I’m back from Champaign, where I hadn’t been in two years. I saw some presentations at the conference, met some of my co-workers in person for the first time (most of them, actually), and got some good work done.
In addition, I also saw pals both old and new. I stayed with Dave T and his wife, had lunch with Caparoon, and played games with Dave, Rob, Kyle, and Mike.
I visited some old standbys, too. We had lunch at Dos Reales and dinner at Zorba’s (no Jupiter’s this time). Stopped in the Dragon’s Pile and the Armored Gopher. Drove past our old house. It was a nice visit.
It made me sad in a way, though. It’s a nice place, with a lot to offer, and I have some good friends and memories there, but I also know I wasted a lot of my time there being miserable. I lived there for ten years and over them accumulated a lot of my “worst ____ ever”s, which was more a product of circumstance than geography (though not completely).
Usually when I go back to C-U I just hitch rides with Dave and Vicky, but this time I got a car, since I didn’t know what my schedule would be like, with the conference and all. There’s definitely a bigger nostalgia hit when driving, feeling the muscle memory kick in while going from point A to B, even if many of the landmarks have changed. (The Darth Maul Buffet is gone, for example).
I actually liked being in the office, for a change. I was able to concentrate and get things done, and it was nice having perpetual coffee made by someone else. (On the other hand, it’s a good thing my house doesn’t have a snack machine in it.) My temporary cubicle even had a window — the first time I’d had such a treat there.
I had a good time, but I’m glad to be back in my home with my wife and my dog and my stuff.