New Years Eve is often an over-hyped holiday that usually ends in disappointment. Many people tend to spend excessive amounts of money on expensive outfits or entry to premier events, only to be disappointed when the clock strikes 12. I used to be one of those people, but have since learned from those experiences. Now, I find myself a huge advocate of celebrating at a low key venue among close friends.
The past couple years, a group of us opted to glam ourselves up, while counting down to midnight at a local dive bar. It’s great, because we are able to experience the best parts of NYE – looking fabulous and ringing in a New Year with those important.
Since being abroad, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had both Christmas and New Years at home during the holiday break. However, this season I was granted a short 6-day stay, most of which was lost during travel. Extremely disappointed in being unable to continue the tradition of spending NYE at Targy’s Tavern on Queen Anne, I finally made peace with welcoming 2011 in España.
“New Years in Spain? How exciting!” was the common response received when discussing my plans for the 31st. However, it was not as exciting as it sounded. The moment I stepped off the plane in Ferrol (midnight of the 27th), I was informed I had to be on the court at 10am the following morning. Can anyone say jetlag? After 20 hours of travel and less than 9 hours to acclimate, I was not a happy camper.
Our first game isn’t until January 8th. However, since the 27th we’ve had 2-a-days of straight conditioning - everyday. No practice, just running and sprinting. Sometimes we’ll shoot for an hour afterward, but it seems as though we’re training for a marathon. In addition, we currently have 8 roster players, 3.5 of which are injured or sick. Because of this, only 4 of us (the 3 imports and 1 Spanish girl...) have completed every conditioning drill. I’m beyond exhausted and don’t understand the rationale. Being home for a week did not get me out of shape. This is somewhat concerning, as I feel these actions may lead to more injuries. With only 8 players on the roster and half out of service, we need to be smart. Instead, we're wearing down the uninjured individuals - the ones expected to play close to 40 minutes this weekend.
Anyway, back to the topic of the post, New Years Eve. Once I learned I had to return to Spain earlier than thought, I decided to be positive. Weighing a variety of options, I planned to either welcome 2011 in Madrid, bus to Portugal to celebrate with a friend or even fly to Luxembourg. Unfortunately, none of these options were feasible. The club had scheduled practice the afternoon of NYE – thus my plans went out the window.
After surviving yet another grueling cardio workout, I was determined to have an enjoyable evening. With most of my teammates deciding to stay in for the night, I had to come up with something – fast. Thankfully, Selma (Bosnian teammate) and our Spanish friend Laura wanted to celebrate. Quickly formulating a plan, we decided to meet at Laura’s apartment downtown around 10pm to prepare for the festivities. The evening began well (I met with one of our men's players for a drink before heading to Laura's), but unfortunately, it did not go as expected.
In North America, we’re used to starting New Years Eve festivities around 9-10pm, in anticipation of midnight. But it isn’t the same in Spain (or perhaps N. Spain…or maybe just Ferrol...) Walking to Laura’s apartment, I couldn’t help but notice that most bars/restaurants were closed and didn’t open until 1am. Huh? Confused, I waved the thought away and continued on. Arriving around 10pm, I knocked on the door to find my friends in sweatpants, while I was rocking a short, leopard print dress. Thinking I had missed something, the girls told me not to worry and said they had plenty of time to get ready. Unsure, I decided to go with the flow to see what was going to happen. As the clock crept closer and closer to midnight, I began to worry. “Guys, shouldn’t we go to a bar or something now…so we will be there for the countdown??” Laughing, they told me everyone does the countdown to midnight in their homes (while eating grapes - see video below) and then goes out around 2am. What??! Disappointed with the way the night was unfolding, I slumped down on the couch. Shoving 12 grapes in my mouth while the clock chimed midnight from Plaza Major, I couldn’t help but wonder what my friends and family were doing during this exciting time at home…
Happy New Year! Only the best to come in 2011. Here’s to that! ☺
Sidenote: I don’t mean to sound like a negative Nancy in the post, rather, trying to reflect the differences between Europe and North America. Sometimes it’s hard picking up new traditions, especially when so far from everything familiar. After 2011 made it’s way to Spain, we stayed in Laura’s apartment for 2 more hours before the bars finally opened. By that time, I was ready for bed! Dragging myself to the first taverna was all I could handle. Finishing my drink, I headed home alone in my high heels and short dress.