Today is my last day at work before taking a week and a half vacation. I haven't had a vacation yet this year. Actually, from January to April, I barely had a weekend! Okay, so in late April, I got a Wednesday off to recover from travel and then I worked an hour and a half each on the Thursday and Friday after. But that's not really a vacation... So, I'm really looking forward to tonight, when I don't have to think about work for thirteen days.
The reason for this vacation is Roommate, that special human being who has been able to live with me without causing either of us damage and continues to love me for reasons I'm not clear about. She arrives next Tuesday and I have planning and cleaning to do before then. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, she and I met during freshman orientation at college. We were fast friends and, by Christmas break, we were each other's college best friends (neither of us was ready to let go of the high school best friends that we left behind, so we made the distinction).
I'd like to say that we bonded over common interests and the fact that we found each other to be fascinating human beings (which we did and we are), but it was probably much more practical than that. We ate meals at the same times, so we would often sit together. As we talked, I discovered something about Roommate: she had a TV. I did not. And that was very important. You see, I watched my favorite ABC shows with a group of other freshmen, but I just didn't fit in with them. Plus they talked over the entire episode of Grey's Anatomy in which we found out Derek had a wife. So that was never going to work. But Roommate and I had the same taste in TV shows and she was willing to have me over to watch them. The rest is history!
Later, we discovered we both loved West Wing, Harry Potter, Olive Garden, and Target, among many other things. Since I never really fit in anywhere and am uncomfortable in new social situations, I was overjoyed to have someone who got me so easily and who was willing to go with me when I had to try something new. In fact, we meshed so easily I can't believe we didn't grow up in the same family. But she grew up playing soccer in East Bay, California, the third-born in a family with three brothers. And I grew up in a small town in the Far North (I'm being sly and vague here--are you catching that?), trying everything from tee-ball to ballet to horseback riding (and sticking with nothing), as the baby of two brothers and a sister.
The nature of geography and expensive airfare meant that I've been to her hometown multiple times and she has been to my hometown a total of zero times. Freshman year, she talked about visiting me over the summer. Instead, she used her money to study abroad in Italy for three weeks. What a waste of a summer, right? The next year, she again talked about a summer visit, but I went to DC on an internship and she had to save her money to return to Italy for half of our junior year. The next summer we barely even mentioned it, since our rental situation was sucking away so much money that we knew she couldn't afford it.
Finally, she talked about coming up after graduation (after we scrapped an epic, but prohibitively costly month-long road trip across America), but we went to Hawaii with some friends instead. Plus neither of us had jobs, so what money was going to pay for it? The next year, she used her Far North money to go see her little brother in Scotland and travel Europe with her oldest brother. Again, what a waste! When she told me she was going to do this instead of visit me, I despaired of her ever seeing the Far North. She promised Christmastime, but I knew the Californian in her couldn't handle 20 degrees below zero and 18 hour darkness. And true to my suspicions, I spent Christmas of 2010 without her. I got to have my adorable baby niece and my brother and his wife though, so it all turned out okay.
When she canceled Christmas (not the holiday, just the trip--she doesn't have that kind of power or Grinch spirit), she promised summer 2011. I laughed at her. I told her I would believe it when I saw it. In fact, I said I didn't believe she would ever set one toe in the Far North. But she proved me wrong. And I will gladly eat my words (they don't taste so bad after all). Because she arrives on Tuesday! And I can barely sit still thinking of it.