January 1, 2011

A Shining New Year

Boldog Új Évet {Happy New Year}! I can scarcely believe that 2011 is here, but I welcome it gladly.

I'm not exactly feeling well-rested today, since it was 4:30 by the time I finally crawled into bed. There was lots of celebrating here at the Bridge, obviously lasting late into the night. There was a church service, a huge spread of delicious food, games, and an endless amount of colorful paper chains, streamers, and party hats.

This New Year's Eve was the first in my life to not celebrate at midnight with an official countdown. At about quarter to, the chuch gathered in a circle of chairs in the conference room. We began to pray over the coming new year and by the time we had finished praying, it was 12:10 am. At one point, I caught myself thinking, well this is pretty anticlimactic. I wish we were doing a countdown. But just after this thought, I had another: Whoa, how selfish am I?

I was angry with myself for failing to realize that we were welcoming in 2011 in the best way possible. After all, it is God who gives us each year of our lives on earth. What better way to to welcome the New Year than to bow our heads in reverence to God, asking for His guidance and protection during the coming year?

We may not have had a countdown, but after our prayer meeting, we had a big toast and there was lots of hugs and Hungarian cheek-kisses while wishing each other a "Boldog Új Évet!"

We also celebrated with fireworks. When Jozsef mentioned to me that this was a church tradition, I assumed the fireworks were the mild family-friendly fireworks that one can buy at a fireworks stand. Imagine my suprise then when big, beautiful fireworks began bursting in the sky! It was a wonderul show!

We came inside from the cold and began the what would become several hours of karaoke-ing. {I clearly made that last word up!} I paid my dues and sang "I Will Survive" with a couple other ladies, but later on, I started to get some pressure to do a repeat performance of last August. This happened at the church camp when we had a karaoke night. Jozsef and Rachel insisted that I sing something, and something very "American" at that. I'm a terrible singer so I was trying to avoid hurting everyone's ears. I thought, ah ha, I'll do 'Ice Ice Baby' because I know it so well and it's a rap, so no actual singing required!

Keep in mind that at this point, I had only just met most people in the church and hadn't had much of an opportunity to get to know them, so as I sat there waiting for my turn, I felt like I was about to commit social suicide with this group of people. What will they think of me? I decided to throw caution to the wind and I performed the rap all out, complete with some gangster-ish motions and dancing thrown in. Everyone was cheering for me and I got a lot of compliments from everyone on how much they enjoyed it, but I was still inclined to think that they were all just being kind and secretly in their minds must be thinking that I was a weirdo.

Well, a few people had thrown out "Deanne! Ice Ice Baby!" during karaoke last night and I just shook my head and smiled. Later, it came to a point when no one was volunteering to go next and again some people started saying "Deanne! Ice Ice Baby!" which to my suprise ended up with everyone chanting "De-anne! De-anne! De-anne!" I gave in and felt much less self-concious this time, now having friendships with everyone who was there. Two men even joined in for about 30 seconds or so to be my "back up dancers."

It was such a fun night. As midnight approached, I felt antsy, wanting 2011 to get here already because 2011 will bring the end of this deployment. Of course I am in a hurry for that to happen. But I had to stop and remind myself of all the wonderful things 2010 held for me and Matt, despite being apart from each other. I don't want my excitement for what 2011 holds to make me forget the ways 2010 was a blessing.

Some of the lovely and wonderful things of 2010:
~my mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago
~trip to Portland, Oregon
~a memorable Easter with Matt's family
~me and Matt's mini-getaway to St. Joseph just before he left
~an amazing send-off party for Matt
~the arrival of two beautiful baby girls to two of my best friends: Amy had Campbell and Laura had Eden
~paying off Matt's car {now both our cars are paid off!!!}
~seeing Matt for 72 hours at the end of June + family time
~a delightful shopping trip with my mom and Erin to Brown County, IN
~my Grandpa Moss' 80th birthday celebration
~arriving to Hungary and spending my first full week with my dad here
~Matt's two week visit to Hungary in Sept./Oct.! This was incredible--full of memories, including Matt's birthday
~becoming a teacher in a local high school
~Jane's visit in November
~a wondrous Christmas season here in Hungary and spending Christmas with the Steiner family
~all of the amazing new friends and "family" I have acquired here in Hungary over the past several months

I raise my glass to 2010 and say "Cheers!" to 2011!

*I apologize for spelling errors in this and my previous posts as of late, since Blogger has decided to highlight ALL of my words as incorrect when I click on the spell check.*

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