I'm feeling my way around campus today, suffering from the aftereffects of jet lag and time change and the rigors of responsibility and many cramped hours of travel with six students, and I keep hearing the same question: "Would you do it again?"
My answer: Yes, but not today. Not tomorrow either. Give me some time to collect myself and wash my socks and sort through the piles of receipts and then we'll talk.
So many things went right on this trip: terrific students, wonderful weather (only one rainy day!), pretty good (and occasionally great) food, sparkling conversations about interesting authors at amazing sites. I especially enjoyed those moments of serendipity that can't be planned in advance, like the pit stop at a farm stand where we ate deep-fried artichoke hearts and fresh strawberries and gummy frogs, or the the time we accidentally stumbled upon the perfect place to pull off and hike on craggy rocks near Big Sur. My new motto: Serendipity, baby.
I'm not feeling particularly serene today because somehow the work I left piled on my desk didn't get done while I was gone, but classes are canceled while flood waters recede so I've got some time to work through the mess. The first thing I did when I returned to campus, though, was to print out a bunch of photos from the trip and post them on the English Department bulletin board so students can see them when they return to classes. We did it! We went to California and learned things and had fun and came back in one piece! And we could do it again tomorrow!
Well, maybe not tomorrow. Wednesday will do.