Monday, December 31, 2012

Burning El Año Viejo

Hi, I´m not home yet so I won´t elaborate on my travels or post lots of pictures just now, but have some time this morning to devote to a post for the new year and the old year. 
I stopped in the small city of Riobamba to see a friend from here and stay with her family, etc., on my way back from Cuenca. I was going to hike up the volcano Chimborazo, but am putting it off because it´s kind of complicated and expensive to get there by myself and my friend here, Daniela, is planning on spending the day with her family, so she can´t accompany me. Also, I´m a bit travel weary and have no clean socks in which to hike. So, I guess I´ll come another time. It´s not far from Quito--about four hours by bus.
Anyway, today is the last day of 2012 and the way this is celebrated here in Ecuador is by creating and then burning a dummy made from cloth and paper called año viejo, or old year. Usually this dummy wears a mask or is an effigy of some politician, cartoon, or famous person and is on display for a while for an informal sort of competition--who can make the best effigy?--before it is set on fire as a way of forgetting the bad things that happened in the last year. My friend Danhy spent some time last night writing down some things she´s going to burn, so I decided this was much better than making resolutions, which I´ve never done seriously anyway, and sat down to write a list myself. 
The result was actually pretty short and mostly resulted in me being reminded of good things rather than bad. I regret nothing. I wish I hadn´t lost some of my possessions and I yes, I suppose there were a few things that happened that I wish I could have avoided, but it´s mostly been a good year. The only thing I can think of to burn tonight is how much I´ve worried about student loans, finances, finding a job, and all of those grown up things. I´ve spent too much time focusing on my future in the form of worrying, rather than just doing what I can and enjoying where I am and what I have.
In 2013, I am not going to get stressed about the lengthy and expensive visa process I have to undergo or about how I am going to afford a trip to Columbia so that my current visa doesn´t expire. I´m not going to let myself dwell on just how terrifying it actually is that I´m going to be here for at least a year without seeing my family or my Idaho, without knowing how much I´ll like my job or this country in the long run, and without knowing much Spanish. I´m just going to trust that everything will fall into place, because it always does. Of course, I know myself well enough to know I will still probably worry, but hey, might as well give it a shot, right? 
Oops, that was totally a New Year´s resolution. Crap. Oh well.
Happy New Year from the middle of the earth!
 My family's ano viejo.
Get behind me, 2012!

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