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2013 was a pretty great year, I must say.

It wasn’t a year of firsts or bests. It wasn’t a year of tremendous accomplishment or milestones (except finishing my thesis, of course). It was just a good, good year.

This year, I became friends with two of my closest Israeli friends, Oliver and Yana. They have been such constant, solid, good friends to me. It feels like we’ve known each other much longer, but as Yana says “it’s in a good way!”

This year, I also became good friends with Ben’s brother, Alec. I haven’t written much about him but my friendship with him is now something I’m not sure how I ever went without. It took Ben’s departure to bring us together, but I’m grateful and happy that it happened. He’s an endless source of conversation, laughs, and support.

This year, I felt heartbreak like I’ve never known it before AND was able to come out on the other side of it, stronger, more honest with myself, and more capable of loving someone than ever. Alec told me last night that I’m maybe too generous with my feelings of love. I told him that life is too short not to love as much as possible. And I mean that. I’m no longer ashamed or afraid of my feelings, good, bad, or indifferent. My capacity for love is what makes me, me; this year I learned to let it shine.

This year, I felt solid and sure-footed in my life in general (location, career, and future-wise) for the first time ever. What an amazing feeling.

This year, I celebrated 1 year of being and Israeli citizen and 2 years of living in this beautiful country and vibrant city. Many more of the milestones to come, I’m sure.

Other highlights and lowlights: my sister coming to visit and coming to terms with my living over here; receiving a promotion at work for more teaching hours; my father being diagnosed as terminally ill; missing my best friend from college’s wedding; and missing the birth of my good friend’s little boy.

All in all, this year was a good one, despite the low points, and I just know that 2014 is going to be even better!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and safe new year filled with love, joy, and prosperity! Cheers to 2014!