No matter what you do for a living, there are two days on the job that stand out as some of the worst: the day before you leave to go on vacation … and the day you come back.
Today, I am the victim of the latter.
I walked into my office this morning in a great mood — unusually bushy-tailed and chipper from my days of traveling — and was met with a mountain of emails and a voicemail icon that was blinking so fast it looked like a strobe light.
Back to work. Sigh …
In the course of my adventures I drove nearly 1,600 miles and passed through nine states. It was just me and my boys, 5-year-old Ben and 2-year-old Sam, and a portable DVD player that showed Disney’s “Moana” on a loop — which, if you’re interested, is actually a really cute movie. (The first time you see it.)
We had our ups, like when we came over the hill on I-75 at the perfect time to see the Detroit skyline lit up at dusk. We had our downs, like when the person backed into my parked car at a hotel in West Virginia and didn’t leave a note.
We fed ripped up pieces of bread to thousands of carp at the Pymatuning Lake Spillway in Pennsylvania and we had Slip ‘n Slide contests in Capac, Michigan.
We had lunch in Ann Arbor and dodged jeering Wolverine fans whilst wearing our Spartan best.
We barbecued, we got sunburned, we watched fireworks and we ran around barefoot in my mom’s backyard without the fear of fire-ants.
And ten days later, I’m sitting at my desk with only one thought repeating in my head: I want to go back.
The whole time I was up there my Mother kept pointing out houses for sale or rent in her area. She in a (not so) subtle way had copies of her local paper laid out on the coffee table (Look Kasie, they’re hiring!) and she laid on the guilt about only seeing her grandsons once a year in a way that only a Jewish mom can.
She talked up the local school districts, she pointed out my husband works remotely so his business wouldn’t suffer by a relocation and she tearfully talked me into leaving Sunday instead of the planned Saturday.
It was really hard to leave.
One thing I’ve noticed since living in South Carolina is that a lot of the people I meet are from here. I mean, not only did they grow up here — but their whole family is here too — and they always have been. I wonder if they know how lucky they are?
Sure, living close to your people can have some negative aspects as well, I imagine having everybody in each other’s business all the time would grow old, but I guarantee it’s better than the alternative.
It’s weird, I just spent almost two weeks with all of them and now I’m more homesick than I was before I left.
Oh well, only 364 more days to go …
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.