Today I took the 7:06 am train to Philadelphia. This is my first day back at work after just over a year. Annalisa and Nigel drove me to the train station (Annalisa actually did the driving) and I joined the big crowd that gets on the train in Lancaster--more than 150 of the nearly 300 regular riders of the Keystone train get on and off in Lancaster.
I saw a lot of faces I recognized. the faces looked a little older than when I left--which means my face looks older too. The 7am train riders are, thankfully, a very quiet group. They file onto the train. The regulars walk the length of the platform and sit in the last car. Sometimes there is no sound all the way to Paoli--two-thirds of the way to Philadelphia. The train was 15 minutes late this morning because we got behind a SEPTA local and could not go around it.
After leaving the train I walk across 30th Street and down into the subway station. The El train arrived a couple of minutes later. I rode eight minutes to 2nd Street then walked up Market to Fork restaurant. They bake bread every day. As I arrived the baguettes were just coming out of the oven. I love fresh bread.
I ate bread, checked out my new office and started a series for short meetings to get moved back in to CHF. I learned abut changes in the computer system, got my access card key back, heard about the medical benefits and started cleaning up email and voice mail.
I had a couple of meetings about plans for my work for the next few months and talked to many of my co-workers about Iraq and returning to civilian life. They all thought I looked very different in a blue pin-striped suit than in a camo uniform.
It's great to be back. I'll be going to New York on the 17th, Orlando on the 27th, maybe to Boston or Washington DC in between. I really am becoming a civilian very quickly.