Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flying Home

The first time I flew home for the holidays was the first year of my PhD program, as previously I'd always lived either two hours from my home or overseas, in which case I flew home, but on odd dates.  The year before I had acquired quite the airline mileage, and so I achieved some sort of special status that automatically upgraded me to first class, where I got free drinks.  This was quite exciting until I started listening to the conversations of the other passengers ordering free drinks:

"Make it a double.  I'm headed to the family."
"I think three's the charm.  That's just what I need to deal with Aunt Lucy."
"Jack Daniels? Are you preparing to see the family as well?"

Now, I know that plenty of people have unpleasant family experiences.  But all of my fellow passengers? I was in shock.  The thing is that I love visiting my family for the holidays.  We have tasty food, and interesting conversation (we are divided politically, but respectfully), and it's a wonderful break from my normal life.  As I sipped my free Jack and Ginger, I wondered am I the only person excited to see my family? The only one who's been waiting all week to get on this plane for what will be an all-too-short visit? My grad school is supposed to be in a "family-friendly" area, shouldn't liking your family be included in that?

Perhaps this was simply an aberrance (although it happened again the next year), but it made me appreciate my family that much more.  My husband and I are flying from baladelba7th early tomorrow morning to see them for Christmas (I was also clever enough to marry a non-Christian, which means that we always get to go to my family's house for Christmas).   I'm a bit worried about the weather for some of our connections, but am looking forward to my favorite traditions of family dinners, hanging cookies on the Christmas tree, sitting by the fire with a novel, and pie for breakfast.  Most of all, I'm excited to see my family, hear their opinions, argue with them, learn from them and revel in amazement that I'll be drinking eggnog because it's delicious, not because it's necessary to deal with my family.


  1. My Ready is updated and I think this blog is very pretty. Welcome back to the land o' google! :) And I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and do not get trapped at a European connecting airport. (Some of my colleagues are also concerned.)

  2. Links promptly updated. Welcome (back) to Blogger!

    I sometimes wonder if people who throw around bitchy comments like that while ordering drinks actually mean it, or if they're just ambivalent about saying out loud that they want a lot of alcohol in their system and want to find some way to justify that desire. I don't think I've ever ordered a double anything, anywhere, any time.

    I envy you the anticipation of going home for a visit. I still feel that a little, but my family is pretty stress-inducing, and going to see them always involves steeling myself for the occasion. I have no batty Aunt Lucy; there are structural factors that contribute to the stress instead. That said, alcohol never plays a role in that for me; I have to keep my head clear for that stuff.

    Enjoy your visit!

  3. Welcome back! I've liked Blogger too when I've used it.

    Finally, now, 10 years after I first moved out, I can go home without dreading it. My family's gotten calmer, which is a big part of it; I've also had a kid, and now visits to my family are all GRANDPARENT TIEMZ!!!!, and my son's glee is infectious. With the added benefit of free babysitting.

    But the drinking comments also disturb me; drinking to cope with a stressful situation, rather than because drinking is pleasurable, strikes me as A Bad Sign.

    Enjoy your Christmas!