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Happy New Year, Everyone!!

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Haley Drozdowicz
December 31, 2011

I’m writing this on December 31st, so I’d like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. A lot of people think of financial or professional success when they hear the word “prosperous,” but I think it can be much more than that.. or much less. Indeed, that’s how the dictionary definition describes the word. But since when has a word only carried the meaning it’s given in a dictionary? So, personally, I think that if, in 2012, you go on the vacation you've been dreaming of for years and have the time of your life, you've been prosperous. If you learn a new skill that you never dreamed you could, like learning to cook or learning a new language, you've been prosperous. If you make the most common New Year’s resolution of losing weight (which there's nothing wrong with), and work hard in the coming months and finally look at yourself in a mirror one morning and think, “I look great,” you've been prosperous. “Prosperity,” to me, is any way that you enrich yourself, not necessarily a way to make yourself rich. So, like I said when I started, I wish every single one of you a prosperous 2012, no matter what that means to you.

Personally, I have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Right under my feet, I have the rest of my exchange here in Turkey. In summer upon my return, I will undergo my orientation at UW-Madison and start my freshman year of college. The thought of that kind of scares me to be honest, seeing as I can barely see the end of my exchange, let alone the beginning of the next 4 years of my life, but life can't always be easy. I'll also have to look for a job to start in August.. probably in Madison so that I can keep it after I start school. So, if any of you have any suggestions or contacts for me, that would be spectacular!! A possible road trip to Pittsburgh with my best friend, a family vacation Up North to my grandpa's house with my aunt and cousins from Colorado who I rarely see, probably a musical or play in the fall or winter... I've got loads of plans! But right now, I'm concentrating on the tasks at hand: learning to speak Turkish better, involving myself in the community and culture here, creating international relationships that will last forever... those kinds of things. Oh, and learning to belly dance, which has been tons of fun so far and I can't wait to see what I learn in the coming months. I'm not sure if any of those can be qualified as a "New Year's Resolution" though.. hmm... Well here, I guess instead of just pinning one of those down as a resolution, I'll do this instead. Here and now, I am making a New Year's Resolution to not lose my head with all the complication, stress, and confusion of everything that mixes together during this year, both in Turkey and in the United States. It's so easy to get swallowed up in all the deadlines and tasks you're given in life, and the last thing I want is for that to take over my life so much so that I forget to have fun and appreciate everything.

There's my plan of action for 2012. I hope you all have something wonderful waiting for you in the horizon of the new year. Those who are suffering, I wish you comfort and peace. Those who are unhappy, I wish you contentment and joy. Those who are questioning, I wish you clarity and courage. Those who are already content, peaceful, and have their lives figured out, I wish that all that continues for you in a healthy manner and that you use your positivity to enrich the lives of the people around you, as well as people you don't know. Here's to new friends, new opportunities, new knowledge and new memories.



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