I’m usually pretty well-traveled during breaks from school, but these last three weeks have been record-breaking.
I don’t know what happened to December—all I know is that not-so-long-ago, I was cozy in my little house with my little Christmas tree, resolving to luxuriate in the holidays to make up for the last three years of Christmases that—coming just days after the end of paper-writing and sometimes even before the end of paper-grading—have taken me by surprise and passed me by too quickly.
And I did enjoy Christmas. Ricky and I exchanged small mountains of strange and humorous things—I received a bear necklace that I’ve been coveting ever since I saw it on jewelry-icon Skaalastic and some plastic wildlife—and Ricky’s mom, who, after raising three boys, seems to take great pleasure in buying things for girls, spoiled all of the girlfriends, again, with novelty socks and kitchen things. Ricky’s grandmother totally surprised me with an amazing vegan cookbook—I’m vegetarian, not vegan, but I like to avoid animalish things whenever possible and the recipes look great. I already made the spicy tempeh sushi and it was so good.
Everything after Christmas has been kind of a blur. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to overcome my end-of-the-semester burnout quickly enough to get some work done, which led to many guilty shell-hunting days at the beach before I gave in, read some books for fun, ate sparkly donuts and sipped my favorite coffee, and then finally found the words that have been eluding me.
In Florida, I read The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, which is kind of like Big Love + historical fiction. My mom bought it in England, so the copy I read had the added bonus of intermittent Galaxy chocolate ads. It was ok; fun and kind of trashy but probably nothing that will stay with me.
Here in North Carolina, I finally read The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, I love this book. Everyone has been telling me that I would love it, and I’m so glad that I read it before seeing the movie—which I will see now, even though I know it won’t be the same. I cried in the tub at the end.
Ricky and I will start the drive back to Madison tomorrow afternoon. 3000 miles in three weeks and I just want to stay somewhere for a while. The only problem is that I don’t exactly know where I’d want to stay. Not here, because I miss my house and my other life; not really there, either, since I’ll miss everyone who I was able to see because of these mad travels.
Reentry is always so difficult. I try to ease it every year by planning various adjustments to my domestic life—new paint colors, different furniture arrangements, mixing in recently acquired souvenirs. I wandered into a new store in Chapel Hill yesterday–an Anthropologie kind of place, except with actual antiques and even more ridiculous prices. They had the most marvelous displays–all mercury glass and quail eggs, worn oriental rugs and heaps of quilts. It made me think of Hyperbolic and her own curatorial knack, and also of what I could do with my own space. I’m looking forward to some tinkering—and some new jars full of shells—and that will have to carry me through the next few days, those first lonely weeks before I settle into the routine of my quiet home.
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