Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sleeping will not be an option tonight...

It's 1:54 in the am and the street noise outside my apartment building is worse than your average lunch-hour traffic jam. The upper-80s weather keeps closing my window from being a real option, so here I am, blogging in the early hours of January 1, 2009, rather than doing what the old lady in me would like to be doing: sleeping.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Brazilians know how to party. I would venture to say that, second to the famous Carnaval celebration, New Year's Eve is the biggest holiday celebration in Brazilian culture. Christmas isn't even that big of a deal, usually varying from family to family, but everyone does something for New Year's. I've always commemorated New Year's more out of necessity than anything, but here it becomes much more than just a change in the final digit of a four-digit number, with fireworks all day long (ok...so I guess that doesn't set it apart yet from any other Brazilian holiday...or day, for that matter...), wardrobe to match the occasion (you wear the color that represents what you're looking for in the new year...white represents peace, red represents love, I guess, and I don't know the rest of the colors because, as I mentioned, new years to me is a change in number. But I digress...), fancy hair and make-up for the ladies, New Year's eve services for the churches, and empty streets for the pedestrian (me.) I waited in a ten-minute line tonight to buy a single egg at my friendly neighborhood bakery, but then walked home and didn't see a single other person or even a car, for that matter, on the street. Holidays are bizarre here.

The church members spent the evening together, sharing a delicious meal and reflecting on blessings from the past year and dreams for the next. I didn't have the guts to take the microphone and speak in front of everyone, but I did sit in my chair and think of my own blessings and dreams. I have so many, too many to count, and could not be more thankful to God for making 2008 a great year. It has been a challenging one, challenging in ways I never could have anticipated, but that has given me opportunities to see God being faithful in ways I had never seen before, as well as opportunities to see God working in me in ways I had never experienced before.

I know 2009 will be filled with lots of new adventures, new words in Portuguese, new relationships, new mistakes, and new experiences for growth, but I am grateful for the old adventures, old relationships, old mistakes, and old growth experiences that got me to this point. May your 2009 be a year of growth, adventure, relationships, and even, sometimes, mistakes. And, through it all, may God accompany you and hold you and carry you and guide you.

Feliz Ano Novo!!!

2 comments:

Lacy Almeda Hefley said...

Thanks for the egg! What a great roomie I have...

deanna said...

You are in my prayers for this transition. I know it must be scary but think how far you have come and how many scary situations God has gotten you through. If you come to Abilene let me know! :)