It’s hard to believe that only a year ago I was still in highschool. I’ve been away from home for nearly four months, finished up my first semester at Southern Virginia University and returned to New England for the holidays.

The most commonly used word in the past few weeks has been ‘strange.’ It has all been very strange.

This New Years eve has been my best so far, I think. After spending a night with some of my closest friends, I had the opportunity to go with my mom to a Birthday/New Years party for one of my mom’s closest friends (who also happened to be one of my young women’s leaders in church). All the “old ward” was there – those families that I’ve grown up with and love so dearly.

I had the opportunity to speak to many who I’ve missed more than I thought was possible. It was so nice to catch up and capture that home feeling. Oh how I wish I could bottle it up and bring it back to BV with me! Early evening found me sitting cross-legged on the floor playing Apples to Apples with a bunch of four and five year old kids, giggling and taking part in impromptu tickle fights. Later I could be found leaning against the back of my mom’s chair, listening and talking with some of the adults who have been pretty influencial throughout my childhood. We cracked jokes, talked about family and friends and generally had a good time watching the littler ones piling icing on their gingerbread men.

We had “midnight” at 7:45 for the little kids, including raising plastic cups to the ceiling, sparkling apple cider sloshing about within them as balloons appeared from nowhere. It was hard to stop grinning as I saw all the little ones chasing the balloons about, shrieking with joy. Little Sophia offered us balloons when she saw us empty handed, only to have us toss them to her because it was so precious to see her revel in the falling balloons.

I got to thinking, in the back of my mind as I was laughing and chatting with friends, how wonderful the evening was, and how everything had changed. I was thinking of what I learned, everything I saw, and everything I hold so dear.

I’ve learned so much, and yet realized that I know so little. I’ve left friends behind and to my utmost joy realized they were still with me. I’ve gathered new friends who will doubtless be lifelong. I’ve come to cherish my family all that much more. And those who are almost-family.

The past two weeks or so I’ve had little to do but wander about in my own mind. Figuring things out, finding those ever-important truths one has a tendency to bury, recognizing the moments over the past year in which I learned so much in an instant. The ones that made me laugh till my belly hurt, the ones that made me cry until my eyes stung and the tears had dried on my cheeks (not always sad tears, mind you). Significant moments.

In retrospect, 2010 has been a great one. I say this as I listen to the neighbors count in a mixture of Polish and English as they watch the ball drop. My mom and sister went to be long ago. I’ve been curled up on the couch writing as I listen to some of my favorite songs. I had intended on writing a deep, reflective post about the past year, but it’s hard to sum up the words properly. Perhaps that says enough?

It’s strange.

Happy New Year, my friends!




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