The party turned out as it should: kids had fun, adults mingled, no accidents happened, and cousins proposed organizing another party for Christmas at my house. This has more meaning than what appears at first sight: my home used to be the default place for my family get-togethers, but it fizzled away after the divorce of my parents since my mother wasn’t in the emotional place to host large gatherings. It took several failed attempts for the family to understand my home wasn’t a viable option any more.

I had planned several activites for the kids, but I didn’t have the heart to interrupt their play. But there was one activity which I couldn’t let go: I had painstalkingly “printed” home currency and gathered trinkets for a garage sale. The activy through which they would “earn” the currency was by picking up trash in the land behind the house.

Finally I cleared my throat and told the kids I had an activity for them. Much to my surprise they all came running and were intrigued. As I was explaining to them the activity I heard my skeptical thought: this ruse to clean the land will never work but much to my surprise they enthusiastically picked up a huge amount of trash for my home currency, and then they used it to buy more trash in my garage sale. I got rid of the trash of the land and of my own house, success!

We closed the event with a bonfire in the backyard, burning old things along with sticks from the bouganvile I had cleared a week earlier. To most of the kids it was their first bonfire, and they were enthralled burning marshmellows. To me it was a private moment of purification, burning old things to make space for what is new.

Today I woke up with a clear directive: you are settled here now, it is time to move forward. Where is forward? I don’t know where it leads, but I do know my next checkpoint: get my university degree. The deadline to graduate this semester closes this week.