I have a confession: I’m sitting in the Panera I used to work at when I was in high school and am getting way too much satisfaction over the fact that I’m on the other side of the counter, enjoying my coffee this time. You see, my boss was a complete witch. Really, she was like the nasty stepmom in Cinderella. “Cut the bread!” “Make the jelly!” “Faster! Faster!” She’d make me cry every day of the week, and that is not an exaggeration. Going into Panera used to be as horrifying as going into the doctor’s office for a shot…or doing a presentation in front of the entire class. It was complete hell. One time the grape jelly ran out, and I told the customer he could have strawberry instead if he wanted, and she almost ripped my face off. “You never tell the customer no! Go make some grape jelly” Um, how am I supposed to do that? She pulled me into the back room and threw a ginormous carton of jelly at me, and had me scoop it for hours. She was the devil. Needless to say, I quit after a few months.
Oh how I love being on the other side…sweat-free and writing on my pink mac. Take that witch lady! (Although she’s been fired 7 years ago) It still feels good. While working at Panera is one of the more horrifying experiences from my childhood (along with braces and acne), I also have a lot of good memories from being a kid as well. And being home this weekend is making me feel an overdose of nostalgia. I love returning home to Connecticut after being gone for so long (now that I’m a big, bad Boston babe). Here are some of my fave things about coming home:
*free food: My dad already took me out to eat at my favorite seafood restaurant Max Fish, and I ordered my absolute favorite: blackened scallops. It was served with an acorn squash puree and rissotto. Talk about delicious. I love being able to indulge in expensive, healthy meals when it’s on the ‘rents.
*home cooked meals: But nothing’s better than one of mom’s home cooked meals, bringing me back to childhood in a snap. This morning she made a spinach and broccoli frittata with potatoes, egg, and a little cheese. Tonight she’s making our absolute favorite: chicken divan, and our aunt’s bringing over spinach squares and a healthy roasted cauliflower soup. (I’ll see if she’ll share the recipe). Definitely puts my Boston apartment cooking to shame!
*my bed: There’s something about my bed that just puts a smile on my face. Maybe it’s that my room still has the silly sponge painted “clouds” with a bunny rabbit garden boarder. Or maybe it’s that my mom always washes and changes the sheets the night before I come home. “They are nice and fresh just for you,” she always says. “Flannel too!” She’s too cute.
*the smell: Just like your car, every house has a distinct smell. And when I walk in those doors after being away, the smell gets me every time, making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I can’t even pinpoint exactly what the smell is, but you know it when you sniff it. That’s all I can say.
*old friends: I’m such an advocate for “make new friends, but keep the old.” My old friends are my most important friends, and I love, love, love catching up with them! This morning, one of my high school/college friends Kiley met me at Panera for a coffee. It was so wonderful seeing her, catching up on our lives, and sharing funny (sometimes inappropriate) stories. Kiley’s one of those friends that you can see one or twice a year, and it still feels like nothing has changed. I love those kinds of friends.
*town traditions: Tomorrow I’m going to the Apple Fest in the town over from mine, an annual festival I used to LOVE going to in high school. They have lots of yummy food, music, and giveaways all day long. I’m also running the Apple Fest 5k on Sunday and can’t wait to break in my new Asics sneaks! : )
*the fam: Oh how I love my family. I am totally one of those “family girls” who could hang out with the fam for weeks. My sister (who’s just two years younger than me) and I are more like friends than sisters, and my mom and dad are hilarious. We call my mom “duck” ’cause she waddles around all day doing the cutest, most hilarious things… and her one-liners are just the best. She once honked the horn in the middle of the road, and when I asked her why, she said “I like to scare the squirrels sometimes.” (What??!) That’s my mom in a nut shell. Then there’s my dad who could go shot for shot with me with tequila, and who I’m pretty sure my guy friends like better than me. What can I say? My fam is one of a kind.
*driving: Now that I live in the city, I don’t have a car, so I love getting behind the wheel whenever I’m home. It makes me feel powerful and in charge, and is definitely a nice break from taking the T.
As much as I love going home, I also love that I’m not there all. the. time. I’d drive myself crazy and it would make going home not so *special*. So I’m going to take this weekend to soak up every ounce of my childhood, but then go back to Boston on Sunday with a smile…
What are your favorite things about going home? What do you miss most about being home? What can’t you stand?