The sequence of seasonal events has passed us all by. 2006, still feeling as new and alien to me as did 2005 before it, has passed into past, ushering us into the year 2007. It will take some time before I begin writing the correct year when I date things.
Usually I write some sort of retrospective post for the new years, to reflect on the happenings of the previous year, and on what has changed and what has stayed the same. This year, that seems almost silly. I don't ever expect to see another year quite like 2006, and I will be very surprised if ever I do.
It's been a big year for many of my friends and family, indisputably a year of change. It's been a year of bold moves and aimless life all at once. My father went to Botswana to pursue a dream, the outcome of which is still uncertain. My brother went to college far, far away (though writing from the Philippines I suppose 'far' is a relative term). Several friends moved out of houses and away from their families to pursue their new post-college lives as the adults which I may never believe we have become. Maria and Jason even moved to Canada.
It has been a year with divorces, stalkers, cancer, and sexual harassment. A very good friend of my family has been slowly dying, and all the tears and prayers in the world haven't changed that. As if that weren't so very hard to deal with, yet another good friend, children still young, is grappling with progressive dementia. There is nothing to be done about these things, except to do as we always have done: take each day for what it is, and value every person we've been fortunate enough to love.
It has been a year of change, and a painful one for many. The world continues to move, and thankfully the children continue to grow (though a few children ought to grow a bit slower).
Here in the Philippines, I would not have expected to see so many similarities between the life I've had hear and the life of my friends. I've spent the last 9 months adjusting to a new place and a new way of living, trying to make friends in a new land where I know no one and trying to find a place for myself where I am employed. The same is true of many back home. It seems like this last year has left every close peer I have questioning what their destination in life will be, and searching uncertainly for a way to reach it. It seems as if we have all scattered to the wind to find our places, each one of us adjusting to a new environment and looking for a place in it. As I said before, it's been a year of bold moves.
For myself, I've gone through so many varied experiences and changes that I could not imagine being so ambitious as to list them out. I still recall in the first few months I was here how new and alien everything in this country seemed to me. The things which seem simple, obvious, and mundane to me today were mind boggling and, in some cases, alarming only a short time ago. The days here have not always been easy, nor even fruitful, but I cherish them dearly for the very unique life experiences they have been and the insights they have offered me; I can think of little I would trade them for.
As this year wound to a close it left promises that 2007 will see changes of its own. On christmas eve I had my first date in 6 years with a very kind Filipina. I don't believe anything will really come of it, but time will tell. It was, at the very least, and enjoyable time. At work my supervisor and one of my best co-workers have been promoted, leaving the projects I had hoped would begin very soon in limbo - or so I thought. On December 28th, during that period between christmas and new years when no work ever gets done, I was finally able to do my first lifeskills training with the boys of my center (or rather the staff conducted the training with my guidance). The next time I went into work, just after new years, suddenly staff are asking I assist in the informal education process, maybe teaching math. The boys have begun to flock around my desk regularly for informal english tutorials that keep me busy most of the day. It may not sound like all that much work, but for me, the last few days have been very promising.
Of course, I'm writing this from Manila. My trip to the white sand beaches of Boracay was wonderful, but with the first bite of my first mouth-watering meal a sizable chunk, perhaps the size of a baby tooth, broke off of a molar and tumbled out of my mouth. So here I am in Manila for a dental appointment. I expect I may be getting my first crown tomorrow. Very exciting.
I hope this new years finds everyone reading this in good spirits, and that no matter how difficult life has been, it has not stopped you from appreciating every bit of wonderous beauty each day of joy and hardship contains.
Halong gid permi
(be well always),