Thursday, December 31, 2009

Free me from the mundane: A no-traditions traditional New Year's Eve

I don't have a traditional New Year's Eve. My top two favorites so far fall under the categories of best and hilariously worst. Best: Inside a stone church with arched red doors on a cold, clear night in Portland. Listening to music through the ages (including those alpenhorns used in the Ricola commercials), culminating with a candlelit chorus of Auld Lang Syne as bagpipers marched up the aisle. Worst: My sister, friend Teresa and I sitting in my parent's living room watching a dude from high school youth group count down songs on public access TV.

My first New Year's Eve in Kosovo started in the living room of an Albanian friend, sharing sweet, strong tea (caj), coffee and cookies with his family. At 10 o’clock, my Finnish friend and I announced that we were heading downtown to see what festivities might be taking place. The family looked confused as we said our goodbyes, slipping on our shoes and scarves at the door, kissing their warm cheeks and wishing them a happy 2006. They warned us once again that nothing would be happening downtown, restaurants and cafes closed, so that they might reopen at midnight and party long into the new year.

We didn't buy it. It was 10pm on New Year’s Eve! And the main street on the Albanian side of the divided city of Mitrovica, Kosovo was empty. I half expected to see a tumbleweed roll by, and catch the furtive glimpse of a pioneer woman shielding kids behind her skirt from some inevitable gunfight.

I'm happy with no traditional New Year's Eve celebration. It reminds me to be open to whatever might come, not tied to a pattern. It reminds me what the symbolism of the New Year is, excited for the unknown and unexpected. In a sense, to not have a tradition IS my tradition.

How are you celebrating the unexpected this new year? Cheers to all that is hoped for and all that may happen in 2010. Happy New Year!

"Change is good. It invites us to grow, encourages us to experience new things and welcome new people into our lives, and ultimately frees us from the mundane." ~ Madisyn Taylor, Daily OM

(Night Explosions by KidALyn,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a cool story and I hope you have a great 2010!