A substantial number of my friends live in and near Boston; I realized some years back that it didn't really make sense to visit the Boston area for less than two weeks if I wanted to see anywhere near all of my local friends.
And I used to visit every year or two. I visited in 2010, and then my next visit was in 2012, and I decided at the time that two years was too long between visits and I would make my next one sooner.
But I didn't make it in 2013, because I was too low on social energy that fall. And then in 2014, I was planning to take some time off work in the fall and do a nice long Boston visit then; but my colleague Sarah died in the summer of 2014, leaving me both distraught and in charge of all the work that she and I had been doing.
So I canceled my fall travel plans, and spent the next two years trying to get my group at work to the point where I could take some significant time off.
I should have just taken a week or two of vacation for a Boston visit sometime in 2015, but I kept thinking I was going to be in a better position to take time off soon. And finally at the start of 2016, everything fell into place and I made plans to go on leave over the summer—
—and then we had a reorg that threw away almost all the progress we had made.
But I decided to go ahead with the planned time off anyway. I think the folks in my group are enough on top of things to keep things going while I'm gone. And I'm finally back in Boston.
But it's been four years since I was here last. I've seen some of my friends elsewhere during that time, and had phone calls with one or two of them, and kept in touch via Facebook and an APA and mailing lists, so it's not like I've had no contact with any Bostonians in the past four years.
But I'm realizing that I haven't seen some of my friends' kids during that time, and four years is a long time in the life of a kid.
Anyway, looking forward to seeing everyone. And apologies to those I haven't been in touch with—I'm having my usual difficulties with planning things in advance. I suspect that even given two weeks, I won't get to see everyone.
But I'm glad to be back.
(Oh, and somehow I had convinced myself that driving in Boston was going to be easier/better than it used to be. Google Maps does help some (though not when you're driving through a long tunnel), but even so, I had a couple of reminders last night that it's not my favorite place in the world to drive.)