This was the year of living with my parents, with my best friends, with a stranger. This was the year of mint tea and French TV shows, of cooking for my friends and of touching the North Sea. This was the year of discovering podcasts and the potter’s wheel. This was the year of Our Last Spring Break and of eating pesto quinoa surrounding by towering orange rock at dusk. This was the year of packing my bags.
This year, I called 911 for the first time. The year, I moved abroad and I got a job. I rode a city bike in the Netherlands and I hiked the highest mountain in the Chartreuse range. This year, I lead climbed in the Red. I ate cheese fondue in Switzerland and I road-tripped across Romania more than once. This year, I graduated from college.
This was the year of art museums and rock walls and foreign bookstores. It was the year of Indian chai and holding crying children close. It was the year of writing emails and talking on the phone and making Skype calls because we all missed each other. The year of buses and trains and metros and tramcars. The year I lost my footing in the church and found it in God. The year of driving hours and hours alone and not minding it at all. The year of seeing all the ways I’ve been wrong and the year of looking at myself plainly.
This year, I listened to French and Romanian radio stations in my Michigan kitchen and I daydreamed about both countries from a cubicle. This year I strengthened lots of old friendships and started a few new ones and I said goodbye so many times. This year, I flew across the Atlantic three times. I drove to Utah and back. I learned how to hold conversations in Romanian and I learned how to manage a classroom of French teenagers. I bought a bike.
This was the year of juniper trees and pinesap and edelweiss and houseplants and wild raspberries. The year of receiving big gifts, of saying thank you, of baking cookies. The year of conversations with people I’ll never see again, whose names I’ll never know. The year of being disappointed, the year of being delighted. The year of eating in other people’s homes, of sleeping in basements and spare rooms, of buying my own bedding.
This was the year of losing “home.” The year of someone’s wedding and someone’s funeral and someone’s new baby. The year of throwing lunch in a backpack and eating it on the peaks.
This was the year of looking back on the year, of looking forward to the next, of writing memories like wishes in my journal, of crafting my own “year in review” so I might have something to hold on to, so I wouldn’t forget that this was the year of change, the year of movement, the year of adventure, the year of living. This was the year, this is the year, and so it goes.
Jenna Griffin loves foreign music, old cookbooks, public transportation, and sunsets in new places. After graduating with degrees in writing and French, she is spending her first post-grad year as an English teaching assistant in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France.