Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, December 31

Today I woke up late and finally got to recover from last night without sleep. I basically did nothing all morning and just cleaned my room and packed up for Vina, where we were going to spend New Year’s. After lunch, I had a quick Skype conversation with Emily, which was the first time in over a month that I’ve talked to any of my friends. It was actually really sad, and I feel horrible for letting us get so out of touch that talking is a little bit awkward. I really love my friends and I still think of them like nothing has changed in these 5 months I’ve been gone but  I know it has and I know I need to do a lot better job of staying in contact. It’s just a lot harder when we have so much less in common now. We packed up the car and left the house around 2. We were expecting about 5 hours of traffic because everyone wants to go to Vina for New Years because the firework spectacular is one of the most famous in the world. Along the way there was a fire blocking the main route into Vina, and I was scared for a few minutes there that we weren’t going to be able to get there, but it ended up just being a very long wait in very slow traffic. We actually got out go the car at one point in the middle of the highway because the cars had been stopped for so long. When we finally got to Valparaiso around 8, I realized that the wait in traffic had been well worth it. The apartment was on the 12th floor looking directly over the port with a perfect view of the whole bay, where fireworks would shoot up from a bunch of different points.
It was right on the water and there were already people setting up tents and cars to watch the fireworks on the street in front of the apartment. We started cooking dinner, which Nancy and I had decided to make out of only a bunch of finger food hors devours. We sat out on the balcony and ate and talked for a while, and then we put on the cheesy New Years hats we had bought and took a bunch of pictures. By that time it was almost midnight, so we watched a little TV about celebrations going on in other countries, and then we went out to the balcony to watch the fireworks and ring in 2014. When the clock strikes midnight, it is a tradition in Chile to hug everyone around you, so first we all hugged and wished each other a happy new year, and then the fireworks started. It was absolutely breathtaking. There was a huge display right in front of the hotel where the port was, and then other displays scattered around the arc of the bay. They were all in perfect time with each other, and the show didn’t stop for a full 25 minutes. It was the best firework spectacle I’ve ever seen. Chileans have a lot of superstitious traditions for New Years. We all walked around with American dollar bills in our shoes for wealth in 2014, we had to hug someone of the opposite sex for the first hug of the New Year for luck in romance, and then we all had to stand on top of a chair holding a suitcase to be able to travel in 2014. Apparently there are a lot of other traditions too that we didn’t get to do. After the fireworks, we put on our sweatshirts and went to walk around the town. We walked all the way to the main plaza where there was a huge party.
It reminded me a lot of New Years in New Orleans where I was last year. It was body to body people as far as the eye could see everyone drunk and everyone still drinking. There was foam coming out of one of the clubs and people were playing in it, so naturally I went over and started dancing with them. I absolutely thrive on that atmosphere of pure fun and happiness and craziness, but the rest of my family was more reserved and horrified by the level of drunken people, so we had to leave after about an hour.
It was a really cool sight though and I was happy that they even stayed that long because I know they only stayed because I was happy. When we got home it was about 3 am, and I was pretty tired, so we all went to sleep. It was a great start to the New Year, which I know will be the best year I have ever lived.

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