Jeremy Davis ’06, who went home for Easter with Rebecca Rapple ’06, found himself hitting his usual stride as he set out with his usual drive to win the Rapple egg-dying contest. After this past Thanksgiving dinner, Julia Pudlin ’06 found her 90-year-old grandmother out of her walker, nurse by her side, being taught by Ricardo Cortes ’06 how to salsa. Hannah Oberman-Breindel ’06 was just glad she had someone to laugh with her about “how crazy her family was” as she took part in her own family’s Passover seder.
Over the past two weeks, many Yalies have taken advantage of the opportunity to leave the Elm City and return home to celebrate Passover or Easter. Some students are fortunate to live close enough to make for an easy trip home. Many other students, however, find themselves a plane ride away from their family celebrations. But some of these students end up with a unique experience: they go home with friends for the holidays and are adopted into fun, quirky and sometimes embarrassing family traditions.
Most students who brought friends home for the holidays said their parents were very excited to have guests and were constantly encouraging them to bring as many people as they wanted. Rapple said her parents were determined to make Davis feel at home, and Davis said they definitely succeeded.
Davis, a Floridian native, woke up Easter morning to find that his Easter basket had a tropical Floridian theme.
“The consideration they showed for me and for the fact that I was far from home was amazing,” said Davis. “They were definitely successful in making me feel like I was part of a meaningful Easter.”
Pudlin said that when she brings friends, especially male friends, home for the holidays, her parents often get excited for different reasons.
“My parents always want me to marry whatever nice, Jewish boy I bring home,” she said.
Oberman-Breindel added that bringing friends home for the holidays always has its risks.
“My cousin always asks [my friends] how the ‘boys’ are and what’s going on,” Oberman-Breindel said.
Bringing friends home for the holidays can sometimes be intimidating for the host. Most students said they are always slightly embarrassed by some of the goings-on of their family, yet most found that their friends dove right into it.
“Sometimes I think people might be a little weirded out by my family’s singing at Passover,” Pudlin said, “but they always seem to respond well.”
Rapple’s family simply initiated Davis into their ranks and treated him like one of the family.
“My grandmother even told Jeremy to have a cup of Bailey’s with a dash of coffee,” Rapple said.
Other students went home with friends to celebrate holidays other than their own. Chancellor Carlisle ’05 was fortunate enough to celebrate two holidays in one week, travelling to a friend’s house for Easter the Sunday after he spent his first Passover seder with his roommate, Josh Yelsey ’05.
Carlisle said the experience was not only fun and entertaining but informative and interesting.
“It was a pretty unique deal,” Carlisle said, “but I felt very welcomed. It was fun, and awesome that I was able to go and be a part of it. It was fun learning about the meal and why you’re eating what, the symbolic importance of the food.”
Carlisle also said he was at first surprised that he was invited to celebrate with Yelsey’s family, but he ended up enjoying the experience.
“I think one of the best things about college is meeting people from different areas, going to their houses, and meeting their families,” Carlisle said.
Finally, Carlisle, like most students, said he was very appreciative of the hospitality, the food and the experience in general.
“I was extremely grateful and very thankful to visit my friends [and their families],” Carlisle said. “I found it absolutely gracious of them to invite college students to their house and feed us absolutely wonderful food. It was absolutely worth the hour’s drive.”