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We have returned from nearly a week of traveling. We left Sunday morning for my mother-in-law’s, and then on Monday went from there on to my folks’ place, and stayed there for four days. We left crack o’dawn Friday morning, got back to town in enough time to stop by the store for the rest of our organizational needs and groceries, and then finally pulled in to our apartment parking lot around 5:00 Friday evening. Whew.

Carl woke up this morning and immediately dove into the rearranging. Me, I’m still puttering about in my pajamas. I haven’t really fully woken up yet, and even when I have, it always takes me a few days to ease back into activity after traveling. I’m trying to get myself moving more quickly though, for his sake. As tempting as it is to let him do all the work while I laze around on the computer and maybe get a few loads of laundry done, that is so not fair to him.

It was a wonderful time with family and friends, though I’m immensely glad to be home again now with no plans of travel at all for the rest of the this semester. Carl and I had lunch with one of my oldest and dearest friends, who is one of Carl’s closest friends as well, and whom I haven’t seen in 2 1/2 years (and only for a brief meal then). It was good, good, good to have two hours to spend in our old favorite eating place (where the staff remembered us even though it’s been over ten years since we all moved away), laughing and talking about real things, skipping over any preliminaries like getting reacquainted and instead talking about things big and small and finishing each other’s sentences like it’d been two days instead of two years. Can’t even express how grounded that one meeting made me, how it helped me settle into my own skin again. I’ve made many wonderful friendships in the 10 1/2 years since Carl and I married, and I’ve grown and changed in so many ways, but there’s something about old friendships, and being reminded of your roots, that is hugely important and necessary even as you deepen and stretch and move forward.

Being with family was good, too. Some years it’s been hard to balance the person I’ve become against the person my family still sees me as, but it was much more settled this visit. I didn’t feel like I was chafing under a skin that no longer fits, and they didn’t seem as disconcerted when I said or did something that didn’t fit with their old perceptions of me. There were still hard parts, stuff I can’t share even on a blog which virtually nobody reads because it’s not mine to share, but overall, it was good.

And now we’re home. Settling back into a routine that’s been off since … well, pretty much since Thanksgiving. Regular school days starting Monday. Piano lessons to start again soon, as Joy’s teacher is due to come back from Australia this week. Violin lessons also to start Monday (eek!). A completely re-organized and mostly re-arranged apartment to make the new year fresh. Writing to accomplish and new goals to keep in mind as I go through my days. A new semester for Carl, new classes and assignments and books and papers and everything else along with it. A plan to be more neighborly in general.

Life, in all its glorious simplicity and routine, to pick back up. It sounds like bliss right about now.