Even though I've decided not to decorate for the holidays this year and I miss my pink aluminum sparkly tree festooned with disco balls, it's for a good reason. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go home for the holidays this year. I've been looking for a new day job, have been crazy busy with freelance work, and didn't book a flight to Charleston a month ago when airfares were just expensive, as opposed to ridiculously expensive (a flight right now would cost as much as my monthly rent).
But I've recently decided to make the trip home - yes, the 20-hour drive each way from Austin to Charleston - so I can spend Christmas with the family. I have an adorable new niece (and namesake...Jolie Love) that I haven't even met yet, I've been in Austin almost a year and haven't seen my family in that long (with the exception of a brief visit from my niece Amanda this summer), and since I'm going to drive and not fly, I can take the dog with me. Because I've been in practical mode for the past couple of months, I thought it might be easier if I stayed in Austin for the holidays, continue my job search for a new dream job in publishing, and wait until Southwest comes to CHS International at the end of March when airfares will drop by half to visit. But I've had some good interviews - one in particular for a job that I think would be perfect - and with technology being what it is, there's no reason for me to anchor myself here so I don't miss a day's freelance work.
I've done my best to get into the holiday spirit here, including spending Thanksgiving with a wonderful group of friends, taking a drive down to Zilker Park for the tree lighting, another drive down 37th Street to see the lovely lights, and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas with a fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot cocoa. But nothing compares to family time for the holidays and being with my mom, sisters, nieces, and friends back home is the best gift I can think of.
I can't wait. I'm already picking out the audio books to download to make that 20-hour drive bearable!