Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I can hardly believe that it is 2013, and this is the fourth year that this blog has been in publication.  This post was something I meant to do before the New Year, but alas here I am.  I do have to admit that perhaps this post is a bit more for me than my readers, but I think that any type of self-reflection is always good every once in a while.

2012 started off with some Chilean friends ringing in the new year in Viña del Mar.  It was really nice of them to include me, as I was the only gringo there and felt a bit like a special guest.

It also included some friends visiting me, which was a nice way of sharing my experience in Santiago with others and also a great way to strengthen some already great friendships.

There was also a trip to the emergency room on my birthday, and an enormous sense of relief and gratitude that it was not worse and that I had some great friends that helped me out in a time of need.

There was some traveling:  A visit back home to New Jersey, reconnecting with friends in Los Angeles, a trip to Bogotá, and two trips down to the south (Puerto Varas, Chiloe, and Bariloche).

There were also some accomplishments: becoming a permanent resident, attending two international conferences, working as an interpreter, teaching my first "classroom" class of 16 students in about 3 years, and presenting workshops at a conference and at Grants (the institute I work at).

I´m not a terribly social person, yet I have managed to venture out and go to some new events and make some new friends..  This includes a blog reader Britt who took a chance and commented on my blog a few years ago wanting to come to Chile, and she came here and we have since become good friends.

I have been fortunate to have managed to maintain friendships and professional relationships despite the spans of time and distance.

Not everything went as well as I hoped.  Some professional relationships were cut off, and some friendships have faded away due to various reasons.  I also realized that some friendships were no longer worth my time or effort.  I dealt with getting bitten by a dog and the owner who didn´t want to take responsibility as well as a trip to the ER on my birthday.  I still struggle to relate to people at times since I´m not a very social person and am not much for going out late at night.

All of these events have a silver lining, however.  I´ve come to the following realizations:

1. Not everyone you mean is going to like you or want to be friends.  No matter how others treat me or say about me behind my back I am a much happier person if I treat them with respect and courtesy.
2. Some friendships don´t work out for various reasons.  That doesn´t mean people are bad; they are just different, and there´s nothing wrong with letting go.
3. Negativity just breeds more negativity.  Either turn it into a positive or let it go.
4. Having faith in people that they will do the right thing will usually work out.  It might not be perfect, but it will certainly turn out better than if you have a negative expectation of them.
5. I have had many wonderful people in my life that have helped me as I grew up: family, teachers, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers at times.  If I can do anything to help others (sharing my experiences in Chile, teaching methods, passing on materials I´m not using, helping people connect with each other to teach in other countries) it is a great way to give back to others.
6. There´s nothing wrong with me for being an early bird and not being a big fan of going out drinking late at night.  (Perhaps Chile´s ban on smoking in enclosed public places that will take effect in March will help with this.)
7. If you expect things to work out in your favor they will find a way of doing so.  If you expect conflict and negativity, that is what you will find in your life.

All in all, 2012 was a great year.  I´m very fortunate to have the experiences that I have had.  Thank you for reading and hope you all have a wonderful 2013!

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