And another year begins….
I’m home this first weekend in January. Un-decorating. Being alone. Soaking up my house by myself and catching up on all the things I didn’t do over the last few weeks between Christmas and New Years. Or avoiding them all the same by finding new distractions.
It’s hard to believe the passing of 2011 marks the first full calendar year of my life spent entirely outside the US of A. It was a whirlwind and went by faster than expected, but was a wonderful year full of memorable projects, successes and failures, relationship building and travels around the Balkans with friends.
I spent a few days in Ohrid, Macedonia to celebrate the arrival of the new year with a few close friends. It was a wonderful trip, one of the shortest but best I’ve had since being in Albania. I think it was so nice because it was not only a chance to spend time with people I love and am completely comfortable with in a beautiful place, but also to have a great time dancing and being slightly ridiculous to celebrate the new year in style.
However comfortable and steady I may feel with my life and work and friends here now, the passing of 2011 brings into full light the new year – one that will be so full of unknowns and changes for all of us PCVs in my group as our service comes to a close. Over our Ohrid trip and throughout the past few months I’ve been a part of a lot of conversations about time and the future, it seems.
My Peace Corps experience, with its high highs and low lows and all the time inbetween where I’m just curled up at home by myself doing an inordinate amount of knitting brings to mind a quote from Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The following was once shown to me by a friend at another point in my life that felt equally as transitional, and I’ve enjoyed sharing these words with friends now:
“Time interval is a strange and contradictory matter in the mind. It would be reasonable to suppose that a routine time or an eventless time would seem interminable. It should be so, but it is not. It is the dull eventless times that have no duration whatever. A time splashed with interest, wounded with tragedy, crevassed with joy – that’s the time that seems long in the memory. And this is right when you think about it. Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all.”
And it’s true. It’s getting taken out to lunch to celebrate a grant proposal on a whim and making a total mess with firecrackers by the port in Ohrid on New Years Day and sweating up the hill to Lura and boating around to beaches by Himare and laughing at my students comedy performances and finally getting my own desk after 18 months that I will and do remember most. Not the weeks and cold nights by myself in between. They seem long at the time, but actually fly by.
Best wishes for a happy and memorable new year!
See y’all sooner than you may think. I hope!