Early Christmas Celebrations

Happy finals week!

This past weekend, (the last weekend of the school year 😥 ), my friends and I celebrated Christmas together!  On Friday, we exchanged gifts for Secret Santa, and on Saturday, we all dressed up in Christmas sweaters.

Secret Santa was so much fun!! Katie was my secret santa, and she gave/made me an adorable hand-decorated mason jar tumbler.  She knows I love smoothies (I make one every morning for breakfast); her thoughtfulness makes her gift even more perfect! 🙂 I loved seeing everyone’s reactions when they opened their gifts.  Everyone was so thoughtful in giving, and the gifts were perfect – some hilarious, some adorable!

Here is a photo we took on Friday after exchanging gifts… I was already in my pajamas 😳
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Left to right: Me, Jess, Cait (black shirt), Shannon (white shirt), Katie (black shirt), Natalie, Emily, Kate (gray sweater), Abby (red sweater)

On Saturday we all dressed up for Christmas and celebrated early! I went to my room for a little while to work on homework, during which time the others built a gingerbread house and sung Christmas karaoke!  I came back down in time to watch It’s A Wonderful Life 🙂 Here is a photo of us in our Christmas sweaters!

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Left to right: (Top Row) Kate, Jess, Natalie, Emily (Bottom Row) Abby, Cait, Me, Shannon, Corinne

Sunday was the annual Advent Mass and Tree-Lighting Ceremony.  I went to the mass, which took place in the Byron center; there were so many people, as usual, and the mass was beautiful, also as usual!  Immediately after the mass was the Tree-Lighting Ceremony on the Dionne Green.  Check out this beautiful picture of the tree, courtesy of Natalie (thanks Nat!):
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Monday was the last day of classes, which I still cannot believe… 🙁
Finals started Tuesday, and the last finals are on Saturday.  I have one final every day except Saturday, so wish me luck!

As I promised last week, I have a very exciting announcement… next semester (this upcoming spring), I will be studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (!!!).  I cannot wait for the experiences I am going to have, and I look forward to sharing them!


Good luck on finals – show your professors how much you know!

Have a safe and blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year 🙂 I’ll be back next year… from Scotland!

– Tori

Last Week of Classes

I cannot believe it! The semester is coming quickly to an end, and soon we will be home for Christmas break. I love being home with my family, but I wish I could spend more time at school with my friends. I have especially loved my classes this semester, and will be sad for them to end. This week is the last full week of classes 🙁 I could go on and on about how bittersweet it is, but I have some happier notes instead!

The weekend before last, my older sister, Alexandra, came to visit me at school! It was her very first time coming to Scranton!! I was very excited for her to meet my friends and have a little bit of her own Scranton experience. I took her around campus; admittedly, it was actually my first time going into the new building, Leahy Hall… which is absolutely beautiful. We also went to Adezzo, a cute coffee shop downtown that opened this year; it was my first time going here, too! We both loved Adezzo; it has a really nice atmosphere for hanging out with friends or studying for classes.

Here is a picture we took in front of The DeNaples Center (I insisted we include the quote):

I had a great time with my sister, and I am so glad she came to visit me! 🙂

I missed her as soon as she left, but luckily I did not have to wait long to see her again… two days later, I headed home for Thanksgiving break.  I LOVE Thanksgiving.  Why? Well, not to state the obvious, but… food… 😆 and I love my family’s tradition of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house (thanks Mom!)  I have a huge family on both sides, but for Thanksgiving our guests come from my mom’s side of the family.  Every year we have a slightly different crowd, and this year’s was the smallest in a while – just 18 of us for dinner – but lots of hectic fun nonetheless.  My mom is a very talented chef, and she made most of the food; however, everyone brought a dish to share.  Apparently, it runs in the family, because there was SO MUCH good food (as always!).  Now, if I can stop thinking about food for half a second… I love Thanksgiving because it is so important to take the time to be thankful for what we have.  I wish everyone took time more often to appreciate their blessings.  I am thankful every day, but it is really special when we come together as a family to give thanks together for each other and all the other great gifts we have been given.

Now, I am back from break for the last week of classes of the semester! Final exams are next week, and then we go home for the long Christmas break.  Good luck to everyone with their last few days of school, and stay tuned for next week’s blog post… I have a very special announcement! 🙂

– Tori

P.S. Happy December!!