Well, what an unusual end to the year this is proving to be. At a time when most in the UK are busying either stuffing themselves with leftovers and nibbles from Christmas or preparing for parties to bring the new year, we’ve been busy packing up the house we’ve called ‘home’ for the last six months and packing the bags to take back to Bangladesh.
To be fair, we are going to a party this evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve, but I suspect it will be a party tinged with sadness. Most of our best friends from up in the north of England, where we live, will be there and this will be, very much, a saying goodbye. Tomorrow we’ll finish packing and the day after we fly. The likelihood of seeing any of our friends again before we leave is slim.
Packing the house has been rather horrible. We’ve had a wonderful six months there and packed in some great memories in that time as a family. So the many days spent packing it up have really reinforced the fact we are leaving this all behind, and for emotional types like me and my family, this has been painful.
On a side note, one annoying thing with the house has been the letting agency who, despite knowing we were going to be there for just six months, have stuck to the letter of the contract and, because we didn’t specifically write it anywhere, we’ve had to give a month’s notice late and forced to pay an extra month’s rent even though we’ll actually be living in Bangladesh. We probably have to pay council tax too which is very expensive. The total cost could be as much as £1,000 (tk 10,00,00) – which neither ourselves nor our sending agency have really. But what can you do? They know we are voluntary workers working for a small charity but, as I’ve mentioned many times in the past, greed and corruption always arise – wherever you are.
But apart from that blip, the time at the house has been lovely and we were blessed to stay there. The time we’ve had with our friends – all over the country – has been a real blessing too. The time we’ve had as a family has been equally as blessed. We’ve spent so much of the time doing and not being that it has been hard to find time to take stock and realise that.
I guess that is what celebrating the New Year is all about – looking over the past year and counting your blessings, learning from your mistakes, and moving on to the future. Personally, over the year I’ve achieved many of my own aims – got a blog established with a good, international following; started an MA; had articles published in various newspapers and magazines – even a short story to come out sometime next year! But there are things I’ve failed to do – not least being to get a book written whilst I was in the UK. I have several books I want to get done but no time to write any of them. Now, if a publisher reading this would like to give me a commission and financial incentive to write one…that’s a different story!
Most of all I have been blessed by seeing my two children grow and develop as young people. My daughter is not going to a be a child for much longer and that is a bittersweet experience, but my son has suddenly gone from being the little boy he was when we came to Bangladesh to returning there entering puberty, having discovered many of the ‘older children’s’ delights – like girlfriends. Both of them have flourished as musicians too (to my special delight) with each now exerting their personality in their choice of favourite instrument and progressing swiftly on them all.
So, I’m going to go to this party tonight and I will enjoy the ridiculously rich and expensive food and drink that will no doubt be laid out, I’m going to enjoy the conversations with my friends and their own children, I’m going to laugh as I watch my kids playing video games with the others and, no doubt at all, be laughed at by everyone else as I try to play one or two of them too. I’m going to shed tears, maybe privately, as I think about the fact we’re leaving this all behind, but I’m not going to be morbid and I’m not going to be miserable. I’m going to be smiling and looking around at everyone having fun and be thankful for the blessings I’ve received.
I hope that your New Year celebrations, in whatever form they come, will be just as great a blessing to you and that you too are able to find things to be grateful for in the year gone and also have a great hope for the future year ahead.
Happy New Year everyone –Shubho Nobo Bochor shobai