My 2017 was rung in with service, fireworks, and Ironman.
I started my celebration by volunteering with NOMAD Art Bus at St. Pete’s First Night. It felt good to be able to walk to where the festivities were taking place. There were a lot of people everywhere downtown. I took the late shift of bus painting, because I didn’t have anything else going on, and I figured I could go see the midnight fireworks after my shift.
Last night was Nuri’s, the bus’s name, last ride. It has been the NOMAD Art Bus for the past three years, but it had been breaking down more and more. It has been out working condition for a few weeks, and donors contributed to a new bus that will make its appearance in the near future!
By the time I arrived for my 9:00, there were at least five layers of paint on the bus. In the midst of the New Year’s festivities, the bus was pretty popular with kids and adults alike. It was fun seeing adults dressed in their finest wanting to perform an act of creativity to ring in the new year. It was equally fun seeing parents letting their kids paint, yet trying not to get paint on the nice dresses and whatnot.
There was a steady stream of folks wanting to paint from the time I arrived until we had to shut things down. When I walked to South Straub Park, I was feeling a little ‘meh.’ There were too many people, blocking the sidewalks. I wasn’t feeling all that festive for the New Year. Later, after working for a bit, I remember thinking how my face might be sore because I was smiling so much. It felt really good to interact with my new NOMAD friends and with all of the St. Pete passers-by.
After cleaning up the supplies, I walked down a little further to watch the fireworks. I was feeling a little lonely, even though I was surrounded by people. I began to feel melancholy, because again, I would have no one to kiss this year. And just a few days before I was hopeful that someone would be there with me.
But the fireworks were beautiful and moving. I love the gold, sparkly ones. They moved me to tears as I thought about the gravity of what 2017 holds in a political sense. I wasn’t feeling sad for myself, so much. But sad for what I fear America might become and our place in the world.
I feel the same way when I hear the National Anthem. It moves me to tears, but not for reasons of nationalist patriotism.
After the fireworks I walked home, tears still rolling down my face for part of the way. By the time I arrived home I was feeling better. I popped open the bottle of champagne I had saved for just such an occasion and enjoyed a couple of glasses while watching Ironman until 3 a.m.
Today was a sleepy day for me and the cats. I’ve been watching movies, napping. Now I’m drinking champagne while writing this blog past.
I have one more day off tomorrow. Technically it’s a teacher work day, but I used some of my comp. time to take off. I’ll still be working, but at least I can sleep in and work from home. Tuesday it’s back to business as usual.
It’s been a good two weeks off. I haven’t accomplished everything I set out to do, but I got some much needed rest and relaxation. I hope I can keep this feeling throughout the next couple of months so that I can best serve my students.
Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s work to make it a good one.