Sunday, 1 January 2012

Looking back, looking forward

As a New Year begins, it seems like a good moment to look back at 2011 and forward to 2012. I am a great believer in living in the moment and enjoying where I currently am (which given the number of new and exciting experiences I am currently in the midst of, isn't too difficult!) but that is not to the exclusion of also taking time to pause and reflect. Our first trip away from DBTC since our arrival here has also been a chance to step back and think about everything we are currently experiencing.

We are now three months, about one third, of our way into our time here, and because it is such an all encompassing experience, in some ways everything else feels quite distant. That being the case, it is perhaps strange to think that this time last year I hadn't even really begun to think about leaving France, the ideas of exploring life in community and volunteering in a poorer part of the world were certainly live questions, but with no specific ideas in sight, and the Salesians were a religious order I had vaguely heard of but knew next to nothing about.

I guess, looking back, I will probably remember 2011 as the year we went to the Philippines, but it was not until the end of July, a month after leaving my job in France, that we knew we would be seeing in 2012 in the Philippines (and not until October, several days after landing here, that we knew we'd be coming to DBTC) and plenty else had happened before that. Most of our other fabulous memories from this year have been time spent with so many different friends. Our 30th birthday party standing out as a very special time - and the humbling experience of feeling so loved is undoubtedly something we have brought with us here too.

And who knows what 2012 has in store? Half of it, of course, will be here, and although in some ways that means six months of "more of the same" I still feel there is plenty more to learn and experience. Beyond that, well, we don't yet know what will come next. A trip to Taize, no doubt, and probably this time next year we'll be in Rome. We're not expecting to receive many visitors, but I hope we'll get to visit some of you, because visiting lots of friends and family has definitely been among the highlights of 2011. In between all that, we're not sure where we'll be: but as 2011 seems to have worked out pretty well, I'm going to assume 2012 will turn out to be just fine too!

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