Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A Brand Spanking New Year

I've never been one to put much weight on the significance of one day.  Why is New Year's Day any better a day to stop eating garbage and begin hitting the gym?  But some little bit of holiday magic has burrowed itself in my mind this year, and 2014 feels like a clean slate.  Here's a quick run-down of the year I'm bidding a fond farewell:

January - Brand new to Caracas, we marveled at the city and its beauty.  We clicked with friends, neighbors and co-workers right away.  The girls struggled to feel comfortable at school - a problem that never really disappeared.  But outside of school, we all felt at home surprisingly quickly.

 March - Our various shipments all arrived within a few days of each other, making us feel that much more at home in our condo.  A party at school allowed us to watch Lilly with her friends, and see her maneuvering deftly through the social challenges of being the new kid in 2nd grade.  A party at church helped us to notice what amazing people we worshiped with.  Soon after, we began talking about building a small group with two other families.

May - The rainy season began, and we saw some torrential downpours out our windows.  We learned the hard way that if we don't close our windows when we leave the house, our floors may be flooded when we return.  We had been in town long enough to spread our tentacles a bit further - we began exploring.  Sophia and I traveled back to the states when my grandfather died, and upon our return we were happy to come home.

June - A challenging school year ended for both Lilly and Sophia, and the girls of the family headed back to the states for 6 weeks of touring the midwest and hanging with family and old friends.  Lilly casually defined summer last night as the time you travel to family.  Dave stayed in Caracas, climbed to the top of the Avila and hiked to the base of Angel Falls.

August - We came back home to begin a fresh new school year, where Lilly made close friends right away and Sophia had a fabulous 1st grade teacher.  Dave came back newly confident in his job, a leader in his quickly changing office.  And I came back to deepening friendships, looking forward to becoming developing friendships with Anne and Christophe and to enjoying my last relaxing year with Annika still at home with me.

September - Totally uneventful.  We settled into routines, began swim lessons and piano lessons, waited in long lines, and we put together a video on why Santa should visit Caracas.

October - We flew to the United States, lived in a hotel near the State Department for about 2 weeks, were assigned a post in Jakarta, moved to a furnished apartment and got the girls settled back into their old school, sold all of our things, said good-bye to those new friends and hello to old friends and to the fall.  We became closer to people not by relaxing with them and building a friendship over the next year, but by relying on them.

December - We traveled, we baked cookies, we had school parties and a church pageant, we cooked and we ate and we enjoyed new friends.  And then, beginning Christmas Day, we relaxed.  We just relaxed.

Maybe its the beginning of a new year, or maybe its just that I spent the last week relaxing and eating and walking and just hanging out with my family.  Maybe its that most of the To Do List for closing down life in Caracas and opening up life in Virginia is now complete.  But either way, up until this week, I had no interest in Jakarta whatsoever.  My current city and my past city took up plenty of my energy and July was plenty far away.  But this morning, Indonesia seems worth looking into.  I'm wondering about the weather and the landscapes and the travel we expect.  I'm wondering about the shopping and the available groceries and the restaurants.  And its probably about time - school applications are due in less than a month.  We had a great year this past year - a year full of surprises and adventures and good friends and loads of good stories.  But I'm glad its over, and now I'm looking forward to the adventures of 2014.

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