This Christmas, I found myself a little off center: I’d decided to travel to Kyoto. Carl and I were definitely excited, and after not being able to find a Christmas mass, we realized that our Christmas would be a little less traditional. After my night shift, I hopped on the flight and we were off! A little bit dazed, definitely confused, but off.
This is how I ended up many miles from home on Christmas morning, sleepwalking through one of Kyoto’s most beautiful Buddhist temples. Eikan-do’s gardens offered many spots for silent reflection, and I sat on a bench near on particularly relaxing spot, sipping tea.
I thought of my family, so far away, who have all been through many changes. Many times this year, I’ve wished I could be home with them, helping them through the bumpier patches. I gained a new family when I got married, and I was lucky enough to gain a great one. Somehow as this year comes to a close, we are all still standing.
I thought about my new marriage and how blessed I was to have met someone with unbeatable optimism. While I sat perfectly still, thinking, Carl sat next to me, kicking his feet excitedly against the bench. His eyes widened at the beauty surrounding us, and you just could see his mind going, Wow.
I looked back at all of 2015, and recalled how high my hopes had been at the start. I was newly engaged, with plans to move to Japan. Since then, so much has happened. I’ve gotten married, started a new job, met new friends and slowly started to settle in here. Reflecting at Eikan-do, I couldn’t believe that so many experiences were squeezed into one year. I felt incredibly grateful and humbled.
Though this year has brought me so much, I am ending it feeling just a bit tired.
In 2016, I hope to spend more time appreciating those who matter. I hope to travel more, love more, and bring all of you along for the ride 🙂