The soft click of a flashlight turning on illuminates the formerly dark and dreary room, showing it to be decorated with ornaments and a large Christmas tree. As if on cue, the beginning strains of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” can be heard permeating through the walls. A series of Polaroids are laid out on a hardwood floor. Each has a blue background and features a different item.
Theresa: Do you like them?
Kalijah (jumping back in fright): Whoa! How long have you been there?
Theresa: Just a few seconds. Are you ready to start?
The two settle in and sit on the floor, staring at the photos on the ground.
Kalijah: So, Theresa, how old are you and what grade are you in?
Theresa: I’m 15 years old and I’m in the 10th grade.
Kalijah: What class are you taking with TPS?
Theresa: I’m taking A.P. World History.
Kalijah: Wow that sounds hard, but also like a lot of fun! Where do you live?
Theresa: I live in Northern Virginia, in Fairfax County, with my mom, dad, and sister.
Kalijah (picks up a grainy Polaroid of a worn Bible): What are your favorite Bible verses?
Theresa: Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11.
Kalijah: Oh! I love those! Do you speak any other languages besides English?
Theresa: I’m learning both Chinese and Latin.
Kalijah (puts the Bible Polaroid down and picks up a Polaroid of a stack of books): Are these some of your favorite books?
Theresa: I have a lot of favorites honestly, but I love the Mysterious Benedict Society, Jane Eyre, Unbroken, The Chronicles of Pryclain series, and Do Hard Things.
Kalijah: I love the Mysterious Benedict Society! My favorite character is Constance.
Theresa: Mine too!
Kalijah: Okay, so when you think about your future, what goals do you have?
Theresa: Well, first I want to go to college for either politics or journalism. While in college, I will play soccer. Then, I will go to play professional soccer. Then I will go and become a politician or a journalist.
Kalijah (stunned): So…you have no plan for your future at all.
Theresa (laughing): Nope!
Kalijah: What soccer teams do you want to play for?
Theresa: NWSL-Washington Spirit.
Kalijah: What position do you play?
Theresa: Mostly midfielder. Oh, and I think I forgot to tell you, but I also run cross-country and do track.
Kalijah: Oh wow, you’re really busy!! Have you ever traveled out of the country?
Theresa: Yes, I’ve been to Canada twice and to Hong Kong twice.
Kalijah (gesturing around to the colorful room): Can you tell me about your Christmas traditions?
Theresa: We don’t have any special traditions, but we do put up lights outside our house and wreaths on all the doors. We also put up our good old Christmas tree that lights up, and my sister and I decorate the tree with a bunch of ornaments a few weeks before Christmas. We hang up “stockings” above our fireplace and bring out Christmas decorations to put around the house. On Christmas Eve, my family usually attends a Christmas Eve service. On Christmas morning, my sister and I open gifts that are under the tree and play with our stuffed animals. On the evening of Christmas day, my family gets together with all my relatives on my dad’s side, and we have a Christmas dinner with board games and gift opening.
Kalijah: Aw! That sounds wonderful! What is the biggest Christmas gift that you want?
Theresa: Well, this year, I want a signed Christian Pulisic jersey, but obviously it’s probably not going to happen. So I guess a more reasonable gift request would be anything soccer related.
Kalijah: That sounds wonderful. Well, I actually have to go, but it was wonderful talking to you!
(The two walk to the door, then hug and say goodbye).
Kalijah: Happy holidays!
Theresa: Happy holidays!