Where the Lovelight Gleams

23 Dec

If you guys are getting this post, that means that I am on a plane somewhere over the Pacific heading east. Yes, I’m coming home for Christmas. Yes, I realize this is a little sudden, given the nature of my last post.

See, on Wednesday, I was writing “Christmas Abroad” and grumbling. I hadn’t had class this week and next week was looking less and less likely. “If only I had known ahead of time,” I muttered self-righteously to myself, “I could be at home right now instead of planning a truly depressing Christmas Eve.” (It involved a case or two of Great Wall red wine, lots of chocolate, and Planet Earth.)

And that’s when the treacherous little voice in the back of my head piped up. “You know, it’s still possible to get to NY before Christmas Eve,” it said enticingly.

I squashed the idea. “Shut up. I’m just feeling depressed and that’s crazy talk.”

Come on, there’s nothing going on here except you killing your liver.” It said matter of factly. “It’s not like you have class or finals next week. Hell, your advisor wouldn’t even miss you.”

I sat at my desk, pondering. “That’s true. I could probably catch a flight to Beijing and take the non-stop to Newark. A couple of hours on a train and I could be in Port Jeff before midnight.”

“See? You could go to midnight Mass, see your friends, eat real food, and be back before New Year’s. There’s nothing really keeping you here,” my brain said.

I had visions of Christmas turkey. Steak. Dairy. “Mmm, that does sound good — shut up shut up, that’s the self-pity talking and I won’t stand for it.” I resolutely went back to editing the post and trying to tone down the homesickness/whining. No one likes a complainer.

The little voice kept up the very logical rationalizations in favor of going home over the next few hours. “If you don’t even try, you’ll hate yourself for it later,” it said smugly, aware this was the final nail in the coffin.

I cracked. I called home and laid out all my reasoning and half-baked plans for Dad. “So basically, I just need you to tell me that this is all crazy person talk and I should stop thinking about it.”

This is all crazy person talk and you should stop thinking about it.” He replied promptly. “Now hang on a minute, let me check the flight loads.”

I feel this is pretty self-evident, but I really love my parents. When my family wants something done, it gets done. Within four hours of my call home, I had bought myself a ticket to Beijing and my mom had listed me space-available on Continental Flight 88. The only hesitation was on my part, when I talked it over with Katia a little. (I did not acquit myself well. There were tears.)

My mom was very understanding. “You sounded a little homesick in your last blog post.” She said bluntly.

It’s true. It’s been a long couple of months here in Chengdu and I need the mental health break. I need to hug my parents, go shopping with my sister, joke with my brother, bake something toxicly sweet, and watch my favorite movies on the beat up living room couch with my friends. Despite this, there is the lingering sense of guilt. That I am cheating, that I should tough it out and stay, that it’s somehow not fair that I can go home on a whim. I am ruthlessly suppressing that sort of negative thinking, because Thor-dammit, I want to be home for Christmas and there is nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. I have paid my dues and I am calling in my credits; this year, I am going to home for Christmas.

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2 Responses to “Where the Lovelight Gleams”

  1. Karen December 24, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Nothing wrong with making a quick decision and acting on it. I’m so glad you decided to go home. You were sounding a little down when we talked the other day. Maybe we can Skype on Christmas day. Love and hugs,
    Gramma

  2. cathi December 24, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    It’s the Catholic part of you…. guilt….why oh why do we torment ourselves with guilt? I wanted to skip the last day of training and a guy in the class… he called it integrity. I disagree. Glad you are coming home. Wish my boys were but then, they are only in Ann Arbor and I saw them last weekend. Have fun!

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