Sunday, January 1, 2012

Teary Goodbyes, Happy Hellos

2012. This is it.

New Year's Eve is always one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I feel like sometimes it doesn't get enough credit for how fantastic of a holiday it is. For the past five years I have been attending the annual Russ fire. This generally guarantees really tall structures that, when lit, become burning towers of pyromanic joy. If you want to know what I mean you should check out the videos here and here. Really. I'm serious. Go watch the videos.

This year was a tad on a lower key.  There was less in the way of tower height and people attending, and more in the way of fireworks. Which is also fantastic. I do not discriminate in my love and appreciation for explosions of any type. I leave that for people who understand big words and physics.

It was nice to spend the evening with a smaller group of people who I really love. I was in a bit of a funk for most the night. A funk which only got worse after getting marshmallow in my hair and then later accidentally burning off some of my hair. It was one of those times when all the little things weighing on my mind were given permission to break the surface at once. At one point I may have curled up into a ball, buried my head in my friend's chest, and shed a few tears. Which is always awkward for me, but it turned out alright.

2011 was an incredible year, one that I didn't let go of easily. Here are the highlights:

Baby: Going to Detroit to help welcome baby Andrew Rice into the world.

Medieval Times: Celebrating my little sister's 20th birthday with some good old fashioned jousting.

Disney: Reunion with Courtney and Israel. Eating lots of delicious foods, riding all my favorite rides, seeing all my favorite shows, and talking talking talking with some very dear friends. Glorious.

Shows: Going to Wicked with Mom and Adam. They loved it as much as I do. We may have sang Defying Gravity together once or twice on the way home.

South Africa: No one specific story or event, just all of it. The people, the places, the food, the UNIC, the everything. A piece of my heart has taken up permanent residence in Pretoria, South Africa and will live there forever more. I never thought I would grow so much, love a place so much, learn so much in that small of a time. There aren't really enough words to express how perfectly tailored this experience was for me and my needs at that specific time. Perfect.

EFY: The name-tag rebellion. Trying to determine if I ever have felt like a plastic bag. Harry Potter. New friends. The kids. The wonderful, smart, spiritual, good kids. The learning we did together. It was great. Believe, Hope, Edure that's all I got to say.

Provo: Julie. Hollie. Sean. Boyd and Lloyd, the best hometeachers and dear friends. Michelle. 191st ward. HELP International. Figuring out my life. Learning how to knit. Talking into the night. Doing Utah specific things. Jane Austen movies. Fall colors. All good.

Costa Rica: Vacation bliss. 

And now it's over. It went fast.

Maybe it's because everyone is growing up. Maybe it's because I'm graduating. Maybe it's because I'm going on a mission. Maybe it's because of a lot of things all together. All I know is that the end of a lot of things felt tangible as 11:59 turned to 12:00 and took away 2011 with it.

I'm grateful for good memories though, they add to the excitement of the future.  I'm trying to keep in mind what Jeffrey R. Holland said, "We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives." 

On the agenda for 2012 are a lot of unknowns. Graduation and mission are the only certainties. I don't exactly know what to expect with either endeavor, which made resolution making difficult this year. So I only have three:

1. Follow the Spirit
2. Be happy while I'm here, because there's no here there
3. Don't pick at zits