I'm sipping a cup of hot chocolate that's nice and foamy thanks to a frother (that's for you, Rachel) up in Mountain Town right now. I had hoped to have a quiet Sunday at home - a chance to catch up on laundry and bills and life-business, but with 6-12 inches of snow forecasted for tonight and tomorrow, I instead did a super-fast load of laundry after church and packed up my things yet again.
I did not bring the cat. It was a Sophie's choice - the guilt over leaving her behind yet again vs. the guilt of forcing her on a car ride and forcing her spend a night with Jack and Jem. She ran for the closet when she saw me start packing, which I took to be sign that she favored Guilt Option #1.
Two-thirds of the cars I passed on the drive up here were heading down the mountain with pine-trees strapped to their roofs with bright red ropes. I've been deliberating whether to decorate for Christmas this year. I haven't for a couple of years now, since a) I'm rarely home in December and b) I'm the only one there to enjoy it. Seeing Rachel's and Jason's decked-out homes makes me want to get a little tree of my own. I just don't know when - the next time I'll have a free evening is Tuesday next week, and that's only a few days before I head home for Christmas. It's hardly a motivating amount of time.
It's been a hard week. I woke up with a headache this morning (never a good sign) and I spent quite some time trying to clean off the mascara under my eyes before I realized that nope, it's not makeup, it's just exhaustion (also never a good sign). The speech meet yesterday was plagued by a snowstorm in the morning, a vomiting sophomore, a small group of adults-in-charge who just wouldn't make decisions, and a severe lack of judges that made the meet an interminable 14-hour affair.
The students have been grumpier than usual all week, too. Not across the board and not severely so, but just enough to make sure someone was always complaining about something that was bothering them. They're ready for a break, as are all of the teachers.
I'm sure some of that grumpiness is my own projection. The jet lag made keeping spirits up harder than usual this week, plus I was fighting off some strong post-trip depression. In the past year or so I've noticed how much harder it is for me to come home from a trip. Not because of the travel itself or the exhausting go-go-go-ness of my preferred kind of vacation. It's because after getting to spend so much time with people I love - Emily and company, my parents, Jason - when I come home to my life alone I feel so much more lonely. I interact with people all day at school and at church and at outings, but even though I only had a couple of hours this week where I was awake and not working, the quiet and solitude of those hours were so much sharper after a week spent with good companionship.
I know the depression will pass. It did after previous trips, and I get to spend a good chunk of time with my family in just a few weeks. In the meantime, though, I'm trying to figure out a solution for the future. I'm certainly not going to eliminate trips like those from my life, but how do I get to spend time with my favorite people without feeling the post-trip loneliness so keenly?