It’s New Year’s Eve.

The kids are tucked in bed after a lovely day browsing the National Air & Space Museum here in Washington DC.  They ate pizza… and ice-cream… and then bubbled themselves into a waterlogged state in Joel and Meg’s jacuzzi bath.  There were bubbles.  There were glow sticks.  There were squeals of glee…

As I type this, Nick and Joel (who have been good friends for many years)… are sitting outside in the cold on Joel’s front porch steps.  They have Amarula Cream on ice… and they’re smoking Cuban cigars from Ybor.  Joel and Nick have a tradition of sharing a cigar on a special occasion – and tonight seemed apt enough.

I can hear the muffled sounds of their conversations.  It makes me happy.

I’m cozied up in the warmth of the Clark’s home.   They live in one of those gorgeous, narrow row-houses.  It’s over 100 years old.   The Christmas lights are still up (in this home and in most of the homes along this street)  and there’s still a definite festive feeling in the air.

Here, inside, there’s coffee in the pot and mint chocolates on the table next to me.   There’s a snuggly blanket and my feet are warmly tucked into nuzzle socks.

Back in South Africa, it’s already 2014.

Here in DC, it’s about an hour away from midnight.

This – for me – is a perfect New Year’s Eve.

I don’t need parties and noise and crowds of excited people.  I don’t need loud, thumping music and fireworks and screaming countdowns.

All I really want… on this New Year’s Eve… is the closeness of my loved ones.  A kiss from my husband.  The sighs of my sleeping children as I run my fingers through their hair.  All I really want is warmth… friendship… deep conversations… and feeling of being in a place where I’m welcome… and loved.

So, I am happy.

2013 has been a great year for us… and I wish it farewell with a grateful heart.

I’m looking forward to what 2014 will bring!

Happy New Year, everyone! X