Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig

As of 2:45 PM today, 11 January 2009, I will have officially been back home in Wisconsin for one month after completing five years, ten months and four days of international service. Despite the excitement of the Bangkok protests, I arrived in plenty of time to celebrate Christmas and see in the New Year with family back home. It was also my first feel of snow after nearly seven long years. And when you consider that the snow years before that were pretty poor ones, it was really my first snowy year in over ten years.

It came as a bit of an anticipated shock - especially as I landed in time for a week of miserably cold temperatures and windchills. The big snows had managed to go to the south of us (my aunt and uncle, school teacher and administrator in the Fox Valley area, were none too pleased), but we had plenty of cold to remind me of what winter is really like. The sunny days, even if they were cold, did actually help keep me in the spirit of things even as the Christmas commercial season became a bit overwhelming.

And now the beginning of a new year has come and gone. For the moment, this is much more of an ending and a final wrap-up of my past six years than a new step forward. I'm taking time at home to collect myself and reaclimate to this now-strange world of cold, whiteness and complex kitchen appliances. 2009 will prove to be a very different year one way or another, and I look forward to see how it might surprise me!

I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2009. The whole world is experiencing many changes, so I wish for you all the strength and endurance to ride the waves and anticipate a time in which this will be an exciting story to tell. Indeed, who would have guessed six years ago that I would have told the stories that I have?