Like so many others tonight, I'm spending the last few hours of the year reflecting on the passing of the year and starting to build anticipation for a new year. Even as arbitrary as the "passing of the year" may seem, I find something comforting in sifting through status updates, blog posts, and old pictures. Yesterday in talking with a friend about the year 2010, I could only think of one word: intense. It was a year of intense highs and intense lows, with little in between.
It was a year heavy with loss and light with the comfort of good friends and family. It was a year I spent confused by time zones, crossing between spaces and places. It was a year I felt at home in more than one place. It was a year of emotional joy and turmoil. It was a year of challenge in numerous ways.
1. I said goodbye to both Pete Peterson and Charles Meador this year. We, as a community, said goodbye to Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. It was the 10 year anniversary of saying goodbye to my father. The heaviness of these losses weigh particularly heavy on me as we transition into a new year.
2.I also loss the comfort of a few close friends, due to various circumstances. Although I end the year without the comfort of their friendship, I still recognize just how much they've added to my life this past year.
3.The Nashville flood. While so much of what I remember from the flood is of loss, it also produced a family with my neighbors (Ashley and Michelle), allowed me to ask for and receive help from loved ones and good friends (too many to name), and loosened my grip on those things we can't control.
4. There were great shows: Eric Bachmann, Jonathan Richman, David Dondero, The Hold Steady, The National, Andrew Jackson Jihad and The Arcade Fire...and all the music I saw in Puerto Rico-- particularly Anti Sociales and Superaquello.
5. I spent eight weeks of my year in Puerto Rico. My time in Puerto Rico are among (and will always remain) some of my fondest of memories. I found a family there. I met some of the best friends I've ever had and opened my heart up again to the possibility. I also had the opportunity to activate the activist in myself. I think of my friends on the island every day, missing them and appreciating what they've brought to my life. I heart you folks.
6. My mother visited Nashville for my birthday and made my birthday quite spectacular. Trey and Charlie visited, which upon reflection is quite bittersweet. I'll never forget those precious days. My friend Carlos visited in October and was forced to acknowledge my top-notch dance skills. My friend Joel visited for Thanksgiving and reminded me how important it is to enjoy every moment.
7. I had more side lawn parties than I can count.
8. I finished my masters thesis and earned my second masters degree (official today!). I wrote a book chapter. I presented my research on the University of Puerto Rico student movement for the first time. I wrote a grant and was awarded funding to spend the summer in Puerto Rico.
9. I started learning Spanish, both informally and formally. Mostly, I learned how to say "Cabron! Vete pal carajo, mamabicho." That being said, I also learned how to describe my family and furniture in the present tense. Now, I shall move on to perfecting the imperfect and future tenses...and of course, fine-tuning my knowledge of insults.
10. I had the opportunity to witness many of my friends making life-changing decisions. Jennie Ann and Derek got engaged. Ashley applied and got accepted to graduate school in Wales. My brother John graduated from college and got a job. And others, that shall remained unnamed, dealt with tragedies with a grace that I admire. And lastly, my sweet niece (dulce sobrina) Rowan was added to our family.
(I decided to write 11 items, given the new year)
11. If I've learned anything in this past year, it has been the sheer treasure that I have in my friends. Not only do I have the privilege of having a wonderful and talented family, but I've developed numerous other families-- in Charlotte, in Nashville, in Puerto Rico, in South Carolina, in California. I learned the importance of nurturing these relationships through family dinners and the simple acknowledgement of just how much these people mean to you. I've also had the joy of realizing how much I mean to others, which I thank you all for.
And here are some pictures from the past year...for your enjoyment.
|Best of 2010|
And to 2011, I cheers you. I'm ready for you.