Counting down to closing the chapter of 2008 is accompanied with reflections for a lot of people.

Speaking to Solomon Times, a mother of three, Barbara Afuga, said that 2008 has been a very challenging year for her family, particularly in the finance department.

"If there is a time that life has been so hard on us, it has to be 2008," she said.

She complained that prices in shops increased like never before, which seemed to be a monthly thing that it reached a point where most things were just unaffordable.

As the only one in the family earning an income, Ms. Afuga said cost of living, added to other expenses such as school fees, has made it very hard financially.

"I am hoping 2009 will bring some good tides to ease the pressure I am currently facing," she said.

A random street interview conducted had people voicing reflections along the same wavelength of having faced tough financial pressure in 2008.

"There is an imbalance of price soaring almost every month while salaries, more or less, remain the same," a young worker, Evalyn Baea, 22, from Malaita Province said.

She said that if there is anything one could wish for the New Year, "I hope that authorities will deal with the financial crisis we're currently facing".

For a man who prefers to go by the name 'Davista', he tries his best to be realistic about the passing time.

"Personally, 2008 has made me to believe that hell does exist, so now I am looking forward and hopeful to crossing greener pastures for 2009."

In the younger circle, students approached expressed their excitement of having achieved well at school this year.

Form four student, Annie Labu, 16, said that although challenges have accompanied achievements, "I look forward to doing better next year".

Meanwhile, Miss Labu stated that she was very glad that her group of friends had kept themselves clear from being involved in any disorders during the festive season.

"Many things have been happening to people around us, especially youths, the past few weeks and I am just glad that our group had kept our focus right to the end of another year."

She reminded young people that it is high time to think seriously about their future and be good citizens in the country.