We spent a large chunk of the day yesterday exploring (read: exhausting) our options for a trip to Venice, loosely justified by our two year wedding anniversary next week. Over the weekend, we discovered that it was in fact much cheaper to go a few days later (i.e. in November), so we reevaluated our plans and decided we were better off waiting a little while. I mean, we’re still going to spend our actual anniversary in Lisbon, so really — it’s a win-win situation.

Self-catering apartments tend to be the best option for us, given my eating habits, but even though I’d found one that looked great the day before, we still had to go through and look at all the other options — just to make sure. So we tried Orbitz and Priceline, we tried B&Bs, we tried a friend of ours who’s a travel agent in Lisbon… we tried everything.

And eventually, we came back to the same apartment. Go figure. After looking at what else was out there, it turned out to be bigger and in a better location (including a view of San Marco’s tower from the balcony!) yet not much more expensive than most of the B&Bs and smaller hotels, but nowhere near as expensive as even the three-star hotels we looked at — even on Priceline. Turns out Venice is an expensive proposition, even in November! Must be all that water.

So at last, it’s decided: we are going to Venice for six days. What a fitting way to end our second year of marriage! I looked at Gabe last night and said, “We’re setting a pretty high precedent here: first anniversary, Mendocino. Second anniversary, Venice. Where do we go from here?!” It can only be relatively anticlimactic after this, but that’s all right. I’ll live.

It’s hard to imagine that two years ago we were in a frenzy of last-minute details and planning — in fact looking back at my emails from that time, I think we were still trying to persuade my dad not to chant “Om Shanti Om” during his blessing (which he did anyway, the cheeky so-and-so.) Good times. All in all, I’m glad to be on this end of things looking back rather than having it all yet to come.

But with our anniversary and then Halloween approaching in short order, the normal progression of the year is suddenly catching up with me again. Things have been so busy getting everything set up and exploring the city that the fact that it’s the end of October has until now been something of an abstract concept. The hot weather hasn’t helped either, as until these last few days, it has felt more like late summer or early fall, and not at all like mid-autumn.

Then I got an email from a good friend yesterday asking how October is treating me, and as I was writing my reply, I was hit with a wave of homesickness. Halloween is always one of my favorite events, and after the huge success of our costumes last year, I am very sad to be missing the reprisal of the zombie invasion.

Halloween also marks the start of the holiday season for me, with the intervening weeks leading up to Thanksgiving always a time of crisp fall light, cold morning runs on trails slick with yellow leaves, and rainy weekend afternoons spent at home, anticipating the arrival of family and good food at the end of the month. That of course is all a precursor to the “real” holidays: Christmas shopping, tree decoration, and now Hanukkah, from which I still get a childish delight year after year.

Granted, we will be home for most of the latter, but from past experience, I know that Thanksgiving (which is always much bigger in my family than Christmas) is a very difficult one for me to miss. I’m hoping we can cook a chicken in honor of the holiday, like we did in London the year I was there.

I know, I know — I’m going to Venice in two weeks, and as I write this, an autumnal Lisbon awaits just outside my door. So none of you have any sympathy for me whatsoever. But I just had to show you that it’s not all fun and games, and in fact, now that the frenzy of getting us here and settled is dying down, I actually miss home quite a bit. Not as much as I’d expected to, nor nearly as much as I did while in London, but I miss it nonetheless.

Hopefully, it’s nothing that a view of San Marco tower won’t cure.

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