vendredi 27 janvier 2012

Crossing a new Bridge

I'm leaving in two days and couldn't think of doing so without stopping by, not to say goodbye, but in a see-you-later way. From sunday on I'll be posting from Denmark, I don't know when, how or what since the only thing that I know right now is that I am leaving, I don't have the least idea about what it will be like. I'm all packed up already but still it seems like I'm the only one around here who is not nervous, yet everybody else seems to be. Some keep reminding me that if anything goes wrong and I want back, I definately can come back, which I would never ever do, I mean, when you go out there you know that bad things can happen as well as good things, I wouldn't just run because I didn't like what I saw, I mean isn't that what life is about? sometimes you enjoy easy life and sometimes you have to put up with difficulties. 

Anyway, I hope I will find interesting things to tell you about.

dimanche 8 janvier 2012

31–1 NY

Here and thereof, I declare that what you're about to read is true or as close to the truth as permitted by my subjective and limited perception of reality. These are the highlights (nice start) of what happened around me in that imperfect space of time comprehended right before and after the start of the new year:

It's 11:30 P.M. local time (4:30 GMT). Expectations are running very high for the new year that is approaching fast and furious, non stop, like a runaway train. This is specially true for the kids who are here, and here you must read my younger sister's house. The youngsters are hosts or were brought by their parents who happen to be relatives: brothers, sisters, cousins, and their partners, friends, and friends of our friends. They are making a lot of noise with their trumpet toys, chatting and yelling, running up and down the stairs and around the house. Madness is on the loose!

The TV is on, live from Times Square where the celebration is the most important event marking the beginning of the new year. All main channels have separate transmissions but they cover the same thing: a line up of pop artists singing and dancing until the drop of the ball sharp at Midnight would officially record the start of 2012. It's so appealing for tourists and foreigners to be there but no more so for locals, newyorkers like us, who find going there very taxing, quite demanding if you want to get a good view of what's going on. It's really a feat. You should have planned it all, well ahead, in advance to get to the site at least 7 or 8 hours before Midnight, and only water is allowed for you to carry in the extended area surrounding the square.

Now it's 11:50 P.M., and the excitement is visible in everyone's face. People look for location, they gather around the TV waiting for the signal that shall relieve the tension that has been building up in anticipation the whole night. Everybody gets ready as if something big is going to happen....

Earlier we had dinner. As it is now a norm when the family and friends reunite for events during the year, they all participate in the preparation of food and meals. Some people bring drinks, beer, others lasagna, different kind of sweets, pies, Portorican or Dominican recipes, salads....and in the summer they grill and grill and grill.

It is an invisible but well oiled machine that organizes everything. And all seem to run smoothly and effortless because each and everyone knows what to do. Everybody does what they're best at, and since participation is voluntary there are few issues to resolve. I like setting, taking care of the bar, the drinks, bar-serving my 'customers' who, thank god, are not very sophisticated in these regards and hence, not very difficult to please. Also, I'm getting good grades and remarks at preparing fancy salads and salad-dressings... Now, they say it's mandatory for me to bring something of the likes or I'm disappointing some of the people that are regulars, assiduous clients...

Tonight the main plate was a huge 'paella' that was prepared at my house (downstairs) by my oldest niece et al... That really helped to kill some time. The drinks also helped ease some of the jitters caused by all the stimuli affecting our senses and coming from all directions.

But the way we entertain ourselves is very different depending on what our age is:

And it's 11:59 and everybody stands up. And everything stops. We all meet around the TV and now is 10 seconds left, 9.... 3, 2, 1 and a very loud "Happy new year" cuts the air and is heard at unison filling the room and all gets crazy. The confetti from the TV is non longer exclusively inside there but spreads all over the living room and while we change people to exchange hugs and best wishes and we raise our cups and glasses to the ceiling in frantic display of exhilaration and relief I could see my older sister in the middle of the dining room with red eyes quietly weeping and crying ...

dimanche 1 janvier 2012

Happy New Year v.San Sebastián


It’s 10 to midnight and everybody has their place in front of the TV, some got lucky enough to find a seat in the couch but others have to do with just a piece of floor or the edge of the living room table. Counting and re-counting the grapes of each one’s bowls, and the little ones cutting their 12 gummy bears in half, thinking they’ll have an advantage over the others in the competition they think grape-eating is, but for their parents, preventing them from choking when the time comes. It’s almost midnight and all of us are already holding the first grape with our mouths open, ready to chew and swallow, chew and swallow for the last 12 seconds of the year.

First bell, chew swallow, second bell, chew… third bell, bite, fourth bell, fifth bell, sixth bell, seventh bell, still no time for chewing, eight bell, ninth bell, you start making space in your mouth for the other 3 grapes to come, tenth, eleventh, twelfth… this is when everybody jumps shouting “Happy New Year” and reach you from every angle to kiss you and wish you a happy new year while you’re trying to not die swallowing the 11 grapes you had left in your mouth (as if there were any more space in your stomach) and drinking the glass of champagne someone just served you. Making a toast together with everybody in the family, even the ones who are away aux Landes and who by means of skype share the moment with the rest of the family here present.

2011 is over, with all its good and bad aspects, 2012 will bring new challenges, unimaginable difficulties and unexpected changes, but of course it will also bring joy, but even a year older and 366 days of further experience, next year we hope to again swallow grapes and drink champagne together, as a constant in our lives to not get lost or taken aback by all the newness of the year that has now just got started.