Date: Friday 13 January 2017.
Location: Seat 16E, 7pm British Airways flight from London to Boston.
Give me a moment to squee — the exact sound a little girl makes when her wishes for a pony of her own are finally granted: my first international work trip! And to Harvard Law School, of all places. Internal fireworks and frissons of excitement. (And that's no mean emotional feat for my highly judgemental iPhone health app tells me that, since coming back from Canada just over a week ago, I've had no more than 4 hours of sleep a night and my nightly average has plummeted from 7:59 hours pre Christmas to a measly 4:41 hours. Ouch.
But, of course, now I'm too excited to sleep. No exhaustion can flatten my exquisite relief, not even glass of cava I've been handed can sedate me.
Today is the start of an unexpected adventure. First, I have two days of work conference at Harvard, then almost a week of holiday back in Jasper, then a long day of flying to take me home to Australia to work weird UK hours, soak up some sun and wait for my new UK work visa.
This trip is so welcome. If I'm being honest — and, let's be real, if I can't be honest to you, where can I be? — coming home after Christmas in Canada had left me weak and oddly bereft. I missed the chaos of being surrounded by my siblings and my mum. I missed being one of the 'kids' (41 and under). I missed the snow. I missed the holidays. The London dark gnawed at me. A close friend at work being (utterly deservedly) promoted so that we were no longer at the same level had knocked my confidence. The work IT system eating my draft risk note had obliterated my patience. I was, having come back from one sort of holiday, sorely in need of another holiday.
Isn't there just something about a new year, coming as it does with a fresh new start, a little frightening too? Staring down the gauntlet at another year of history, another birthday, that stuff makes you reflect. Perhaps I am just hungover, emotionally and physically, and bloated — emotionally and physically.
So, yes, as I scoot down safely into my seat and start to think about movie selections and the relative merits of a nap, if it comes, over acclimatising to East Coast time, I'm also reflecting on the fact that you and I have been corresponding now for almost three years, and mulling over my life choices.
More levity coming soon.