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Creating new Easter traditions

Students share experience celebrating on campus

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Creating new Easter traditions

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

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Chocolate bunnies, hidden eggs and slow roasted, home-cooked hams are the reality for most Marquette students when Easter break rolls around.

But for a select few, whether their home is far away or they have other commitments and don’t travel home, Easter is spent in a lonely dorm or apartment on a campus that’s reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic scene.

This Easter break, campus seemed like a club without meetings or get-togethers. Instead, students that stayed on campus unknowingly sat in isolation, sometimes only a thin wall away, and waited for the return of the rigid yet surprisingly welcome routine of a typical school week.

Even though Russell Lee, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, and Danny Botero, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, had extremely different backgrounds, their campus experiences were surprisingly similar.

Botero is from Miami, so home is almost 1500 miles by car and a $300 round-trip plane ticket. He chose to go home just a few weeks ago for spring break, so coming home again for Easter would have been a bit exhaustive for his bank account.

“Campus was really empty,” he said. “Saturday night the 10 or so kids in Straz were all hanging out by the DR’s office. It was really funny.”

Botero had never missed a holiday with his family before, a feeling he described as odd. He said he felt the holiday had just passed or never happened.

“Saturday night, I was awake until 9 a.m. (playing video games),” he said. “Sunday, I went to the beach. Not a typical Easter.”

His normal Easter at home consists of a morning mass, something he repeated in Milwaukee by attending a service at Gesu, an Easter lunch, which he replaced with the beach and Bel-Air tacos, and a night of family bonding that was swapped with “Overwatch,” “Counter-Strike” and a casual stroll around the Joan of Arc chapel.

Botero found a way to bring home up north. He kept his mass schedule, devoured Bel-Air’s rice and beans (a typical Easter fare for his family) and had one more surprising element on his side.

“(We) got really lucky with the weather. In Miami, we always have Easter t-shirts and shorts; normally you would have to have a vest or something up here,” he said.

So, while there were differences abound, at least the Milwaukee weather cooperated and gave him a small taste of the life he was missing back home.

Miami might seem far, but for Lee, it’s a drop in the Easter basket. That’s because he’s from Malaysia, 9,000 miles West, and he still hasn’t returned home since he left on his brave new adventure last August.

“It sucks missing holidays,” he said. “Chinese New Year is a strong holiday we all celebrate back home. We have family dinners, house hop, get gifts. You feel left out, especially seeing all the pictures on Instagram and Snapchat.”

Lee too said he feels like the holidays just pass by. Of course, he’s aware they exist, it’s just a more distant feeling. But, he’s gotten used to that feeling by trekking through the winter, fall and spring breaks. For that, he thanks the strong group of friends he’s built.

“I’ve never spent a holiday by myself,” he said. “My schedule is pretty consistent during break because of work, and when I didn’t have work, I hung out with my friends to talk or watch TV.”

Lee has discovered the secret group of break holdovers to bide the time, and interestingly, they’ve made his Easter a lot more fascinating.

“(In the United States) there is a bigger Christian community, so there’s a bigger focus on Christian holidays,” he said. In Malaysia, he just went to church, and in the U.S., more traditions are celebrated, such as egg hunting.

“It’s better celebrated here,” Lee said.

However, he had never heard of the art Botero brought up, throwing painted eggs at other people for a kind of primitive enjoyment. In fact, he was horrified.

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