Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

I've had some good New Year's Eve's over the years: cranberry juice with raspberry sherbet bubbly as a child, swimming in the corn, house parties in MN and Boston, camping on an island in a lake in Uganda, seeing a few light specks through the fog on a rooftop in San Francisco - my New Year's celebrations have been enjoyable.  But this year?  This year I discovered Europe knows how to celebrate a new year.

After some last minute change in plans, I found myself with an invitation to dinner at my neighbor's and plans to walk to the Opera House to see the fireworks at midnight. As the night evolved more and more people were added and with arms laden with sparklers, champagne and cups, my large group and I braved the wild streets of Malmö and headed to the Opera House.

I have never seen so much enthusiasm and wild fireworks.  Anyone can buy and set off fireworks in Sweden so tons of drunk Swedes were setting off fireworks every few steps.  There were moments I felt like I was in a distorted war and I would be lucky to get out with all my limbs attached.

The streets around the Opera House were blocked off and people huddled together laughing, getting ready for midnight, and listening to the opera singers serenading the crowd.  Then the count down began, in Swedish, until everyone yelled "Happy New Year!"  Champagne flowed, a million strangers kissed me and a HUGE firework display covered the sky with ash floating lazily down into my cup of champagne.  It was magical.

The opera singers continued to sing, people danced in the street and I was happy to welcome 2014 with all my enthusiastic new friends from our little corner of Sweden.  Happy New Year!

*all pictures curtesy of my friend Chon who thought to be a photographer