I’m back from vacation, friends, and I’m happy to report that I felt a bit of . . . normalcy . . . for the first time in over a year. We traveled to the Berkshires for a few days, we ate in restaurants indoors, we met up with a college friend of mine, and at the end of the week after we returned home we attended a dinner party.
I thought it might feel strange to do these things that we haven’t done in so long but it mostly felt joyful. Dale and I are both fully vaccinated and, while I worried that eating in restaurants would make me nervous (it did when we last tried it in July of 2020) this time it felt just fine. Plus, having hot and crispy french fries was an incredible treat as those take out fries leave a lot to be desired. We continued to wear our masks in public as prescribed and I can’t say that I enjoy that experience but I will do it so long as the experts recommend it. I guess mostly I just don’t feel anxious about being in public now and that has made a huge difference in my desire to go places.
When gathering with our friends, we were maskless since everyone else is all vaccinated up and it was awesome, particularly at Sean’s. We hugged our friends, noting that it was the first time we had all been together since New Year’s Eve 2019. I cried a few tears of relief and joy that we had come through this experience relatively unscathed. We sat together and had cocktails. We laughed and shared stories and ate terrific food and it was just so simple and good. I want to say it was normal but it was better than normal because now we all know that normal can be taken away at any moment. I have missed this group immensely and, while I don’t think I ever took them for granted, I certainly know in a very keen way just how much being with them means to me.
There were things about traveling that were different. There was no room service or housekeeping service at the inn, something that disappointed me probably more than it should have. Many restaurants are still closed or only open for limited hours and most required advanced reservations. Stores have limited occupancy so we had to wait outside our favorite candy shop before we could go in. I’m not complaining about any of this (well, maybe about the fact that I still had to make the bed) but it was something that I . . . noticed and I want to remember it because it’s all part of this pandemic experience.
I took very few photos and really just enjoyed each moment. There continue to be lessons in all of this and I think I’ll be discovering them for a good long while. I’m grateful and recognize how fortunate I am to be able to do so.