the old year has come and gone and the first day of the new year is before us…nothing like starting it off feeling like you might be dying. just kidding, this morning wasn’t so bad. it wasn’t even that i was forced to drink so much…i think i got away with only 3 glasses of wine. but the food ohhh the food. there was so much of it that kept finding it’s way onto my plate when i wasn’t looking.
since i rarely rarely rarely eat meat anymore, last night was a lot to handle. not to mention we started eating at 11:30pm, not my typical dinner time. my landlord told me to come over then, at 11:30pm, so i figured, well, maaaaybe they’re eating before hand and we’ll just celebrate champaign? i spent most of my day munching on this and that, watching all the sappy holiday movies i could find, and by 11 i was ready for bed and not at all hungry. so i kind of hoped there wouldn’t be massive amounts of food. oh, i was so wrong. how could i have forgotten the number one ukrainian rule ‘with booze there must be food’?
we spent the whole night eating and drinking. ukrainians have a keen sense of humor so as usual the conversations were pretty hilarious. we talked about everything from 6 degrees of separation, to barak obama needing to put on some weight, the ukrainian president, and prostitution. i tried to explain what new years is like in america. that all of our meals, even holiday ones, never last very long at all. and also how we bang on pots and pans at midnight instead of setting off fireworks. they found this one hilarious. especially when i told them that fireworks are mostly illegal, which lead them to so rightly questioned ‘how can those be illegal but guns are not?’.
close to midnight, as is tradition the president of ukraine gives a rather monotone speech to the country. then a televised digital clock appears and loudly ticks to midnight — no counting, no cheering, no kissing (i was okay with this), it’s all just rather anti-climatic. but the minutes after midnight the real show begins as every ukrainian citizen lights up the sky with fireworks. and i don’t mean small sparklers and such, i mean the big fireworks you see on the fourth of july….done at home in the driveway.
the sheer amount of fireworks going off all at once was beautiful (and i think my favorite part about ukrainian new years). the explosions of fireworks looked rather like the beginning of ww III. the sky turned into a giant bowl of colored popping and crackling rice crispy cereal. every house saluted, our included. my neighbor set off what seemed like an endless supply of fireworks in the driveway. one came shooting right at us….ummm kind of scary and the reason pyrotechnics and alcohol shouldn’t mix. but we laughed it off, i wearily joked ‘it’s the end of the world!’, and we all made it out alive.
as the night continued we watched a ukrainian new years concert on tv. though…it was a 90s themed concert complete with 90s music, fashion, and ‘i ❤ 90s’ t-shirts…for the celebration of 2013….call me slow, but i didn’t get it. i love the 90s so i really didn’t mind it. but it seemed as though i was back intime celebrating the departure of 1989, which we might have been with all the mullets and cat sweaters here.
later in the night, the kids fell asleep, then my neighbor, and i was getting sleepy too. but the conversation moved to my landlord’s dog, one that has been missing for a while. ever since i threw out a poisoned mouse. i thought for sure that his disappearance was my fault. that he found the mouse, ate it, and ran away like dogs do when they’re sick. i had this weighing heavily on my conscious for a few months. i thought myself an accidental dog killer. it was awful. but tonight i found out that he’s not dead at all!!! it wasn’t my fault!!! they said they had to send him away because he was confused and behaving homosexually.
……oh? it was hard not to laugh…did they send him to doggy church to ‘fix’ him? it just sounded so strange. i must say i knew of his behavior, but from what i was unfortunate enough to see, it was never his doing. the poor thing got owned by all the dogs in town! but the poor pup was sent away…somewhere by a vet’s house….maybe a homosexual reversal for dogs center?….i really don’t know. i can’t help but laugh at this and wonder if being dead would have been a better fate for him. either way, it’s not my fault and i rang in the new year with a clear ‘it wasn’t me’ conscious and any ‘accidental dog killer’ title. HALLELUHIA!
i was the first to leave the party, at 4 am, and they still weren’t finished with dinner. it was a late night for me (my normal bed time is 9:30 ha), but such a wonderful way to celebrate my last new years in ukraine. the partying and eating continues on today but i’m off to take a 19 hour train ride to ternopil and make my way down to transylvania with friends for winter break! here’s hoping i have a train compartment full of people with hangover headaches so they’ll just be content to sleep. hehe.