This Bwogger was pleasantly surprised.

I looked outside my little dorm window as the wind howled and the sun slowly set over the Hudson River. “Winter is coming,” I whispered to myself. I threw on layer upon layer of clothing to prepare for the brutal, bone-chilling night—keep in mind that I was raised in sunny California and anything below 60° F is deadly. After securing my scarf and putting on my war paint (moisturizer), I left for the ceremony. 

My expectations, to be completely honest, were near the floor—I didn’t think that simply switching on a few lights wrapped around trees would be much of a thrill. Maybe I would get a slight dopamine rush that would last approximately 0.001 seconds, tagged along by a slight dilation of my pupils. But as a Bwog reporter, I knew it was my duty to attend. 

Once I arrived at 5, I decided to follow the crowds and wait in a 45-minute line for free merchandise (Barnumbia students will do anything for free stuff). I stood in line shivering, but standing strong, squished between fellow cheap college students who can’t afford the absurd prices at the Columbia Bookstore. However, once I reached the front of the line and extended my arms to receive the free merch with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, they alerted me that they had just run out. My mouth dropped and my eye twitched. I took a deep breath and smiled again through my teeth. Luckily, my broken heart was consoled when I saw the gallons of hot chocolate waiting for me just a few feet away. The delicious taste of chocolate made me forget that I had even waited in a 45-minute line for basically no reason, it was a palette and brain cleanser. Upon sipping my drink, I was lured by the sound of acapella angels to their performance. 

I have never been much of an acapella fan, mostly because I am jealous of their insane voices that make me feel as if mine is similar to that of a shrieking squirrel while also giving me flashbacks to my horrendous musical auditions in my past, but tonight was different. The voices flew with the wind and swirled around every spectator watching and breathing it in. The notes were so soft, angelic, and comforting, like a cradle to a baby. Looking around myself and seeing hundreds of people quietly listening to the voices, all connected with the sound of music made the corner of my purple lip curl upwards.

After the songs ended, the student body president announced that they would be lighting the trees early (6 minutes to be precise). Everyone ran towards the trees like moths anticipating a flame. I huddled next to a heap of strangers mingling, talking, and laughing with an occasional whiff of bad breath along with a hint of hot cocoa spewing in my direction, waiting for the big moment. We chanted the count down, “5…4…3…2….1…ummm.” The lights, unsurprisingly, did not turn on. Instead of the courtyard brightened from the lighting of the trees, it was lit by the blue light shining from every Barnunmia phone raised high while recording. After around 20 more anxious seconds, the lights finally burst with energy and a loud cheer filled the fields. 

It’s nice to see the inner child of everyone appear during the Holidays. Little kids in college students’ bodies pop out ready to see a few lights flicker on and hold a hot, sugary drink to make their problems float away. Being a kid is blissful, and the Holidays reignite that magical time in all of us, which is a rare, but heart-warming experience. 

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