For most of the New Years of the past, I’ve watched the ball drop on T.V. in New York’s Times Square. This year I wasn’t able to see the Waterford crystal ball drop amongst the thousands of pounds of confetti, but I was able to see a drop of a different kind: the sun.
Most of the volunteers from my group, 82, met in Savai’i, the other major island of Samoa where volunteers serve. We had a 1.5 ferry ride to the island from my island, Upolu. When we arrived in Savai’i, we had a taxi ready to take us to the opposite side of the island, the western most point in the country, which happens to be the most western point in the world. Samoa is the farthest country to the West, before you cross the international dateline where it is the next day and 23 hours ahead of Samoa.
We gathered on New Year’s Eve and arrived at our beach “fales,” or houses, which were just feet from the ocean. We spent two nights there. That evening, after enjoying the warm waters of the ocean, we began to wander out to the beach with our cameras in hand, to watch the sun set for the very last time, for the very last set of eyes, on that year that was soon to be history, 2009! I felt like we were turning the lights out on 2009, a year that meant a lot for so many of us.
For me, 2009 was the year of chances and changes. It was a year of anticipation and new journeys. It was a time of transition and sad good-byes back home. It was also a year of new friendships, languages and culture. It was a good year; it was a year to remember.
The sun gleamed brilliantly across the water and reflected oranges and reds throughout the different layers of clouds. 2009 took one final bow and then said farewell. After it was all over, I started looking forward to what that new sunrise would bring. Happy New Year, 2010!