As I discussed today with a friend, Thanksgiving just felt like an appetizer, a taste of a little bit of time with friends and family who don't live near me, but it left me wanting more, hungry for the main course that's just around the corner, almost three weeks of time with those loved ones. Time for more time with family, spending more time with those dear ones, not just a quick pop in and out weekend trip, and catching up with many of those I haven't seen but maybe once in the past year. Friends and family I haven't seen since that friend's wedding back in the spring, or that random weekend in the winter when we were both in town together.
I also look forward to the last few weeks here, this place that now often feels more like home to me than that other home that I moved away from almost two and a half years ago. It really feels like things are winding down, as I turned in that paper today, just a couple of simple presentations to give, a report or two to write, paperwork to finish up, and things will all be wrapped up. I'm excited, and part of me is looking forward to this festive time of year before all us students leave, attending Christmas parties, ring dunks, concerts, soaking up as much time with my family and friends here before I leave them for a few weeks.
But tonight I was reminded of some really peaceful weekends that I spent in this house when I first moved in, before my roommates moved in a month later. I'm such an extrovert, I used to never really enjoy time by myself as much as time spent with others, but that's starting to change. I found myself loving spending the days at my house, fixing breakfast, reading, journaling, cooking, cleaning, in my bright kitchen, nowhere to rush off to until I pleased, in a place that felt so alive and already so comfortable. I hope I have some more times like that in the coming weeks, some more beautiful times of peace and solitude. It's almost strange for me to write this, as I never guessed that I would enjoy that kind of solitude.
A big part of my comfort in this home comes from the fact that it's the first living arrangement since I moved down here that truly feels like it's my home just as much as my roommates. The first year, I lived with a girl who's family owned the home, so it really was her home, I was just renting the space. My second year, I rented a house with three delightful roommates, but they all knew each other much better than I knew them, and frequently had their mutual friends over, so once again, it felt like I was living in their house. But this feels like my house and it feels like our house.
Though I loved this house in the summer, the winter makes it feel so cozy and brings out a new facet of its personality. Our backyard is decorated with lights, we have a tree up in one of the living rooms, and as soon as we can get our landlady to clean our chimney, we'll start building fires! My cave of a room has no heating on its own, so I'm using two space heaters and multiple blankets to stay warm, as I listen to the rain rythmically pelt the tin roof above me and every now and then hear a critter scurry above my ceiling. This chilly room that I have to heat on my own reminds me of another place and time, like a room in a Northern European apartment, or a frontier farmhouse. Mmm, how I'd love to heat up some coals to place under my bed to keep me warm at night! For now, I'll just be thankful for my Home Depot space heater.