freshman cinema and media arts major Julie Linstra from Olathe, Kansas.

Out-of-state students who live a little closer to California than the Midwest, still say this state lacks some of the seasonal festivity they associate with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“With Halloween you really get in the mood, everything starts turning colors, and then thanksgiving comes around and you’ve got snow and everywhere it just feels really festive,” said cinema and media arts major Shea Waller, who hails from Artesia, New Mexico. “When Christmas comes around, there’s snow, you build snowmen, and have snowball fights. The thing I miss the most is just the holiday feel that comes with fall, because you almost have to make your own here.”

CREATIVITY FOR THE SEASON

In an attempt to conjure up some festivity, these students have tapped into their creativity.

“I actually bought one of the mini pumpkins over at Albertsons for like two dollars, and it was kind of sad because I didn’t have time to carve it, so I’ve just got this random pumpkin sitting in the room,” said Waller. “My mom sent me a sparkly ‘Give Thanks’ thing for our door. You can kind of decorate, but then you leave the room and it’s back to summer feeling.”

Sarah Wilde, a freshman communications major from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has noticed girls on her floor buying fall-scented air fresheners. Others enjoy celebrating the season with fall-themed drinks and snacks. For Folkert, this means hot chocolate with Trader Joe’s salted caramel mixed in.

These Midwest students also try to welcome in the seasons by incorporating fall clothes into their summer wardrobes.

“I have fall clothes that made more sense to wear back home when it was actually cold, but I’ll wear them anyway to kind of trick myself into thinking it’s the season,” said Linstra.

FINDING THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Wearing season-specific clothing helps students feel like it is really fall, but the California weather often does not permit this, even in the last days of November.

“I just like being able to wear certain clothes. Sweaters, boots, jeans and jackets, we don’t get to wear that as much here. I miss being able to put something on and not having to take it off during the day,” said Folkert.

While a summery holiday season has its challenges, these students agree that benefits exist.  

“It’s just the ability to still do outside things, like the Christmas tree lighting. To be able to do that without freezing, that’s been cool because I don’t like freezing if I’m going to watch something like that,” said Folkert.

For Waller, a film major, the constant weather and green scenery around Biola provides a nice consistency.

“It’s nice having the green scenery all year round so that you don’t have to worry about fighting the weather, or having to film at a certain time — you can do whatever you want whenever you want,” said Waller.

For many students hailing from the Midwest, weather plays a huge role in creating the holiday spirit, and those going home during the holiday breaks anxiously await hearing the crunch of leaves and snow underfoot. Many, however, miss their family the most.

“I’m so looking forward to seeing my family again,” said Waller, who recently received surprise plane tickets in the mail. “My mom and I lived together, just the two of us, in an apartment for the last year, so it’s been really weird not having her here since we’re so close. And I’m so looking forward to seeing my dog.”

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