New year’s eve is always surrounded by too much hype. Ergo, that one poor night of the year with so much pressure on it to deliver a fantastic time is always a let-down. In fact, by 2009 I had officially given up on celebrating it. Maybe it was the people I chose to surround myself with, but the drama associated with every single new year’s eve had left me exhausted. This year, I expected nothing. I did not know exactly what I would do but I knew I would be here, in Rome, and I would figure it out. There was no one else to worry about, no one to check with, no one to pull me one way or another. This one was in my hands.
With that freedom, last night I went against my grain (We’re free to not be predictable too, right?) and celebrated with a few girls I had just met the day before, on the trip to Pompeii. Being an introvert and completely comfortable with being by myself, it’s the first time that I have actually made friends on a trip. They were a wonderful bunch of people, really nice, very enthusiastic, easy-going and so much fun to be around! (I wonder if I’ll be allowed by them to share a video from last night. I’ll find out and update, if possible.) We decided to meet again on new year’s eve and it was a night to remember, a night I will never forget.
It was so crowded near the Colosseum that there was hardly any space to walk. People were pushing from every direction, some of us walking towards the fireworks and some walking away from them. And it was the first time in my life that I did not have the urge to throw in the towel right then and there. I pushed through. We all pushed through the crowd, staying close to one another, looking out for each other, making sure we don’t lose each other. I heard the countdown to the new year in Italian, “…otto, sette, sei, cinque, quattro, tre, due…” and that’s when it hit me all of a sudden…I was in Rome, at the Colosseum to ring in a new year and, for me, that is a tremendous deal.
When champagne rained down on us a moment later, for the first time ever I did not mind getting my clothes and hair wet and sticky one bit. I embraced it, went along with it, let myself get soaked in the spirit of the celebrations.
We watched the fireworks, the official ones and the unofficial little firecracker bombs being lit by the daring locals. They would light it while holding it and then throw it onto an empty part of the street. Scary, but exciting. We merely winced when one exploded on the sidewalk, at our feet. We felt its sparks through our clothes, heard a high-pitched ringing in our ears, wondered if we’d gone deaf and simply laughed and kept walking.
2012 is going to be a significant year. I just know it. I can feel it in my bones.
Happy new year to everyone!
Sending out lots of love and good wishes from Rome…