Happy New Year! 

Here’s hoping 2010 will be better than 2009 for us all.  I can’t look back at 2009 without some personal regrets, seeing as how it was tainted with so much sadness and, on my part, temporary madness. Today would be my dad’s birthday; if he were still with us, he’d be fifty-five. This February, I’m going to be twenty-three.  I feel very old and very young all at once, but I suppose that’s what happens at my age anyway.

And I’ve been busy again–with holiday stuff, friends visiting, and now, with the new year, many friends leaving. One just left for Florida at the end of the previous weekend. Then on Monday, I accompanied one of my oldest girl-friends (since 5th grade) and her parents to the airport where we would send her off with our love and best hopes to the “South American New York City”–Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Thiana (pronounced “TEE-Anna“) has been preparing for this trip for many months now, practicing her Spanish, arranging for her future living situation, and saving up her paychecks from a temp job at a kosher bakery.  But she couldn’t prepare for falling in love–which she did, in early November, barely more than a month before her trip was to take her away from her amor.

Newly in love, Thiana and her hombre share some last laughs at the airport. Man in the background is surprised by Ruth's camera.

Understandably, it was a rough goodbye.  Her parents got foggy-eyed as they watched her walk off into her concourse towards the security line and strip off her tiny boots, wondering if she’d land safe and sound, when they’d see her next, and if she’d be happy during the year in-between landing there and here again. Her amor, who met us at the airport, struggled to hide his emotions and wound up in a retreating silence, lingering until she passed through the security line and went out of sight towards her gate.  Then he bought her car from her parents later that night, and I know he was smiling bittersweetly at her grip-prints on the wheel when he slid behind the driver’s seat.  He’s the sentimental kind of guy who might even enjoy it when the driver’s seat’s collection of shed strands of her oak-leaf colored hair finds its way to the fabric of his winter coat.  Yeah, as a couple, they’re just that cute.  (And I admit, I match-made them and can’t help bragging a little.)

By now, Thiana is settling among the bonairenses, adjusting as an unofficial porteña to the sorts of things the natives of the city take for granted:  the cheek-kiss as way of greeting, the practice of getting people’s attention by saying “che” in a politely obtrusive way (can that be done?), and of course, the tricky use of “vos” rather than “tú” when addressing someone in the informal second person.  And she’ll be wondering why she’s there when her amor is here in the States; why she had to go now when she’d only just found him; and how they’ll be whenever they meet face-to-face again, possibly in his native Mexico.

She’s “walking off the map,” as J.R.R. Tolkien called it–and into a realm of faith.  And I told her at the airport that I wouldn’t wish her luck, only courage and strength to face the strained emotions that arise from being far from home and  facing a life in transition.  I admire and envy her for taking on the adventure and long-distance love story ahead, and I wish her the best. 

If you want to follow her story, check out her blog here at http://argenthiana.wordpress.com and send her some love.

Instead of resolutions, I do poems for the new year. I think my poem for this year is going to be Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s (1806-1861) “Consolation” :

All are not taken; there are left behind
Living Belovèds, tender looks to bring
And make the daylight still a happy thing,
And tender voices, to make soft the wind:
But if it were not so—if I could find
No love in all this world for comforting,
Nor any path but hollowly did ring
Where ‘dust to dust’ the love from life disjoin’d;
And if, before those sepulchres unmoving
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth)
Crying ‘Where are ye, O my loved and loving?’—
I know a voice would sound, ‘Daughter, I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth?’