It is nearly the end of my time with 2008, and I still can't quite figure out how it all passed me by so quickly. I guess it isn't surprising that time flew out the window when the first six months of the year were largely consumed by school and homework. Then I had a brief lull, where I tried to cram in as many things as I could because I'd felt like I'd been previously missing out. Later in the summer, politics had me enthralled and took up a large percentage of time over the course of several months. Also at the end of the summer, I was sick for quite awhile and didn't get much accomplished. Then I got Jessica off to school, added a new puppy to the household, spent time with family, watched my nephew enter the world... just in time for the holidays to sneak up on me. Now here we are... ready to close the curtains on my relationship with 2008 and usher you in with the blush of new infatuation.
I laugh as I think about 2008 because I feel like I didn't accomplish all that I wanted. But in the grand scheme of things, I overcame some major hurdles and knocked some items of the perpetual to-do list. Jessica finished at Pierce and we moved her to Ellensburg for college. I finished my degree at Evergreen (after putting it on hold for so many years). That was huge. But I think the anticipation of it was bigger than actually doing it. Ha-ha. Once it was over, I had that feeling of... hmmmm, now what? and I immediately thought about graduate school. Now that is in front of me like a giant wilderness.
In a matter of hours, it will be New Year's Eve. I will be making one last mental checklist before taking off for London and my new adventures in 2009. There are butterflies in my stomach from the nervous anticipation of it all. Not just the flight (which I hate), but the thought of leaving Tim for thirteen days is not easy. Also... the idea of being alone in a different country and trying to navigate my way around is a little scary. Then there is the whole idea of starting a grad program and meeting a bunch of new people. That is always a major challenge for the quiet side of me. To top it off, I will be putting my soul on the table for dissection... another tough thing. Ugh. Geez, I'm starting to make it sound more like torture than something I've wanted for a long time.
I am genuinely excited. I've always wanted to go to England. It is one of the boxes waiting to be checked off on my life's goals list. Through all of the nervousness, I instantly slip into rushes of adrenalin when I think about the trip. I'm trying to keep that at bay so I can get through another day and a half of work (ugh). Tonight, I will finish packing everything so I will be ready to leave from the office and head straight to the airport tomorrow. *sigh* How will I make it through the next 36 hours? I am soooo ready for a break.
I'll be taking a non-stop flight to London and will arrive mid-day on the 1st. What a way to start 2009! I'll be staying at the Hilton at Hyde Park, so I hope to get some good photos in the park, and also want to have a chance to sneak over to Notting Hill to snap a few there before it gets dark as well. Then Friday, I will climb on the tour bus (also outside of my comfort zone) to go and see Bath, Salisbury, and Stonehenge. I don't like being a traditional tourist, but I figure it is the easiest way to get to see the stuff I want to see without having to do it on my own. Too cool. Tim teases me about going to see a bunch of rocks, but I think he's just jealous. :) Saturday I have to make my way to the campus in Oxford, and then everything starts early that evening. There will be lectures and classes, guest authors reading, panel discussions, etc. We also get a free afternoon somewhere in the schedule so we can travel around and see some sights. It is an amazing opportunity. I'm ecstatic.
I'm going to try to convince Tim that we should spend next Christmas in Europe. Since we both have to go in January, we could leave on Christmas, take the kids along and make a vacation out of it. Then they could just fly back on their own. We could go to Italy and France or Scotland and Ireland or something. It would be uber cool and the kids could definitely use a little culture and international awareness. It is a win-win. :)
So, 2009, I'm looking at you with great anticipation. I think you've got a lot of tricks up your sleeve, and there may be some rough patches in store, but I see the gleam in your eye and the promise of many more great things on the horizon. I'm counting on you to take it to another level and make the upcoming year better than the last. That will be tough, but I think you can pull it off.