There’s no doubt that 2011 has been different from any other. It’s easy to let it pass you by and get caught up in the busy rush of things but inevitably you have a moment where it hits you.

Last night Wilson and I went for dinner. We’ve hardly seen each other this past couple weeks so it seemed appropriate we connect. I filled her in on all that was cluttering my brain and she told me about the things that were cluttering hers and we excitedly talked about our plan to have one last weekend hangout before I leave in January in the event that we might never live in the same country together again. When we’d finally finished dinner I knew I wasn’t ready to go just yet so we wandered the grocery store aisles and found ingredients for trail mix and continued to make the most of our time together. Even then it didn’t seem quite enough so she walked me to my car and I drove over to hers and we sat there in the dark car for a while and I let out that in a year from now I might not recognize my life. Even more close to home is that in a month I may not recognize my life, aside from the familiar clothing that will be overflowing from my suitcase. Without warning a few tears fell and even now I can’t quite explain them. There was no sobbing, no anger just reflection and a sense of moving forward. I see what was and I see barely formed shapes for the future. Perhaps it’s the uncertainty or the desire to do so much more with my abilities and to give much more than I have been. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I’m excited. I’m looking with great anticipation into the future and I know that things will fall into place and I know that I have all that I need and that in some way or another all the things I love in life will begin to come together I just don’t know how exactly. It seems to me if your eyes are fixed with purpose on great things, great things are more likely to rise up. I’m certain that my love of photography, food, wine and gardening and every thing in between will be more harmonious one day maybe even sooner than I can fathom! I sometimes find myself stressed about it and then I have to remind myself it will all work out better if I just stop stressing.

Finally our time drew to a close and I drove from Cloverdale into Fort Langley for prayer. I hadn’t been in a few weeks and I’d really missed it. It was a great night and they all inquired if they’d see me again before I left and indeed they will. It will be unfortunate to be so far from them all but I know Paul and Heidi are pretty good at keeping in touch with everyone so I’m sure I’ll get photos, emails and text messages, even in France. When all was said and done I walked down the long dark driveway to my car and put on some Sufjan Christmas. I tucked my hands into my fleece lined mittens ready to get home and to bed but was thwarted by a train that decided to stop on the tracks so after about 10 minutes waiting for anything to happen I did a U turn and determined I could find another route home. I wove down snake hill in the dark and then onto Telegraph trail and passed homes with wrap around porches lit up with Christmas lights and rolled through the fog and it was what I imagined driving through the moors would feel like. It also became yet another time to reminisce into this last year as I drove past the blueberry farm where Aaron and I picked over several days collecting as many free blueberries as we could and enjoying deep conversation about life, travel and identity. The sounds of the birds chirped loudly like a symphony practicing before a performance all playing their own song until they were arrested by the sound of the canons to send them elsewhere. I then found my way onto another street I often take home from church where the mormon temple resides. I think I’m so fascinated by this building and just how it looks like a glorified penitentiary. There’s something very eerie about where it’s located and the people in the neighborhood and it was all lit up so I slowed the car down and took a few photos, something I’ve longed to do for quite some time. Finally I found myself on 72nd and drove past St. Herman of Alaska’s Orthodox church where I remember the heavy hearted feeling I had driving up to it on Easter, the music that played in the car and how I sang along with every ounce of my being trying to overcome and then joining with friends for the Paschal service. We solemnly sang for several hours and went through all the ritual and finally did a procession around the church three times lit by candlelight in the bitter cold and the chimes were sounded and when 2am hit everyone congregated around the tables in the common area and broke fast and each one who participated brought a basket of all they’d given up for 40 days. Cured meats, cheeses, wine and whiskey and chocolate were flowing. Pate and breads were passed around to the famished crowd and I sat in wonder of the entire thing. This year has been one where I’ve learned so much about the world, myself and the type of person I want to cultivate. It’s been a time of mourning and of great celebration.

My whole being longs and aches to be on the plane and to feel even more free. To know that new faces and new places are around every corner and to loose myself to the world and to finally tell everyone I am finally about to embark on the trip I have wanted to take for too many years. Today I attempted to get my visa and while it failed miserably because I didn’t have an appointment even just talking to the French man on the other side of the intercom made everything inside me leap to know I COULD answer without stuttering and eventually it will feel even more normal as every little adventure will have to be translated from French life, to English word.

I might have wings somewhere under this raincoat of mine and they might take me to very beautiful and high places.

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