A year ago this time, I was visiting the Everglades for the first time. That trip set the tone for my year in many ways. For me, it was the year of the road trip. First my trip south, the Everglades, visiting friends, seeing a part of the country I hadn't seen before. Then my trip out to my Peace Corps reunion, visiting more friends, and seeing parts of the country I hadn't before. A wonderful year of trips.
I'm planning next year's trip now, river rafting in either Washington or Idaho with a friend or three. Right now, I'm thinking of the Snake or the Wenatchee, and would be happy for suggestions! I hope this trip goes as well as the ones in 2006 did.
In many ways, 2006 has been a really good year, but it's also been a little rough in patches. I'm probably healthier than I've been since I was in college mostly because I've been exercising regularly. It's raining today, but yesterday I had a bike ride that was about perfection: the bike felt really good, the wind was behind me going out, so I felt smooth and easy. I saw a super friendly dog being walked, and stopped for some dog therapy (with permission from the walker, of course). There's not much better in life than to pet a really happy dog, and this one was wonderful. He was a yellow Lab (and I have a soft spot in my heart for yellow Labs after my last dog), about 5 months old, and totally joyful at being on a walk, being petted, just being.
I did the first 15 miles in just under an hour, and the last 5 or so at a slower time (against the wind), partly because I slowed to chat with someone who was roller-blading, mostly because I was relaxed and happy. Biking has added a lot to my year, not only in basic exercise, but in going with friends and in being outdoors enjoying the area.
I taught some good classes this past year; I think I did a really good job on my graduate class and first year writing class last semester, though the body class didn't go as well. Last spring's classes went pretty well, too, especially the Chaucer class. I've learned a lot teachingwise by doing new classes, though I have to admit I'm really looking forward to doing Shakespeare and poetry, familiar territory, this coming semester. I'll also be teaching an entry class to our major, which is writing-focused and takes the writing class slot for the semester.
I'm doing some reading this break on teaching and stuff, so I'll be blogging about that in the new year. One of the things I love about what I do is that there's always something to learn and think about. I haven't written as much this year as I'd hoped, but I'm planning to do better this year.
My family's mostly had a good year. One uncle died after a long illness, and he's sorely missed. One of my friends died after a not so long illness, and he, too, is sorely missed. But mostly the folks I care a lot about have been pretty happy, with good health. One was laid off, but found another job quickly. My Mom's happier with her living situation than in years.
Next year about this time, I expect to be preparing to go teach abroad. I feel odd scheduling my life more than a year in advance, but that's how these things have to work. It doesn't quite feel real to me, but my Mom got me a [Insert Foreign Language] for Dummies book and a set of language learning tapes, so I should start soon!
But before that, I'm going to have dinner with some friends.
Happy New Years, everyone. I hope the coming year treats you and yours well.