Happy New Year y'all! 2009 held some growth and good times for me, but all in all I'm pretty stoked that it's over. I kicked off the new year's eve festivities at my mom's house with dinner of spare ribs and family game time. I tried to meet a friend on Capitol Hill for a drink, but there was NO parking. So I headed to a house party in the central district, where the fine folks were holding a "hall of shame". People brought remnants of their adolescent expression, such as essays, journal entries, songs, poems, or photos from awkward teenage years to read aloud. It was HILARIOUS. As midnight approached they projected the ball dropping in Times Square... from 1989. I rang in an old new year with a little champagne, but more excitement for getting a solid night's sleep. Waking up fairly early, I was ready to take the year by the horns. I met Tegan at Greenlake and we ran around it together, then did our own polar bear plunge by jumping off a dock. Here we are afterward, cold but invigorated. After that my friend Heidi was hosting a brunch, so I went and feasted. With Heidi in a rooster-print apron, she was an amazing hostess serving up waffles, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, eggs, veggie sausage, carrot muffins, homemade biscotti, fruit, coffee, and mimosas. Thanks Heidi! Another friend brought a little figure of a man made out of newspaper to do a Colombian tradition of "el año viejo" or "the old year". This is where you write any old issues, events, patterns, etc. from the previous year on the man, before symbolically burning him. We didn't actually write on it, but the little man got passed around the gathering so people could put any old energy from 2009 that they wanted to discard. Then into the blazing fireplace he went.
I like traditions like this because it's useful to have a physical act to help us let go of things. While I am grateful for every year of my life, there are definitely things from 2009 I want to let go of. I am reminded of Anicha, the impermanent, changing nature of all things. I never wrote about on this blog, but in November I did a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. It was a hard and amazing experience that I would highly recommend to anyone. The basis of the meditation is Anicha, the awareness that everything that arises shall also pass away. Whether good things we want to grip tighter, or bad things we want to fling away, those circumstances will ultimately change. So I'm just going to believe the New Year is like an informal, nationally-recognized, raucous meditation on change.
I'm a writer and editor in Seattle. I started this blog in 2008 to chronicle my travels in Latin America, and continued writing through jaunts in Europe and Asia.
Now I'm back where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and can't stop hiking to fire lookouts in the Cascade Mountains.