Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I went to save a new document for this blog entry, and I realized that I had the date wrong--I had written January 1, 2008. It always takes a while to adjust, to move on from the old year.

New Year’s Eve has never been a hugely important celebration in my family history; I sort of remember a couple of times during my childhood where my parents got together with my aunt and uncle and played cards or something. My cousin and I, and maybe some other kids? would be left in the basement to watch movies or play. I don’t remember what we watched, though I have some vague memories of something having to do with Marky Mark???

I don’t really know if we stayed up until midnight or not. It just wasn’t that big of a deal.

I do remember the New Year’s that I spent in Saltillo, Mexico, my last year of college, during the semester I was student teaching. My friend Al and I got involved in this bus trip to Mexico with a church youth group. Al’s friends’ dad was the pastor for this church, and her friends went on the trip, too. We were the translators, we read these passages from a Bible in Spanish while the youth group put on a play, and I designed the sets for this traveling play.

The entire trip was about the craziest experience of my life, and I’m sure much of the events will make their way in one way or another into my fiction at some point; it was such a bizarre journey.

But part of our experience involved a New Year’s Eve church service in this beautiful little church where we were staying (which equals sleeping on cement floors with temps in the low thirties at night and a shower the next day from an unheated cistern on the roof). We presented our play and the locals presented us with these amazing musical performances and dancing and just this wondrous service that made us wonder what, in truth, we could possibly bring to the amazing community they had.

On our walk back around the compound just moments after the New Year began (and Al, A. and I went on a little longer walk around the block-type area), the night was just one constant explosion as the neighbors threw fireworks into the street and shot their guns into the air (one hopes). It was certainly exciting, if a little unnerving, and I wrapped myself in my warm, new serape and thought about how different my life could potentially be.

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