Good-bye to 2005!

I have never been so happy to cross an imaginary threshold like the passing of 2005. This was a bittersweet year as I came across both incredibly high and lowpoints of my life this year. I set a personal record for flight miles but I couldn't even begin to calculate how many. I was in Europe 3 times, Hawaii 3 times, the Middle East once, and then Samoa. There were numerous trips all over the continental US. I think I spent more nights in hotels than in my own home. In fact, I'm sure of it!

The lowest point of the year was my father's death. It hit me much harder than I ever thought possible and even today, nearly 11 months later, I still am not 100% of my former self. I still have unresolved denial issues and at some point soon, I need to let go. I know that I owe a few people cards and letters and perhaps this weekend I may actually send them out. My friend Kelly died of Valley Fever and a recent episode of "Bones" featured Valley Fever, so it must truly be on the rise. Another dear family friend is in the hospital and when he gets out, it will not be to return home to but go to assisted living. Time heals all wounds I suppose, but my true benchmark will be to get past Valentine's Day, which was the day we had the memorial service.

The high was finally realizing that I had the job of my dreams. Circumstances made the transition tough but nothing is ever easy and now after 4 months on the job, I think I'm even enjoying myself! While Kuwait is not the 2nd home of my dreams, it seems that the universe wants to put me there and I assume that I will come to accept that world as well. I know that people worry about me when I travel but I hope that through my stories and pictures, you will all realize that what we see on the news is just an extreme representation of a region. Think about all the German tourist who have been murdered in Florida and you can just imagine what people in that country say about going to Miami. It is the same for us, all we ever hear about is the violence in Iraq and that does not represent the region or the people.

I had less movie parties than normal and I regret that. I hope that when I finally sell my condo, but a house, and put in a wonderful flat screen that the parties will resume and everyone will forgive my temporary lapse as a hostess. I saw more movies in the theater this year than normal but sadly, most of the anticipated movies were not really that good. I hope that 2006 is better for fans of film.

If I could repeat any event of the year, it would be the trip to Maui. It rained the whole time and the snorkeling was cold but even so, it was a relaxing week. I never did make it to Lanai or Molokai so those islands will have to wait.

Of the new places that I went to this year, I loved the vitality of Beirut, the people of Jordan, and the open air beer tents of Estonia.

I'm glad the Star Wars saga is complete but it was sad to see it end on a low note. Revenge of the Sith could have been so much more satisfying had it not focused on CGI and non-essential plot points.

And for some reason in May, it made sense to return to school which explains why I am at home right now on New Year's Eve. The statistics class is kicking my butt and I was determined to finish a portion of the online tutorial in 2005 so I could be free to enjoy brunch with friends tomorrow! I am a slow learner when it comes to something that I have zero desire to study and this class is really punishing me for that attitude. What I don't understand is why the world wants you to do complicated formulas that take 6 steps when it's simply easier to condense the work into 2 steps, forget about letters, and just do math. Same answer, less stress.

Looking ahead at 2006, I'm not sure what will come my way. I have to assume that at some point the condo will sell and I'll buy a home. I leave for Kuwait on Jan. 15th and I'm already planning the next trip for April. I'm passing on the Star Trek cruise this year since it's the Canadian waters to Boston and after the Baltic Blast, that's just a bit too tame for me. School will continue on until 2007, so that's just a given that I'll be busy as usual. I still exist and I plan to make more time to enjoy being with my friends and family. Too bad I can't convince any of you to go to Kuwait with me. Yes it's boring but the hotel room is paid for!

One last note before I sign off for the night - remember the cookie! All of you shared in the story of the fortune cookie and your cookie awaits! Follow your dreams and go for it when the opportunity arises!