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.