No Snow? So What!
By Paul Miazga
A billboard ad by local business magazine Biznes likelycaptures the feelings of many this year just about perfectly: “Happy New Year to the Happy Few.” There’s much to be happy about and yet there’s also much reason to dismay. But despite the decided lack of snow on the ground this Christmas and the dread that that fills me with (when I consider the implications of global warming), I still feel like the world is far from over and that there is reason for more than just a few to be happy this holiday season.
That being said, I’ve personally tired of war and conflict in newspaper headlines. Iraq. Afghanistan. Sri Lanka. Somalia. Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lebanon. Gaza Strip. East Timor. Even paradise oases such as Thailand and Fiji haven’t been able to avoid this plague. It’s like we’ve turned back the clocks about a thousand years to before the Ages of Reason and Enlightenment came to pass. And if man-made disasters weren’t enough, add to this the worst flooding in memory in Malaysia and Indonesia, the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in more than a decade and the specter that global warming has really started to take hold. I look around the gray, snowless streets of Kyiv and have a sense of how that has really started to take effect.
As I said above, I also maintain optimism and hope for the future, even in such difficult and trying times. This year, my oldest sister Rose, and Anna from Go2kiev.com both gave birth to baby girls! I became friends with some funny, wonderful people this year and celebrated birthday parties, festivals and sports spectaculars (including the 2006 World Cup in Germany) with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever know. My girlfriend Olga was the most outstanding bright spot in my year, and she continues to teach me many things about life and about myself as time goes by. Beate of Go2kiev.com has also helped me tremendously and been there throughout this momentous year as a friend and mentor. I think back this year on all the things I’ve accomplished, places I’ve been and times I’ve shared with friends and family alike (my parents visited me here in Ukraine for the first time ever) and all I can think is, “Where did all the time go?” As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” How true.
Aside from my personal reasons for feeling happy, the main thing I have seen in this past year has been change – real political change. I see Kyivans dealing with the concept of a popularly elected mayor (after 10 years with the same state-appointed stooge, it’s been hard for some to accept the fact that change is coming to their lives), and Americans and people all across the world, from Latin America to Europe, Africa and beyond, have chosen more democratic, social-leaning politicians, voting perhaps in favor of more responsible, people-friendly governments than have held sway over the world recently.
The easiest way for me to feel so optimistic is that we are, after all, only humans. We make mistakes, we endeavor to learn from them and, thus, we have this incredible capacity for change, even if we never fully act upon it. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “We must become the change we wish to see.” To become happy we must find what it is inside ourselves that makes us happy. To change the world we must want that change, too, and live it. There is only one world, one lifetime and one moment – this one. Enjoy it!
Season’s greetings and happy New Year to all the readers and users of Go2kiev.com!
There’s almost no snow in Kyiv this holiday season, but that’s no reason to let your spirits down! (www.edholden.com