The small things
Crimson peppermint candle, new Over the Rhine CD playing softly, music from Lizzie's TV upstairs, cozy slippers (also red), desk lamp glowing brightly, stacks of half-finished and yet-to-be-started books on the desk. (I'm trying not to buy any more books until I've read at least a couple of these.) Peppermint hot chocolate in my stomach. Hours of talk tonight with Lizzie, about weddings, siblings, friends, a dog called Mayday, and other randomness. Wind and rain on a chilly night, and the prospect of a walk or bike ride into town tomorrow.
My three weeks in Texas were amazing. Chaotic, but fun and chock-full of family and dear friends. Scrabble with Jon by the fire; chatting to Adam about his new life in Seattle; coffee with Walker; lunch at the Hickory Street cafe with Julie S. Breakfast with Dawne, dinner with the Danleys, four days in Ruidoso with my family, a whole week and a half with my beloved J. I miss him already, though it's only two months of separation this time (he's coming for Spring Break). And a bit of me, as ever, misses the close-knit family at Highland and dinners at Rosa's and lunches at Los Arcos.
But I am back in my own cosy room, no longer living out of a suitcase, and ready for a new semester full of plans and dreams. New ACU group arriving with Cole on Thursday; Jacque comes in this weekend; St Aldates is still here and as vibrant as ever. And it will soon be time to bury myself in schoolbooks again. Meanwhile it's high time I had a browse in Blackwells and a scone at Queen's Lane.
I so enjoyed the visit back to my Texas home - my past and future. But for a while longer at least, Oxford is my present, and it's good to be back.
Let the new year begin!