Celebrating the holidays with friends and family

a print of Cincinnati available from

After driving 1,000 miles roundtrip up and down eastern U.S. and spending seven days frolicking in the Buckeye State with family and friends, Michael and I are back at home in Atlanta. (And I'm back behind my computer screen!)

Though I hate the drive it takes to get there, I love being in my old Cincinnati stomping grounds. There’s something about being able to get anywhere in 20 minutes, about knowing what places people are talking about and how to get there by memory.

But even more than that, it feels like home because so many people I love live there. When we were in town, we spent some time with my family and my parents helped me reupholster the cushions for our kitchen table chairs. We played with Michael’s little brothers. We grabbed coffee with old friends and spent time around countless kitchen tables catching up with relatives.

And I’m beginning to miss that—the little things like a helping hand and an “I've missed you!” hug—more and more, on each trip.

For now, Atlanta is our home as Michael finishes up his degree. And I’m enjoying it—having a little place to call our own as we forge our newlywed years together, just the two of us. Then there’s the warm weather, which has been such a reprieve after my year steeped in snowy Michigan. But, with an eye toward the future and the long-term, I know that a few extra degrees can’t hold a candle to being near to your loved ones.

We still have no idea what the future holds as far as jobs and opportunities and timelines. But still, I suspect that when it comes time to settling down and starting a family, there’s a good likelihood that we’ll return to this little town, on the edge of the Ohio River where pigs fly and bengal tigers play.

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