In the past few years, I haven’t spent a single New Year’s at home. Since 2008 I have been always been somewhere else to welcome in all of the possibilities of a new year. I’ve never been one to look forward to a new year as a way of burying the past; never thought ahead in hopes that the coming year would hold more promise, because well in the end life is life. I do enjoy seeing how celebrations take place in different parts of the world and more importantly I see the closing of a year as a way to look back and be grateful for all the things that you’ve experienced. As cheesy as that sounds, trust me, I’m not immune to feeling sorry for myself, as you’ll come to find in my next few posts, but when all is said and done and you say goodbye to yet another year of your life, you have to realize how good you’ve got it. Here are the places that I’ve said hello|goodbye in the past:
2008: Whistler, British Columbia (Canada).
I still remember some of the hilarious conversations that accompanied us on this long drive up to our first ever New Year’s Eve celebration in the legendary cabin of our good friend J.J. He was the new “sooo-not-my-boyfriend” boyfriend of our sorority sister Katie and he and his frat brothers were planning a big snowboarding and legal drinking debacle in Whistler to ring in 2008. Naturally, a party isn’t a party without the girls, so we all tagged along. Those days were our glory days, having, of course, partied the night before we were on our way to more partying and after the short three hour ride to the border we were had a car stocked full of oversized and underpriced duty-free booze. The shots commenced as Katie desperately attempted to decode J.J.’s simple-minded directions. Think, go over a bridge and after that bridge turn right, you’ll come to a roundabout and turn left… sounds like it could be straight forward but honestly, is there only one bridge between Vancouver and Whistler? Possibly not. By the time we finally arrived, it was well-into party hours and a quick changeover from sweats to party tops and we were out to the village, walking down Blackcomb to get to the bars.
This was possibly one of the best New Years of my life but not all things can go without hitches. After enjoying one small bar it was time to move on and we headed out. Waiting in the doorway for the group to commence, I was paying little attention to the whereabouts of my friends and suddenly found myself standing alone in the doorway of a tiny bar, familiar faces nowhere to be seen in the sea of passing partyers. Long story short, I be-friended one of the clubs bouncers so that he would call me a cab and send me on my way as my phone was not only roaming but dead as well. Smart move. The rest of the weekend was a smashing success with us stumbling upon only the best bar in all of Whistler; Merlin’s. That amazing pub will forever hold a place in my heart. It is also where I met my first group of Australians and probably the experience that would ultimately lead me to study abroad in Australia.
2009: Whistler, British Columbia (Canada)
Round-two was only better in that I didn’t get lost, we knew exactly which bar to go to and we met a new group of even cooler Aussies. A couple of which I still catch up with on Facebook from time to time. Whistler is still and will always be one of my very favorite places in the entire world.
2010: Amsterdam, Netherlands
It’s pretty amazing how much your life can change in one year’s time. I went from January, holding onto the notion that I might have an Aussie ‘mate’ in Sydney when I arrived, to finding not only someone else but an entire group of amazing friends whom continue to be some of my best friends to this day. My time in Sydney changed me in so many ways, but one of the most important parts of that experience was the people. Those are the same people that I hopped on a plane to Amsterdam for just one day after arriving in Italy. When Lorenzo and I decided that I would move to Italy, I already knew of the preconceived plan my friends had of meeting in Amsterdam for the New Year. And I knew that if I was going to be in Italy around that time, I had to be sure I made it to see them. So without telling them of my plans, Lorenzo and I boarded a very early RyanAir flight to Eindhoven. After a bus and train ride we finally arrived in the city and I’ll never forget the surprise on our friends’ faces when they turned to corner and saw me standing there. The rest of the weekend was absolutely perfect. We met up with a Dutch friend who lent us her Uncle’s house to make a lovely dinner before taking us to the ultimate house party in a very old, rickety house threatening to fall into the canal at any moment. We were warned to not all go on the top floor at once. Living on the edge! As sad as I was to say goodbye to my friends I’m always thankful that I had that special New Year with them.
2011: Florence, Italy
Not to sound ungrateful but this was probably my least favorite of all the New Year’s I spent abroad. New Year’s Eve in Italy is something completely different and unless you like pretending that you are in a war, it is not different in a fun way. All day long there were kids and young adults throwing ‘fireworks’ all over the streets of the city. The only difference was instead of being beautifully colored displays of light they were more similar to colorless, lightless bombs. As the loudest sound I’ve ever heard shook the windows of the old buildings around me, it felt less like celebrating and more like just trying to stay alive. We had dinner at a popular expat restaurant where we are well known and then headed into Piazza Signoria in hopes of seeing something fun while we watched to minutes countdown on the the clock tower of Palazzo Vecchio. As midnight rang in we all hugged and wished each other well and the hundreds of young Italians around us began throwing their glass beer, champagne and wine bottles into the center of the square, where there were hundreds of people standing… as you do.
Enough said really, there were some nice concerts going on around town but it was nothing to write home about as it was hard to get away from the glass smashing and bombs going off enough to enjoy yourself.
Florence definitely shouldn’t be going on anyone’s bucket list as a place to celebrate New Year.
2012: Sydney, Australia
This year, I’m in the ultimate New Year destination… Sydney! Although at the time of writing I have already experienced the awesomeness of a Sydney New Year, you’ll have to wait until January 1st in your part of the world to hear all about it!
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