It is 7:30 PM on Christmas Day night; I am sitting warm and dry in my candlelit living room listening to a Christmas concert on my favourite NPR station. I am finally feeling assured that the only thing I have to be concerned about at this moment is what time I should go to bed in order to get up to make an early-morning Christmas phone call to my family.
The Christmas-letter writing season was a wash for me this year; it always seems life implodes in on iteslf around this season. So, finally, on Christmas night I have found the moments of peace necessary to reconnect with all the people brought to mind by the season.
The end of 2007 is also the end of my first complete year in
I suppose the defining factor of my life in
I feel very, very lucky to have been blessed with the opportunity to work with this organization at this stage in the development. I am doubly blessed with a committed project staff who are also capable of high-quality work. It speaks volumes about both the culture and the program managers who came before me. I am the one benefiting from my predecessors’ investments. The result is a program that is in many ways (and not just in my humble opinion, but also the opinion of external evaluators) an example of how development can work. Here, in
Much of that also speaks for the culture of
That brings us to 2008. For now I look forward to the continuing (albeit exhausting) changes that will persist in the coming months. My contract is until the end of June. It is difficult for me to say what I will be doing two months from now, much less in July. I have recently moved into a new house in Cao Bang and am continuing the search for reasonable housing in
While it seems impossible to see into the coming two or three months with any clarity, I do have a vision of myself enjoying my first American Christmas in five years at home in 2008. What or where I will go between now and then, or beyond that, will be a story for me to tell in a year’s time.
Each day I rely on the words of Jonh Lennon:
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
And so, unless I can retire next year, I will continue to make those plans and discover after that I am living that life already.
Best wishes to all of you at this holiday season. As I thank the Lord for the blessings of another year and for the gift of one very attentive and adventurous guardian angel, I pray that each of you may receive just such a gift in equal measure.
In loving peace,
P.S. For those of you that are more interested in the details of my daily life in