Christmas Eve the scientist way


I spent Christmas Eve at the lab. How geeky can you get?


No, seriously, I did spend Christmas Eve in the lab, but it wasn’t (really) by choice. As has been the case since last Friday, my internet connection at home is still broken, and thus the lab is the only place to connect to the world. I could’ve of course stayed home and watched a movie or so, but we decided to make full use of modern-day technology and I ended up spending Christmas Eve at Ts place. Via Skype.

Webcams on on both sides, they actually put the computer at the dinner table so I could join in the conversation, and later dragged ‘me’ along to the salon for the gift exchange ritual. We always (well… the tradition started last year…) do a Secret Santa thing with the whole family (2 parents, 5 kids and 3 gf/bf make it a big enough group to make it fun). The catch is you’re not allowed to buy a present, you have to make it. Since all of them attended hippie school they are pretty good with crafts and the like (they can sing and each play 15 instruments or sth), so I always feel a bit daunted when I see their presents. Last year for example, I knitted a hat for SE – which I was very proud of, since I had never knitted 4 needles before. This year, NE made a tea hat for her sister, including holes for the pout and the handle, with wool she had made herself. Like in, take what comes from the sheep, clean it, turn it into threads, then knit.

This year, my target was YE, the boyfriend of Ts middle sister. He works at customs in the harbor of Antwerp. And he likes to cycle. That’s about all I know about him. Oh, and he doesn’t like sweets, so baking cookies (always the easy way out ;) ) was out of the question. Finally, I came up with this:

I bought the cheapest water bottle I could find and painted it. Maybe not the most masculine gift ever, but I was pretty pleased with the way it came out, especially when he said that he never drinks enough when he goes cycling – so it will be actually useful. Of course, it’s not a candle shaped like St. Francis or a wooden candle holder, or a mosaic mirror. But I tried :).

And then, as the evening drew to a close, I was silly enough to check the Brussels Airlines site to see if there was any news about my flight tomorrow morning. There was :

This is nót what you want to see on Christmas Eve. I completely freaked out and Ts dad almost jumped in the car to come and get me (which, under good weather conditions, would probably take at least 10 hours. however, there is a reason many flights are delayed: the weather sucks). A refresh of the page 5 minutes later showed the “on schedule” icon, but I’m still pretty shaky. The flight is at 11:40 am, and the train to the airport takes half an hour, so normally I would leave around 10 am, but since a colleague of mine had a train delay of 2 hours, I will be getting up at seven to be on the safe side. T will also be getting up since I can’t check tomorrow morning whether my flight is still leaving (how did people live before the internet??) and if it is even worth it going to the airport at all. Meanwhile, we have decided I will be leaving my christmas presents here and travel with hand luggage only, because there are huge delays in Brussels in the luggage delivery and if there is trouble, I will be more mobile with just a backpack.

This does have the advantage I won’t have to pack too much :D.

Fingers crossed!

4 responses »

  1. Did you go home for the holidays? That’s nice. I hope by now you have arrived safe and sound!

    Yes, what did people do BEFORE Al Gore invented the Internet? LOL. Nice job with the water bottle. What kind of paint did you use? I also LOL at HIPPIE School. :-)

    Merry Christmas!!! May the force of Internet be with you wherever you go. ;-)

    • Well, in the end my flight got delayed not by the weather but because they couldn’t manage to fill up the fuel tank ;). But everything went much smoother than anticipated, and I was home only an hour later than planned. And now: 2 weeks of holidays… yeay!

      And don’t tellT I called it hippie school… she’d kill me ;). I first spray-painted the bottle with that kind of paint you use like for model plains and such? And the rest was done with acrylic paint… I’m not a Van Gogh, but it turned out nice :). And apparently YEs girlfriend was thrilled she was on it too :D.

      Merry Christmas and happy holidays for you and yours to! Here’s to blogging friends! ;)

  2. So glad everything worked out in the end. I thinks its awesome that you were able to join in the holiday festivities via skype. Its great how modern technology can bring people closer.

    The secret Santa sounds like a blast! I wish it would work in my family. We use to attempt to do that years ago but people wouldn’t stay within the budget and couldn’t keep a secret. It ended up just being more of a hassle. It would have been a load of fun if people would cooperate. :)

    • Haha, yes, I can imagine that – people should cooperate! Last year Ts younger sister knew all about who had to give who, cause everybody came to her for ideas – she refused to help anyone this year ;).

      It was great fun with the whole Skype thing, especially since their webcam was pretty crappy, and all the presents looked very different in real life – it was like seeing the present round twice, really!

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