31 December 2005

The last post

BerlinBear avatarSo, this is The Last Post. For the year, of course, not forever. (It's not that easy to get rid of me!) In New Zealand, it's already 2006. (Happy New Year, Kiwis!) Here, we have another seven-odd hours of 2005 before us.

I shall be welcoming in the new year this evening with friends at a house party. Not for me the tumult and the fireworks and laser-light show and the freezing temperatures in front of the Brandenburg Gate, even if it does look mighty impressive in photos and on television. Tomorrow, if experience is anything to go by, is likely to be a very quiet day.

2005 has been quite a year - a roller-coaster ride, if you will - both for me personally and around the world. There have been personal highs and successes, just as there have been personal lows and failures. Problems have arisen, problems have been solved, problems have been deferred. Disasters have been averted, other disasters have not. But at the end of it all, I'm still here, still healthy, still (largely) happy, still keeping my head above water. A glance back over the news that has hit the world headlines over the course of the past year serves as a stark reminder that, though my own life is not always a walk in the park, I have a lot to be very thankful for, and I have it a whole lot better than many others. I try to bear that in mind, and I will take that into the new year with me.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve for changes to this blog in the new year. One of the things I would like to do is to start blogging a bit more about languages, linguistics and language-learning. That is my real area of expertise and yet, looking back through my archives, I find that I've had precious little to say on those subjects. I aim to rectify that in the new year. I also hope to bring in a few other regular features including, but not necessarily limited to, this week in history, to highlight important anniversaries and historical events coming up in any given week, and Germany's talking about ..., to keep my readers up to speed on what's in the news in Germany in general, and Berlin and Trier specfically, but is not necessarily making world headlines. We'll see how it goes.

Talking to non-German friends over the course of the past year, I have frequently been struck by how little Germany enters the Anglo-Saxon consciousness, how rarely what's going on in Germany features in the international news media and, frankly, how little people know about Germany. With that in mind, I hope in 2006 to make The Capital Letter into a bit more of a bridge blog, to make a contribution to keeping non-Germans and those not resident in Germany informed about what life is like here, how things work, how Germans think and how they live their lives. In particular, I'd like to provide a bit of a window into German politics for those who are interested, but not necessarily well-versed in the details of the political system here and who exactly the movers and shakers are. I realise that those are Big Plans and I'm not entirely sure how successful I can be in realising them, but I'll give it my best shot.

Starting from next week, I'll be doing a series of posts looking at some of the highlights and lowlights of the recently-released Freedom House: Global Survey 2006, considering who's been naughty and who's been nice, where progress has been made, and where ground has been lost around the world. That should be a challenging but interesting way to warm up into the new blogging year.

Anyway, that's enough of all that. The real point of this post is actually to wish all of my readers all the best for 2006. I hope that, however you choose/chose to see in the new year, you have an enjoyable time and, more importantly, I hope that the year ahead brings you success, satisfaction and enjoyment. Above all, I wish you a smooth ride in 2006. I don't do new year's resolutions, but if you do, then I wish you every success in sticking to them - for a week or so at least.

Happy New Year to all. Roll on 2006!