1:57 p.m. - August 20, 2004
I leave tomorrow afternoon for the long flight home, via Chicago. My regret is that I was not spontaneous once while here and that pull-back has cost me dearly. But I enjoyed driving past the corn field to work and listening at night to the cacophony coming from the river behind my place, so the time spent here was not a wash. I have friends here - a friend, and several colleagues of whom I am fond, and hug when saying goodbye. Sometimes I can't see things for what they are and it is only after time has passed - hindsight, hindsight - can I observe change, chart its course, predict trajectories. I would not have thought I'd grow close to people like Marti, hug Pat and Holly and spend far too much time talking with the secretary (Janet) and a Ph.D. candidate named Jen. I have a place here where I can be comfortable and myself, even eat a slice of pie in public. Things like this are beautiful to me, and hard-earned. Hugging a colleague may not seem like much to people, but for me it's another concrete step towards somewhere new.
Amid the farewell thoughts there is a guilty Why did I do that? refrain. I read the student evaluations because I worried there may be something negative, especially from Texas woman, but they were all laudatory. I don't know what I'm so afraid of, but it's something. I think I'll always be like this until the door to non-chalance opens wider, but that's another story.