07 January 2009

This new year

Today is January 7. Tomorrow the children of Spain return to school. The Kings have come and gone, leaving presents in their wake. If the children have been naughty this year (as most have), they also left coal--sometimes made of sugar, but sometimes the real thing. (Our niece, in a fit of contrariness, insisted that she wanted to eat lumps of real charcoal brisket out of the hefty bag that she so eagerly unwrapped.)

But there's no room for more sweets anyway. Everyone's bellies are stuffed with turró (nougat and custard bars eaten throughout the holiday season) and polvoró (soft, crumbly round sweets) and tortell (the marzipan-filled and fruit-topped ring cake hiding a fava bean and a king figure, eaten on Epiphany), not to mention the stews and soups and meat and fish of the traditional neverending meals.

Barcelona has hit a cold spell, and we even saw snowfall last night. We ran out into the street and tried to catch clumps of the big, wet flakes. There was no driving to be attempted, since a little bit of snow snarls everything. So I spent one more night at my in-laws'. The Mister, meanwhile, was already on a plane to Brussels.

Which, I suppose, means that the holidays really are over. We had such a lovely week in Vermont. It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone again, especially the littlest. No sooner had we landed in Barcelona than it was time to ring in the new year, which once again we did at the Mister's grandmother's. This year, though, our nieces spent the night at our house, which was a fun treat for us and them. Then a big all-family meal on New Year's Day. Then a busy couple of days of shopping and wrapping presents and visiting with dear friends, and then Kings', which is like Christmas all over again. But it had to end sometime.

Today I trundled big bags of new goodies up to our cold apartment, and am now trying to warm it via space heaters. I am still wearing my coat, however, and making good use of my new fingerless gloves with clever mitten flaps, a gift from my sister-in-law. They come in handy for typing when one's hands are blocks of ice.

I feel a bit melancholy, as I always do after the bustle and cheer of the holidays. I feel daunted by the weight of what I want to accomplish this year, the changes I hope to see--from the very small to the impossibly huge--and the lurking fear of not being up to the challenge. Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, thinking of all the things that I want to do, all of the ways that I want to be better, all of wishes I have for our future. My project this evening will be to write them all down, little to big, practical to fanciful, and try to express some of the bigger ones in clear goals and prayers that can be my focus during this year, 2009.

Wow. 2009.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Welcome back! I'm sorry you're melancholy... I always feel that way at the end of the holidays, too. But I hope it wears off soon.