Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year End Wrap Up

Today is the final day of 2012.  And what a year this has been.  It has simultaneously been a good year with amazing opportunities and a hard year where I wasn't sure how much more I could take.  The work has been endless, we've entertained hundreds of people in our home, traveled to some amazing places both far and near, inside of Albania and out and met amazing people along the way.   We've made new friends and said goodbye to dear ones.  We've had visits from relatives here in Albania and I was lucky enough to be able to go back to briefly visit my family and friends in the States.  If my Facebook postings are any indication, 2012 was spent eating, drinking, and traveling through Europe.  (I'm certainly not complaining about this).  Through it all, the year just flew by.  People have always told me that time goes by faster as you get older and I'm afraid that is proving to be true.  Despite the good and the bad it has all been an adventure that I wouldn't trade it for anything.  (If nothing else, the year has provided me with some great blogging opportunities).

So here we are on New Years Eve.  Rumors are flying that this may be a short day at work since tonight is a big night.  While many Americans celebrate Christmas in a big way,  New Years IS the big holiday in Albania.  In fact, it is so big that the Embassy closes not only for New Year's Day on January 1st but Albanian New Year's on January 2nd.  Albanians living abroad return to their mother land for the festivities and families across the country celebrate with feasts and fireworks.  If the firecrackers and other exploding devices that have been going off on our street all weekend are any indication, this year is going to be bigger and better? louder? more festive? (insert adjective of your choice here) than last year. Already the air is heavy with the smell of sulfur and it reminds us of why we are staying home this evening.  We've received numerous invitations for parties this evening but our big plans include family time over a pot of cheese fondue, a bottle of champagne, and an impressive fireworks display at midnight.  This year we will wake Sidney (and maybe me as well) for the midnight fireworks display that is purely Albanian. (Last year's extravaganza included our elderly neighbor throwing lit firecrackers off the roof of her house).  We will get bundled up in our coats and take in the view from our third floor balcony.  We'll be asleep by 00.30 since tomorrow will be another day with a pre-schooler who has no concept of vacation days and be waking in the new year as the east coast of the United States ushers in 2013. 

I am really looking forward to putting 2012 to rest but what will 2013 bring? More adventures for sure. I could make further predictions but only time will tell as to how it all pans out.  Here's to a happy and healthy 2013, and for everyone who will be out tonight, a safe end to 2012.

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