WAHOO!!!! I literally had to pinch myself when I woke up this morning and realized that this was real: I was actually back in America, in Aiken no less, and just a few hours away from seeing and RIDING Kiki and Ringo for the first time in three months!
(okay, it definitely won't be looking like this, and we definitely won't be cantering, but still!!!)
(Eeeeeeee!!! So excited!!)
I landed in Boston at around 9pm Eastern time after a relatively uneventful, if extremely long, flight, and was thrilled to see Papa waiting at the curb. We got back to the farm at around 10 and enjoyed a very late homemade dinner (BIG LEAFY GREEN SALAD MY GOD I'VE MISSED YOU!!) while I tried to say hello to all the dogs and animals while simultaneously shoving as much delicious food into my face as possible. Afterward I went down to the barn and said hello to the ponies, gave the Dude some candies, and crawled back up to the house and into bed.
Altogether far too soon after that, Pa was waking me up and we were hitting the road once again. I didn't even bother unpacking and just shoved my 50 lb backpack back into the car, made sure I had a pair of boots and a helmet in the back seat, and off we went. And man, it was great to be back on the road! It was a glorious bluebird day, the temperatures were in the mid-60s the whole way, and we pretty much avoided traffic besides a little snarl in Connecticut. I realized how much I've missed being behind the wheel, watching the road stretching away in front of me and glittering like a jewel in the afternoon light. It was a great feeling to be back.
(One of the many classy eating establishments Pa and I passed along the way - I LOVE THE SOUTH!)
I spent my passenger shifts writing my last paper on Allied strategic planning during the invasion of Sicily in WWII (way to realllllyy put it off to the last minute!!), which may not be beautiful but at least exists. I'll take it.
We made good time, getting from Carlisle to Aiken in just under 18 hours, and crashed out in our maybe sketchy, perhaps-we'll-get-murdered-by-the-terrifying-lurker-next-door-type hotel at around midnight, and despite some serious Criminal Minds-induced paranoia on my part we were both asleep almost at once.
Today, the plan is to submit my paper, go watch some of the USEF High Performance training sessions over at Three Runs, and then go see Kiki and Ringo!!! I'm excited beyond excited, even if I am a little worried that my riding pants will literally explode off my somewhat expanded figure at some point...