There are to ways for the average person to measure their year. One way is with the standard calender invented by Julius Caesar that begins on January 1st. The other is by your own personal calendar that begins and ends each year on the anniversary of your birth. If we are going by the second, on Sunday I will be finishing the twenty third year of my life and entering the 24th. Its strange to have this event taking place during the winter and it really doesn't feel like my birthday is happening, but like it or not another birthday is coming and will soon be over. And what a year this one has been! It was a year full of landmark life events, new experiences, and its certainly been a year full of learning whether in the classroom, on the field, or in the street.
So let's see, on this date a year ago I was living in New York City and I was getting ready for an all day birthday bash by the pool at my parents house with a few friends. I had just finished college and there was a big scary world waiting for me while I was stuck for a few months in the glass cage of Origins selling beauty products. I brought in my new year with a few good friends and my family. A steak dinner and plenty of spirits was the perfect way to celebrate on a perfect evening.
So since then...I've moved to Argentina, lived in two different apartments, learned how to play Ultimate Frisbee, gotten much better at Ultimate Frisbee, I've gone from being a beginner at Spanish to at least a lower-intermediate, I've made many new friends, lived with foreigners for the first time, earned a TEFL certificate, began teaching English, tried out for two commercials, eaten more beef in ten months than in my whole life in the States, and moved in with my boyfriend. I've also traveled to Mendoza, Iguazu, Colonia in Uruguay, Monte Hermoso, and Mar del Plata. I've learned how to make empanadas, tartas, and I have become a master soup maker. I have been pretty much financially cut off from my parents for the first time (except for those once a month dinners that we cherish and a little help with vacations) and learned how great it feels to pay for your whole rent with your own hard earned cash. I've become an undocumented worker, an illegal immigrant, an expat and a team member. I have learned how to network, and how to survive in the urban jungle of a foreign city and it has given me the confidence that if I put my mind to it I really can do anything (with a little help from the Guia-T and Josh)(and of course the support of family and friends). I have finally learned my limits, I got the flu, I have learned to dance Salsa and I have seen the sun rise on more occasions this year than ever before. I've put on weight, lost it and put it on again, I've started wearing leggings, and I got my first pair of Frye Boots. I saw Iron Maiden and Monu Chau in concert, and learned for the umpteenth time that when you judge someone or something before getting to know them you are wrong more often than not. I have learned that the keys to a happy life are compromises that don't hurt you and good communication and that life is too short to do something you don't want to do and to not do something you want to do. I've become addicted to maté in any form, and I now know that you have to drink tea every day no matter how hot it is outside and that while I took a good many things for granted in my home country that it still might not be the best place for me to live. I've also learned how hard it is to be away from your family and that in the future its important to be close to them geographically.
That said I know that in one year I have learned and done a lot, but that it is only a tiny fraction of what there is to be learned and done and so instead of getting upset about growing older (and noticing the wrinkles on my forehead!) I am trying to look forward to another year that promises to be as full as this one.