It was a lovely party, and I had some great conversations. I'm finding that I really like my department, which is such a blessing. For the first few years I was at UIC, I was mostly head down with the kids, trying to survive their infant years without strangling anyone or just crying 24/7, and it's only now that they're a bit older that I'm finally able to make to as many optional department events as I would like. But my colleagues have been unfailingly polite and friendly to me throughout that time (even if they only vaguely knew who I was), and now that I'm getting to know more of them better, I'm just happy. They're so nice.
And they're interesting and smart and all that too -- it's a terrific department academically-speaking, which is, of course, good. But at the end of the day, it may be more important that your colleagues actually be nice. That's what makes it a pleasure to go into work.
I love my students, but students come and students go -- it's engraved in the very nature of students. Faculty meetings are forever. :-)