Spring break is one of those times of the year that every college student looks forward to. We can practically smell the sand and the salty air of Mexico and we cannot wait to fall asleep listening to the rolling waves and the swaying palm trees. I hate to break it to you, but few of us actually make it to the beaches of Mexico no matter how cheap the ticket prices are and how many promotional emails we get.
Instead, most of us go home, visit the family, and hang out with the cats and the dogs and the goldfish. It’s usually too short of a break to make any money, so we enjoy ourselves for once and binge all our favorite movies and tv shows with a big bowl of popcorn sprinkled with Mochi Crunch and Nori.
But for some of us, home is pretty far away. Sometimes this means that we stay in the dorms during breaks, or we go on adventures with our friends, or we visit family in states that are a lot closer than home sweet home.
My brother, Daniel, moved to Butte, Montana, for college, and in that beautiful state full of open skies and snow as far as the eye can see, Miss Katie went to visit her country-western-turned brother.
The adventure started as I took a shuttle to the airport. It picked me up at the front steps of Parson’s Hall, the driver loaded my luggage into the van for me, the seats were comfortable, and the ride was smooth sailing all the way!
From the Missoula airport, my brother and I stopped for lunch before heading to set up a temporary corral for the ranch he works at in Deer Lodge. “Katie,” he said, “we’re going to be cowboys today!” Indeed, the plan when we got home was to watch John Wayne in The Cowboys, but we were just too tuckered out. By the time we got home, both of us fell asleep on the couch as soon as we took our shoes off.
So, we saved The Cowboys for another day, woke up bright and early the next morning, and headed out to the ranch to collect some horses. Some very friendly horses who associated my brother’s truck with food!
The horses would have climbed right into the cab of the truck if we had let them! My brother and I hopped out of the truck, him with a bucket of oats in his hand to collect the horses, and me to fend off the invaders so they wouldn’t damage “Sven” (no, seriously, my brother’s last truck was named Olaf). It was 7 degrees outside, and for a whole five minutes, I felt like I was an icicle. Now I know why the horses wanted to jump into the truck so bad—they weren’t hungry, they were cold!
Since Daniel was still in school while I was on break, I spent a few days just hanging out. I did some homework, watched some of my new favorite shows, and ate some of my brother’s world-class cooking. My mom sent us cookies to munch on, and the tub of green shortbread was almost empty by the end of the week—yum!
My brother and I make a pretty good team when it comes to food—he cooks and I bake. But with him doing all the cooking, my trip couldn’t be completed without baking with our family friend, Nancy, and her puppies, Pepper and Mystic. Pepper must know I have a Brittney Spaniel at home, (queue picture of Freckles) because as soon as I walked in the door, he smiled right at me and wiggled his whole body so much I thought he would fall off the chair he was sitting on!
All day long, through baking pies and two sets of cookies, the dogs traded places on their favorite green chair, each piercing me with their pleading, “Pet me! Pet me!” eyes. The would sit on my feet while I was mixing dough and follow me to and from the oven with each and every tray of cookies.
How did our confections turn out, you ask? Splendidly! You have not lived until you have tried Nancy’s apple cranberry pie or tasted caramel maple cookies fresh out of the oven!
At the end of the week, I said goodbye to my brother and hopped on a plane back to Seattle. I took another shuttle and was back in the dorms in time for classes on Monday morning. No, I didn’t go to Mexico, and I didn’t hang out on the beach, but I returned to Saint Martin’s with my mind and my spirits recharged after spending time with animals galore and people who make me laugh so much it hurts!
Until next time, Montana! I’ll be back again soon!