Sunday, December 31, 2006

Half a world ahead

So as many of you are just waking up or getting out of church and starting your last day of 2006, I am sitting at my computer calmly contemplating the approach of 2007. Up until now it really didn’t mean much more to me other than the fact that I can finally stop agonizing over my sloppy 6s at the end of my dates – both Malagasy and Vietnamese think my hand-written 6 is a 4, so finally, I don’t have to stress every time I sign and date something.

I wear 2006 like a comfortable and well-balanced necklace. To me, the first five months of the year are the deep-colored jewels of my final months until I finally reached RPCV status in early June. The next two gems are sky blue and forest green. My two full months in Northern Wisconsin were a time of refreshment and renewal - but also a great opportunity to share time with family and especially an aging grandmother. The final months were a return to Madagascar and to a life after Peace Corps. Finally, Vietnam in December is the clasp - firmly attaching the end of 2006 to my future in 2007.

Now with just an hour and a half to go before Vietnam enters that new year, it’s becoming real. In 2007 I will have officially spent 4 solid years living outside of the US. In 2007 I will learn a new language and work my first real, real job. In 2007 I will celebrate my 10 year high school graduation anniversary.

Yesterday we discussed New Years resolutions with the community English class that Ali has been holding. I’m not sure if I’m ready to resolve anything this year – other than keep my head above water in my new job. That for now is quite enough.

It’s raining now – my first rain in Vietnam – the first time for me to hear rain on the tin roof of a new home. It’s one of my favorite sounds. I only wish it were loud enough to drown out the Karaoke bar across the street (Mom, it’s 2007 and do you know where your daughter is? Definitely not at the karaoke bar). But that is also something I will have to get used to in the new year.

I’m sure there will be many more things waiting for us in this next year. I’m sure not all of them will be pleasant – but if all were good, how could we possibly know when to stop whining and enjoy the good parts? I won’t wax philosophical here, but may I wish for us all growth, new understanding and contentment in this new year.

So here’s to 2007 – check in with me on New Year’s eve and I’ll let you know what it looks like from this side of the date.

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