An old year, a new year

It’s the last day of 2010 and I use my computer and a starch white Word document to recapture the year as I’ve done on many past New Year’s Eves.

Before I said goodbye to 2009, I absorbed the year over a beer at my favorite downtown coffee shop in Sioux Falls and hoped for a better set of twelve months with each word I tapped on my white keyboard. Now, I am sipping French pressed coffee in a brown mug that says, “Make coffee not war” in a yellow living room with a group of mismatched couches while the others sleep. Outside our little America, beyond the concrete walls, is a world that was just a name on a map seven months ago. Although I know it happened, I’m finding difficulty visualizing the possibility of the leap from that coffee shop to this living room.

My life changed on May 10th when that blue enveloped with the “You are Invited” inscription in white block letters arrived. A dream, a change, a blessing. It started that day and each rotation of the earth is another added to the adventure. Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t always worn bagging shirts and ankle length skirts or that I used to eat more than pasta, rice and millet. Did I once have electricity and a phone that could call, take photos, play music, Tweet, Facebook and email? At one time, I only spoke and heard one language. And I swear I’ve known the faces of my villagers, the ones who sing my name when I greet them in the morning, since I was a little girl.

2010 brought all of this. It was the sharp turn in my journey that will take to me a final destination that I don’t understand but was meant for. It resulted in a life so unimaginable from anything I’ve known in 25 years on this planet, but one that I thank God every day for the ability to experience.

It would seem appropriate that I’d say the best part of this year was becoming a volunteer and coming here. It’s true that I ended last year unhappy and will bring 2011 in with a lot of joy, but Peace Corps didn’t do that. I did.

The experiences and struggles of this year have forced me into a new person, who is more aligned with her true self. I’m learning to make myself happy instead of relying on my settings. I am growing into the person I know I can be.

I am happier today than I have been in along time, and it’s not because my life was terrible or horrible before, I just needed to do some searching first.

It’s amazing to see where my life has come in 12 months but I know things don’t stop here. The new year will bring more challenges and more joy. My concentration for now is on a small village in West Africa and the volunteer it deserves. I can still improve, still learn.

Goodbye 2010, thank you for the blessings. Welcome 2011, I am ready.


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