Happy 2012

Naya sala mubaraka ho!

Feliz Año Nuevo!

furaha ya mwaka mpya!

Hamingjusamur Nytt Ar!

Stastny Novy Rok!

Happy New Year!


Which photo do we use for our holiday card? When will the cards get back from the printer? Are all of our addresses up-to-date? Did we buy enough international stamps?

This holiday, we decided to avoid all the hassle of sending cards and post a New Years shout-out. Plus, with the $466.49 we would have spent on 400 cards – not even counting the hours spent signing, labeling and stamping them or the trees saved by not printing them – we opted to build a well to provide clean water to a village in rural Cambodia.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that we’ve been home for six months. For the first few weeks back, we all felt a bit lost… as if we had been marching down a life path; taken an incredible, life-changing detour; and suddenly were deposited right back on that path. Or as Andrew put it, “I’ve lived with this for my whole life basically; now [I] don’t know what’s going to happen after.” Although it was great to see friends, we often struggled with normal conversations without shared experiences. “Wow, you’re home already?” became a common refrain. And having lived for an entire year out of one suitcase, we felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in our house.

Thando (rear) and Hanuman

Our response was to commence a major, cathartic purge of every closet, cabinet and drawer. We then spent the rest of the summer pursuing local adventures – sleep-away camp, sports camps, sailing, a classic week on Chappy… and adopting two puppies. After some on-line dating, we fell in love with a rescue puppy from South Carolina. Once he arrived, he was so mellow that we just couldn’t pass on his brother who was still sitting un-adopted on-line. So Thando (“love” in South African Xhosa language) and Hanuman (the monkey god from the Ramayan) joined our merry band.

Suddenly it was fall, and we dived head-first back into school life. Ecstatic to be reconnected with friends, the kids reeled a bit from the routine of homework, tests and projects that come with “real” school. Sports kicked in, with the hard reality of evaluations and selectivity; a tall order for some rusty athletes. Greg immersed himself in house projects, connected with former business colleagues and started getting “younger next year.” (His knee is at about 90% now!) Frankly, I’ve been having the hardest time with our return. Everyday, I think about how I’d rather still be travelling, mourn the fact that we’re going in six different directions and try to figure out what to do next.

Starting a new year has encouraged me to review the Reflections I wrote upon our return. Basically, I’ll give us a “B-.” In some ways, we’ve excelled. We certainly cherish our health, our family and our country. We are very aware of our own water and fuel use. We have raised money in our community to build two additional wells for rural Cambodia, and I have committed to being a board member of Cambodian Living Arts and helping our friend’s organization, Worldreader.org. And we are continuing our adventures with a planned trip to Morocco in February. On the flip side, getting wrapped up in the minutia of daily life, we frequently lose sight of the big picture, spend too much time away from home and forget to let things go. Definitely some New Year’s Resolutions in there!

Entering 2012, we are thankful for what we have and what we have experienced. Happy New Year to all of our friends and family; may this year bring you many adventures, both big and small.

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One Response to “Happy 2012”

  1. Some great lessons and New Year’s resolutions for us all! Thank you for the continued reflection.

    Morocco should feel like going home!