Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Returning Home

This week, I went back to work. June 21st was more than just the Summer Solstice for me this year. It was the day my recent life took a step in the normal direction. I was excited to return to my job. It's not glamorous or particularly prestigious, but I love it. And I love the people I work with. I really lucked out with my position in the Social Research Institute in the College of Social Work. My bosses in SRI held my job for me for 6 months while I was too sick to work. My colleagues in the CSW donated their vacation hours to me so I could get paid while I was out. They donated so many hours, I was set up to get paid for nearly 6 months, and Jennifer had to turn people away because so many hours had already been donated.

I didn't get much work done on Monday. It was my first day back and Norma wanted to hold a "Welcome Back Coffee Hour" for me. I don't drink coffee but who was I to deny her? She seemed so excited to have me back... so we had a coffee hour. People came down and ate bagels and put hazelnut flavoring in their coffee and made the SRI lobby smell fantastic. And we talked and I answered questions and had people look at me with a look that spoke more of amazement than pity. The rest of the afternoon consisted of those who couldn't come to the coffee hour stopping by my desk to say mostly the same things: CSW employee "Sarah! It's so nice to have you back! You look great!" Me: "Thank you! It' really so nice to be back." Tuesday continued much the same, except for this time there was no coffee hour or hazelnut flavoring.

Today I took a FedEx package to the drop box in BEH next door to my office. As I walked through BEH, and past Psych bulletin boards and Chronie stands, I realized how much I had truly missed being on campus. I had spent all day everyday on the U of U campus for the past two years, and it had felt strange when I got sick because I wasn't there all the time. I didn't realize how strange it was until I actually returned. It was like returning home. If I could maneuver it, I would walk all the way around campus. I'd visit every building: The old, graceful buildings of President's Circle, the mid-century gems of OSH and MBH, the more recent, modern WEB and LNCO. I'd spend time in the Union, eat at Chartwell's and visit all my friends in ASUU. I haven't seen the office since all the new furniture has been in... I'd go hang out in the library and saunter around UMFA and take in the art. But I don't have the energy to climb the hills and stairs of my fair campus yet, so I'll have to wait. In the meantime, I'll walk downhill past the Field House to the TRAX station, and gaze at the football stadium and dream of September, and the day I can walk up HPER Highway again.

Nine hours at work doesn't feel so long anymore. I'm home. Home sweet home.