I've never had a year like 2009. My family and I moved to Montpellier, France, to profit (as they say here) from my wife's first sabbatical from teaching at Colorado State. We're at the halfway point of our séjour, glad we came, and looking forward to even more hilarious thrills and spills in 2010. Not only am I fortunate to have such an adventurous family, I am extremely fortunate in these times to be able to take my job with me, and to work for and with such enlightened people. I've travelled in France before, but have never before made my home outside the Rocky Mountains (Utah and Colorado, specifically). I've lived nowhere else in the United States, let alone Europe, so the experience is mind expanding. In my personal life, I can't think of anyone who has impressed me more in the past year than my oldest daughter, who we tossed into the deep end of French école maternelle (preschool) and is making friends and doing fine, and my wife, who has already lapped me in French fluency and wills us all through various opaque bureaucracies. Every time I went to the Prefecture or the OFFI office, I thought about the people who run the immigration gauntlet without the security of a home to return to, little savings, often as a single parent. Humbling.
The past decade? So much good for me, personally, and I've witnessed a lot of inspiring work by others, but for our civilization and the world ... well, it largely stunk, didn't it? A punch in the eye from terrorists in the beginning, an insane stampede into a senseless war, and a kick in the teeth from bankers at the end. All to the soundtrack of the giant sucking sound of our liberties going down the "war on terror" drain. And that's just in the US. Good riddance.