I think you had as much fun as I did last week with Bernie from Needle and Foot’s Guess Who game, but I have to admit it was more challenging than I expected! Bernie has been brainstorming ways to spread cheer this year. This week, she has organized a Holiday Memories blog hop. See below to hop around and visit all the participants.
Christmas Holiday 2003
My fondest holiday memory has to be the Christmas holiday from 2003. But let me back up a little bit.
In the summer of 2001, I met a young college student from the University of New Mexico (I went to the University of Tennessee) while we were both working as cooperative engineers for NASA Langley Research Center. The cooperative engineering program that summer was in a really rough place: several students were abusing the program by not going into work, one student got into a physical altercation with another employee, and the program was handed over to a new administration team to be reorganized. They brought all of the students together for a big meeting and one of the options being considered was sending all of the students home and starting the program over from scratch. I was on my final work rotation prior to graduating from college, and I needed the money I had planned to earn that summer to finish paying for college, so this news was not something I was going to just accept. In the end, based on references from our mentors, the new NASA cooperative engineering administration team formed a group of co-op student advisors, and I spent a lot of time with that group helping guide good hiring practices for the future while also creating new online and brochure content to attract the best and brightest. As such, I got tours of many of the facilities I hadn’t had an opportunity to visit, and I even had this fun photograph taken of me and this strange young man from UNM, Michael, sitting in the Unitary wind tunnel testing cross section as part of the recruiting effort.
After the summer was over, Michael and I continued to stay in touch via email, and later that fall we officially started dating long distance. One thing lead to another, and in the fall of 2002 we became engaged. At the time, I had graduated and was working in Austin, Texas. Michael was still in college (he had first gone to a local community college and received his welding and machining certifications and worked as a machinist prior to enrolling in college as a dual major in math and engineering), and we spent those first few months figuring out how and when to get married and begin our life together. In the end, he transferred to the University of Texas in Austin to finish his undergraduate degree, even though it meant out of state tuition and an extra semester to get to graduation.
Which brings this story full circle to our wedding just after Christmas in 2003. Because my family was in Tennessee, his family was in New Mexico, and we were living in Austin, in the end we opted to host the wedding in south Austin. Because Michael was still in college, getting married over the Christmas break made a lot of sense. And when I realized that I wasn’t going to have to spend any money to decorate the small church because of all the Christmas decor, it sealed the deal. It was a small ceremony, but the most important people in our lives were there to celebrate with us.
Including my husband’s maternal grandparents. The icing on the joyous celebration is that the wedding rehearsal and dinner was on my husband’s birthday. Usually, he doesn’t get much of a birthday celebration. But in 2003, everyone was there wishing him a happy birthday and those few days of family and love are definitely my most treasured holiday memories.
I hope you enjoy visiting all the participants in the Holiday Tales blog hop, and feel free to share your own favorite holiday memory, tradition or story in the comments!