Well, here it is, Christmas 2009. This was my halfway point for the year. This is the point when I was going to decide - can I do this? Am I happy? Can I stick it out? Do I need to buy the next available one-way plane ticket to Minnesota?
I am happy to report I will not in fact be running terrified from the country of Colombia, as fabulous as it might be to see the people I left behind in Minnesota. I love my life here in Colombia - my friends, my students, my apartment, the culture, my job, and everything. I can definitely do this. After all my fear of wondering what I would decide to do with my life post-college graduation, it turns out there was probably not just one right choice, but many options I could have been happy with. As I sat and debated my future during spring of 2009, I wish I would have known that everything would work out in the end. In the end, we have the experiences we have and they just happen. Our personality and decisions influence them, but at the end of the day you aren't nearly as much in control of your life as you might way. As a very organized, somewhat intense, control-oriented individual, this kind of freaked me out at first, but I am learning to deal with it. :)
What was I talking about at the beginning of this post??? Oh yeah, Christmas. Tis the day of Jesus' birth according to Christian tradition, and around the world friends and families are celebrating the love and grace he exemplified.
In the past, Christmas has been a day spent with family, either my mom or dad's side, and also a day of traditions. My immediate family still gathers around the Christmas tree to open presents from Santa on Christmas morning. We still leave milk and cookies out for Santa, even if my youngest brother is 15. We still all go to church together in the morning. I still call my 5-year-old, kindergarten best friend Ilse every Christmas afternoon to tell each other what we got for Christmas. Later in the night, I call my college roommate Kirsten to discuss and debrief any craziness that her wild family got into throughout the day. I go to sleep at night wrapped up in flannel pajamas and tucked into the same bed I have had since age 2. I fall asleep thinking about how incredibly lucky I am for these people in my life.
This Christmas, dear friends and family, I may be 3,000 miles away, but I am no less grateful for your presence in my life. You never know the love and support you have from people in your life until they are forced to go to great lengths in order to communicate with you. After five months here I am amazed by those who continue to make time in their lives for phone calls, emails, Facebook messages and Skype dates. I love each and every one of you with my whole heart, and your kindness is appreciated more than you will ever know. So on this special holiday, celebrate Christmas together, and remember the profound love we have for one another. And think of me often, as I am most certainly thinking of you.
All my love, especially to Mom, Dad, Joe, Michael and Danny - you are wonderful & irreplaceable. A piece of me lies with each of you today in Minnesota.