Daniel’s friends asked him to officiate their wedding in Lakeland last weekend, so we flew down to Florida for the first time in a long time (in fact, Daniel hadn’t been back since we moved over a year ago). It was a weekend of reunions and reminiscences.
Though most of the people we hung out with are Daniel’s friends and family, I did get the chance to see my friend, Amanda, in Orlando for an hour or so.
Seeing old friends is a great reminder of the progress we’ve made. We think our lives are boring until we’re forced to summarize them to people who no longer experience our routines firsthand, alongside us. Everything is reanimated. We defend, reflect, reconsider. We begin to see ourselves as the protagonist in a grand narrative like we did when we were young and dreaming. We see each other through new eyes. We see we’ve grown up.
As we drove along the wide Florida roads, I realized that Virginia really feels like home, maybe more than Florida ever did. I am swaddled in the mountains, set at ease by this community. Life is richer here.
All I need now is for my Florida friends to move to Virginia. That would be heaven.
After I heard that my friend Gillian was flying to England to surprise her mom for her birthday, I decided it’d be perfect to surprise my sister by showing up for her college graduation in Jacksonville, Florida.
I’d been homesick for awhile anyway, and with a new job that provides generous personal leave, everything fell into place. I boarded a plane from Charlottesville last Friday morning and arrived in Jacksonville (after a bout of nausea, serious sinus pressure, and a nearly missed connecting flight) before 11 am, just in time to catch Jenny before extended family arrived. Even though my dad had explicitly mentioned my name in connection to weekend events the day before, Jenny didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, she called me while I was in the grocery store parking lot 5 minutes from the house to talk to me about post-graduation plans.
We enjoyed post-graduation hors d’oeuvres courtesy of our mother,
spent some time relaxing and shopping on Saturday,
and hung out with my Florida friends (and the kitten) on Sunday afternoon.
It was a wonderful, albeit brief, trip home. I’m so glad I survived my first time flying alone to see loved ones and enjoy the Florida weather. Congratulations, Jennifer!