Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Years Resolutions

Yesterday afternoon, as she walked towards her house and Vula & I walked towards ours, I turned to my friend Lisa and called out 'Happy New Year!' and then, afterwards, 'how long do I get to say that?' How long indeed. This was the first time I'd seen Lisa since December so it seemed like a reasonable thing to say when I first saw her waiting for the same bus on campus... but after a twenty minute bus ride it seemed a bit, well, out of date. 

Here in the US time is marked by colours in the stores. Last time I blogged, the stores were crammed full of orange and brown, the colours associated with Thanksgiving, regardless of the fact we live in the north Pacific and trees here are just as green in November as they are the rest of the year (but this is the US, and even after all of these years the 'real' US remains in Boston and New York and other places where Europeans first moved in to stay); brown and orange were quickly followed by the green and red of Christmas (and a touch of blue and white for Hanukkah); this was replaced recently by the red and pink of Valentines Day; which will give way to pastel shades for Easter (I've never been able to make sense of why Easter gets pastel); then red, white and blue for the 4th of July and before you know it we're almost back to Fall. Yes, these are the colours of shopping, and they ensure that every few weeks   a trip to the shops becomes an opportunity to buy new things for the new festive season. It's a colour party, and we're all invited. Orange and brown! Red and green! Blue and white! Red and pink! Pastel! Red, white and blue! Woohoo! Get in the party mood! Buy! Buy! Buy!

Here in our home, time is marked on the one hand by semesters and academic years, and on the other hand by anniversaries. We're both at school this year: Vula is studying and I'm teaching, and even though it's only week two we have already developed memory imprints of daily patterns and routes and  breakfasts and lunches and bus timetables. Here in the orderly world of American university study, where timetables come in variations of only two basic forms - MWF or TR - and our classes are MWF (for me) and MW (for him) we have found that we have lovely Tuesdays 'off' together and we've found that Monday and Wednesday mornings are a collaborative effort to get out the door. The school year will shape our home year: fifteen more weeks of our MWF/MW routines, punctuated by a 'Spring Break' to celebrate the return of nice weather (not that it actually went anywhere when you live in Hawai'i, but I'm sure it's lovely for people in Boston); then a long lazy stretch of 'summer' which is three months in which our time is completely our own. Summers in academic jobs in NZ don't mean quite the same thing: here, summer means you're not actually employed by the university and so if you sleep or knit or go to the moon for three months they really don't care; there, summer means you still have to go to work but with easier parking and less food outlets open on campus. Yesterday I got my course assignments for 'next year' (starting late August), which means the other end of summer is less an open range of possibilities and more a quiet return to yet another semesterly routine. Vula's thinking about his next classes. And so it goes on. 

Time is also, however, marked by anniversaries, and with a relationship history like ours there are anniversaries scattered all over the month: when we 'friended' on facebook, when we first met, when Vula arrived in Hawai'i and we started properly living together, when we got engaged, when we got married. Our first three weeks were spent apart, while we waited for his US visa, and I found myself impatient to wait for a whole year in order to celebrate crossing a line in the sand... so I bought happy anniversary' cards and replaced the word 'year' with 'week' three times in a row until he arrived and I could tell him to his face. 

So, am I too late for New Years Resolutions? If wishing Lisa a cheery 'Hapy New Year' felt a bit awkward yesterday, maybe I am. 

Perhaps I need to just follow through with them rather than list them. Perhaps I need to just do it. (Swoosh.) 

And so I did, I just did it. I just wrote a blog while sitting in singlet and sulu, listening to the gentle domestic sound of Vula did our breakfast dishes, putting aside for the moment my teaching prep and research 'to do' list. I miss the blog, I miss writing, I miss the feeling that the most natural thing for me to do each day is write. I miss the feeling of feeling like something wasn't right when I hadn't blogged. I'm not going to make it a resolution because the stores are already crammed with red and pink, it's week two of semester, and we're nearly at our five month anniversary since becoming engaged. 'Set goals, not resolutions!' someone's facebook status recently read. It's not quite a resolution, not quite a goal. Certainly not a lifestyle and nothing to put on a planner, calendar or diary page. Just a practice of stopping the world for ten minutes to write. 

I'm back.


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