Slowly, gently, the new year is beginning. I like the new year. I like new beginnings, and fresh starts that hold the potential of great things to come. I like having a new calender with days and weeks and months crossing over the pages; squares to be filled with things to do, or squares to be left blank for lazy afternoons with cups of tea and magazines and a patch of sunshine to be curled up in.
The new year started well. After a brief trip back to Perth for a dear friend's wedding and a Christmas that was spent in fits of drunken hilarity with all my favourite cousins, I flew back earlier to Japan to spend a week up in the snow in Niseko and Sapporo, Hokkaido. Hokkaido ended up being focused more on drunken hilarity and less on the snowboarding, but it's gone down as one of my favourite holidays that I've had in the time that I've been in Japan (despite Niseko being essentially nothing but Australians anyway). Between snowboarding and drinking there was card games and hot tubs and cubs and New Year's and snow ball fights and atrocious movies and (ill-advised) towers of beer and a 22 hour ferry ride.
And now the last stretch of Japan starts. It's a mixture of feelings - I'm beginning to be excited about what comes next and moving towards it, I'm terrified to leave what has been the most stable, yet exciting part of my adult life, and I'm melancholic about leaving this place I've called home for almost three years and the people I've met, and the crazy lifestyle I've been lucky enough flit my way through.
The squares in my calender are filling up at an insane pace, and the afternoons spent in the sunshine are going to be rare indulgences. I'm excited though. I see big things for this year, bigger than they've ever been before and it's so good to be starting the new year feeling like this.