365 Days, Innumerable Lessons

The leaves crunch under my feet and fall from the branches above me. Soon there will be no more leaves on those majestic trees and their naked branches will reach up to the sky until they are weighed down by the sparkling white beauty of snow.

Another year nearing its end, having flown by yet again. It seems time is always doing that. More than 12 months ago we moved here. Nearly 4 months ago we got married (has it really been that long already??). Less than 2 months left before 2012 greets us. Or do we greet 2012?

The year began with much apprehension for what was awaiting on the horizon – still settling in a new place, a wedding to plan across an ocean, no foreseeable moment (for me) when I felt I would be driving comfortably…get the idea? Thankfully the year is coming to a close with tranquillity and serenity. I’m pretty much settled in, the wedding was perfect and I’m happily driving (mostly) comfortably.

This year has been filled with learning experiences:

Learning about marriage and sharing my husband with his full-time job, without feeling too lonely. Thankfully he doesn’t work so late and I have the joy of usually driving him to and from work, lengthening our time together every morning and every evening.

Learning to drive. More importantly: learning to drive without fear.

Learning how to manage our bills, credit cards and credit scores. The whole credit rating and credit system was (and I think will always be) so foreign and so incomprehensible to me. I understand how it works, I just don’t particularly understand why.

I’ve been learning how different life is here as an adult, compared to France. Simple things like getting a cell phone account is made ridiculously complex and bizarre because of the credit system. Oh, and why in the world do we pay or use our minutes when someone calls us? Landlines don’t work like that, and most countries in the world don’t either. One of the many mysteries, for me, of U.S. cell phone accounts.

The medical system, the tools available, the costs, the insurance, even the pharmacies and prescription methods baffle me endlessly.

Although I must admit, the 7 days a week, 24h, or open late pharmacies, supermarkets and stores do make things so much easier. Or maybe they just make us lazier? Hm. I always seem to find myself at odds with myself over that point. But I think ultimately I would probably say that it is a wonderful convenience to have the supermarkets and pharmacies open late and on Sunday. That has often proven to be of enormous help and brought great relief for last minute necessities.

The truth is, like I’ve often said in other entries, there are good and bad things of every country. This past year has allowed me to start learning what those good and not-so-good attributes are here.

What I’ve learned most of all this past year is that I’m happy here. I do miss my family, certain places and things from France, but I’ll see them again, I’ll have those things once again. There’s no point thinking constantly of what we had, what we might have, what we could have, or where we could be. So I think of what I do have, I think of the people who love me, near and far, I think of where I am now, and I embrace all of that.

I am infinitely lucky and I am happy.