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After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

Last Thursday I returned home after a month in England and Scotland. Making the adjustment going east isn’t usually as bad as coming back to the States with the 5 hour time difference. I was dreading the 4-6 days it usually takes me to readjust, and that disoriented, lethargic feeling.

My husband returned home earlier than I did so he picked me up at the airport at nearly 5 pm. He said our son David and his wife Kristen were coming over for dinner. I kind of grimaced because at that point being cheerful was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides that, when my husband has been home for 10 days by himself, the kitchen isn’t necessarily in the condition I usually keep it.

I was wrong. We all worked together on dinner, and between their vegan food and some corn and pork Paul cooked out, we had a great dinner, easy conversation, and I found it quite refreshing after a day of living in airplanes and airports. I went to bed after ten both happy and very tired, and slept well that night and until 6:00 am — which is good for a first morning home. Sometimes I find that doing things I’m not sure I want to do can be surprisingly pleasant. I think there’s also a let-down when one returns home, and getting back into family life and easy conversation relieves that.

It really only took a few days this time to feel “normal”, and I credit my first evening at home in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere with making the difference.