Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

I hope everyone spent a pleasant evening saying goodbye to 2008 and welcoming 2009. So far, the year is going very well. Yesterday was a quiet, enjoyable day of doing little, finished off by a lucky meal of pork chops, hoppin’ john and sproutjes (I think they have collards or some sort of greens at the outdoor market and I’ll try to get some tomorrow, just because). At least the sproutjes (brussels sprouts) were green and tasty and surely a sign of some sort of luck or wealth! Today, we’re going to Oudewater for dinner with M and R — always a guarantee of a good time!

As for New Year’s Eve itself, we had our delicious traditional (for us) lasagna before heading over to the Potdeksel. It was a somewhat private celebration there, with roughly 40 people in all. It was one of the more low-key new year’s, in that there was no big noisy countdown, just people keeping an eye on the clock and then wishing each other happy new year at the appropriate time — and with Sjarrel en Sjaan’s video coming on, of course! (See one of my previous posts for the video.) I’ve never been that fond of the whole New Year celebration, but I enjoyed this one — no real pressure to be extra frolicy, just fun.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was probably the fireworks. I’m quite fond of fireworks in general and enjoyed the massive show I saw in Italy as 2002 was welcomed in. I knew there were going to be lots of fireworks here, but still wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of fireworks! They weren’t just the little ones  you get in South Carolina or other roadside stands in various places in the US. These were big, spectacular blossoms of fireworks like the “official” ones cities put on for the Fourth of July! And just done by individuals! Ridiculously dangerous, I’m sure, but at least there were no injuries in our immediate area that we knew of, and the police — although they were right there — didn’t interfere. In fact, I believe at least one of them got the traditional three-kiss greeting!

Which reminds me … In Italy, you do one kiss on each cheek when greeting someone, but here, it’s three kisses total: left, right, left again. At midnight, there were many handshakes and kisses exchanged by everyone and I remember one woman jokng with us that you could go outside and continue the practice all through the city if you wanted.

By the time we left the Potdeksel to head home it was close to 2 a.m., but the air was still heavy with all the smoke and smell from the fireworks. Luna, Lola and Pippo seemed ok when we got home. I’m sure they were a bit unhappy at midnight, but we weren’t too concerned, as various fireworks had been set off occasionally for the past week and they rarely paid attention. Thank goodness!

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