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This has been the best Christmas since 2004. This year, I’ve chosen to take my brother Kevin’s advice and quit feeling sorry for myself every time someone does me wrong, a relationship becomes strained, or I’m treated unfairly. Acting like a perpetual victim is not only unattractive, but a terrible way to carry oneself. As Kevin once said, “the ‘poor me’ mentality is so beneath you!” I sometimes feel others take advantage of my dispostion and mistake my kindness for naivite, but I’ve stopped letting it get to me.

With that slice of information, perhaps you can better understand why I haven’t considered the past five Christmases to be all that rewarding. On Christmas Day 2004, I went with my sister and parents to see “The Aviator.” When presented with heavy traffic on Highway 17, my dad yelled out the window, “Go home, everybody! Get out of my way!” Earlier that day, we went to St. Joseph’s Catholic Shrine on the beach and had brunch at Peachwoods Restaurant. For reasons still unknown to me, the male waiter called me Britney Spears. I saw the same server today and he poked fun at me again, this time saying, “Look at you with your peppermint ice cream. You just think you can get whatever you want, don’t you?”

“Of course,” I replied.

During the Christmas season six years ago, I was a high school junior, and I was enamored by a young classmate named Kevin. He knew it, and while he told my friends that he found me cute and funny, he was unsure he wanted to date me. So I took the risk of sending him one of those candy grams and mistletoe that student government was selling. Soon after that, Kevin gave me a shot. So Christmas 2004 was all around awesome.

And this Christmas was phenomenal. I saw my best childhood friend the other day. Last night, I hung out with my brother, his wife, and their kids. I gave their nanny, Mary a big hug. Mary is a 23-year-old Colombian import, and she’s definitely the sweetest person I have ever met in this world. When I told her that, she started crying and thanked me for making her feel so happy on Christmas. After all, her family is in Colombia and her boyfriend lives in Florida. If I lived in California, I’d hang out with Mary more often because she has the warmest heart of anyone I’ve come across. Just being around her gives me hope for the rest of society.

As always, the nephews were hilarious, and they even gave their remote control Buzz Light Year toy a time out because “he kept running into the wall.”

This morning, I woke up to several awesome Christmas gifts, one of which was an iPad. I was very taken aback by this present, which I suggested a few months back because I thought it’d be a useful tool for work. I’ll definitely be using it on the metro, on the weekends, and when I’m too lazy to turn on my laptop. I know, me and my first world problems. To be fair, my brother Mikey purchased an iPad for our brother Kevin, so I’m not the only sibling to be in possession of one! My mom also got me a blanket/bathrobe thing, which I’m wearing as I type this post.

Later on, my mom and I went to see “How Do You Know,” which was cute and very realistic. Though the film was a bit too slow for my liking, the characters were easy to relate to. I did, however, despise Owen Wilson’s role as a two-timing, shallow, vapid rich dude. He has set of about 20 unopened toothbrushes in his bathroom as well as multiple pink sweaters in different sizes to choose from, implying that he sleeps with tons of women.

“Can you believe the nerve of this guy?” my mom asked.

“Well, at least he provides his one-night-stands with clothing and toothbrushes. Most men with that personality type would never be that thoughtful or generous.”

Hilarious. “How Do You Know” isn’t worth your time, but it certainly has some captivating characters.

Yesterday, my mom and I had an interesting discussion in line at Trader Joe’s. We laughed about the fact that the women in our family are often scolded for apparently making faces and having sullen looks. It’s been a problem for all of us, especially in school. Like I said, we wear our emotions a lot more than we recognize.

An old hippie guy behind us said, “It’s a good thing you’re expressive. Your inner chokra comes through. I used to be a mime, so I know all about animated faces.”

This is one of the great things about being raised in northern California. People are unusual and open to talking to anyone at any time. I kind of wish there were weirder people in DC, which has its fair share of crazies, but not necessarily funny eccentric folk. I miss all the weirdos I’d see singing and dancing on the streets of Santa Cruz. I miss the warmth of the gay men I’d encounter in San Francisco. And of course I miss Peets Coffee and quality Mexican cuisine of California.

I hope Christmas treated all of you right this year. The month of January is never all that great, so enjoy the holiday season while it lasts!