How to begin a blog? I’m familiar with blogging, having done it rather steadily before, but, like my dating life, it’s been a while. So I suppose this counts as our first date. I wish I had known, I would’ve put on something other than these baggy purple shorts and a paint-splattered tank-top.

So, hello. Thanks for asking me out. This is great. I like wine, sure. If you want to know more about me, you can click on that fancy, convenient tab above that says “About Kaitlin.” In case you already forgot or if you’re so nervous on our date because baggy purple shorts really do it for you, I’m Kaitlin.

Instead of continuing with this played-out date metaphor, allow me to tell you a grand story, full of Christmas magic, a hint of Christ-like love, and a healthy dosage of “What the hell?”

Picture it: December 12th, 2010.

I had just finished my Independent American Cinema final and I was free at last! I headed back to my apartment and called my friend, K-Hi. We had been planning our “Friend Christmas” for many a week, and on that night, Austin was our oyster. We agreed she was going to pick me up at around 6:30 and that we were going to go to Thai Kitchen, our favorite place. Even writing it out makes me crave their steamed veggie dumplings.

I piddled around my apartment for a couple of hours, losing track of time on the internet and then scrambled to clean up the evidence of a week spent studying; mainly copious amounts of used coffee cups and empty Diet Coke cans. I gathered all the components of her Christmas present and put them in a pretty blue snowflake bag that I had bought a few days ago at the Dollar Store. I realized I had no tissue paper to speak of, so I filled it with some empty grocery bags so that she couldn’t peek in and spoil her Christmas surprise.

I ran and changed into a nice outfit and actually did my hair and makeup. All of these things are strictly luxuries during finals, when I more resemble a homeless zombie than a human being, but I digress. K-Hi arrived and I ran out to hop in her corolla, resisting the urge to jump and click my heels together because I was so happy that friend Christmas had finally arrived! When I got to the car I saw a blue snowflake bag sitting in the passenger seat. It was the exact same bag that her present was in, back upstairs in my apartment. I was speechless for a bit, but gradually regained my composure amidst the greetings and the “You look cute!” portions of our conversation. I told her about the bag coincidence and we laughed, once again marveling about how our lives are so similar. We quickly forgot about the twin snowflakes when the conversation turned to the promise of dumplings and hot-hot bird pepper.

We made our way the 1.5 blocks to Thai Kitchen and were bummed when someone else had taken our usual booth. We may or may not frequent Thai Kitchen on average of every 3 or 4 days, but again, I digress. We were seated at a table by the window and as we started pouring over the expansive and enticing menu, we noticed that we had arrived in the land of Awkward Dates. Directly behind me were two older professor-type men who were seemingly on a Man-Date and were thoroughly enjoying their mind-numbing conversation on everything from when one of them would return from Israel to lawn care.

Near the Professors was a couple of freshman. They looked neither cute nor comfortable together and K-Hi almost had a heart attack trying to suppress her laughter when the boy tried to grab the girl’s hand and she resisted by playing with a straw wrapper. She also giggled incessantly. We ate our delicious meals in spite of these strange people who had crawled out from their caves to howl at the moon and nibble substantial amounts of Thai food.

After paying our bill and waddling to the car (One has not properly experienced Thai Kitchen if one can walk normally to the car) we decided we could squeeze in a drop or two of frozen yogurt. We sat in two small, squat chairs by the front of the yogurt shop and talked and giggled until the sad moment when there was no more yogurt. Our spirits were revived, however, when we remembered a gift exchange waited for us at my apartment.

We entered my apartment and I immediately pointed out the bag, exactly the same as hers. We stared at them together for a reverent moment, pondering what it could all mean. Then I took a picture.

It is seriously disturbing. And seriously cute.

Then we decided that we needed a silly picture together, but that involved figuring out how to use the self-timer on my camera which took an inordinate amount of time and only worked once, to give us (and now the internet) this gem:

This shouldn't have seen the light of day.

She’s the cute one and that’s all I’m going to say about that because there are important things like presents to talk about!

We sat down and decided the most diplomatic way to open presents was to take turns pulling items out of the bag. She went first after she apologized for having mismatched tissue paper and I apologized for not having tissue paper. K-Hi pulled out her first gift, which was a pointsetta kitchen scrubber. Which was twice lovely for her as she adores both seasonal items and kitchenware. Then I reached in and my first gift was a super-cute snowflake-themed oven mitt which was twice lovely as I adore seasonal things and kitchenwares. We weren’t quite aware of the irony yet as she plunged in for another gift. She pulled out a glass wine stopper with an etched “K” and was excited because she had “been needing a wine stopper!” I laughed and told her how she had admired it in Steinmart when we went shopping on Black Friday and I had sneakily grabbed it and added it to my merchandise.

She started laughing and told me to pull out my next present, the smaller one. I reached in and emerged with a beautiful necklace with a treble clef charm. She had bought it on Black Friday in JC Penney while I wasn’t looking. For those keeping score at home, that is twice we’ve gifted one another thematically similar things. And then there’s the snowflake gift bag which, frankly, still blows my mind.

She then opened her next gift- a packet of Gingerbread flavored coffee that I had bought for her from the annual Christmas craft show at my church in my hometown. “Is this from Heartwarming?” She questioned, excited as we love this particular brand of flavored coffee as well as Heartwarming Christmas, the craft show. She had been unable to go this year due to a scheduling conflict.

I opened my next gift then and it was a bottle of Basil Parmesan dipping oil from a brand of sauces and marinades that we love. She had bought it at a Christmas craft show in Austin which I was unable to attend this year because I was sick.

Can we all just let this sink in for a moment? Isn’t this all so freaky? There were a couple other knickknacks exchanged, but I still can’t get over how creepily parallel our gift exchange was. I’m not sure if we were picking up signals of what the other was giving us, or if we just know each other’s interests that well, or if we were each buying for ourselves and giving to the other. I’m not sure.

I’m sorry this is so long. I tend to get nervous on first dates and then I start to blather.

Merry Christmas!

-Kaitlin

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