Instead of going home for Christmas, I opted to stay in DC. Just much easier, really -- between the time change, arranging flights, and the hassle of taking leave, staying put seemed a much happier and relaxing choice. Hawaii is an awfully long way away, and I have enough travelling ahead of me as it is.
The 'not taking leave' part was interesting. Since I wasn't vacating the DC area, I was allowed to keep receiving my salary just so long as I did work-related study at home ('self-study' as we call it). This consisted of watching Japanese news in the morning, reading the Washington Post everyday in its entirety, and cat-sitting for some fellow FSI classmates. I know, I know... go ahead and say it: your tax dollars at work. Honestly, if there had been work to do, I would have done it. Really.
In the spirit of self-study, I thought I should get out and see a bit more of D.C. I hadn't really been out in the City since Thanksgiving (when the U.S. Botanical Garden's vaunted Meat Plant was blooming -- very cool, smelled like a dead possum on hot asphalt). I wouldn't say I got very far -- just out to Georgetown, which is right across the Key Bridge. PostSecrets had put up a display of submissions, and my sister and a friend and I went. It turned out to be quite a pleasant way to pass an evening, and the walk to and from the venue was lovely. When it's warmer, I hope to go out there more often. But for now, sitting at home with a crochet project or a book is suiting me just fine... I have a feeling that when Portuguese starts, I won't be enjoying many relaxing moments.