Our Ecuadorian extended family had their New Year’s Eve party at our house, because it was on the beach. There were about 25 of us there. Everyone came about 8:30. I loved the ease at which they approached a party, unlike me. Originally Olayita said she was coming at 3:00 to set up. Then it was going to be 7:00. She came at 8:15, just before everyone else. She was not stressing at all. I guess she figures it is only family, but I would stress over family. What had to be done got done, what me worry? It wasn’t my party, so I did not stress at all. All I had to do was show up and pay our portion which was $32.00.
It was a very good party. The kids were there. The parents helped the kids with the firecrackers and sparklers. The music was roaring. We danced, drank, and talked. Each family had brought their effigy. We had a small one that Leo made into Maduro, President of Venezuela. We had a family picture taken of everyone with our effigies. At midnight each family hugged and kissed each other and wished each other, Feliz Ano Nuevo. Then the effigies were thrown in a pile and lit on fire. There were firecrackers inside that exploded. I was taking video at the time and I saw a fireball the size of a basketball, hop out of the fire and land on Christian, Olayita’s son. He swiped it off of him and did not get burned much. Then someone in the family set off a package of fireworks that was the kind you see on the 4th of July. Then we were given 12 grapes to eat. You make a wish for the new year as you eat each one. Then we ate dinner at some point after midnight.
The food was delicious! Mariana, Olayita’s mother made the dinner. She had brought individually packaged fish ceviche that we did not eat, but everyone took it home. We did eat chicken, rice, salad with ham pieces and shoestring fried potatoes. We continued to party for a while and we cleaned up. We got food for the next day, which we enjoyed. Everything ended at about 2:00 AM. Below is a slide show of the evening:
Below is a very short video on the burning of the effigies and the fireworks: (The fireball on the left is the one that went on Christian)
I did have some moments of stress after midnight when the music continued to blare. My next door neighbors had just gotten home from the States (FL) and they were both sick. Most North Americans do complain about the noise in Ecuador, but hey, that is how it is, so suck it up, except they were sick and I do have that residual guilt about disturbing my neighbors, but I kept telling myself, I am in Ecuador and partying with Ecuadorians, so I’m keeping my mouth shut. (When in Rome…)
The next day I did email Audrey and asked her if we were still friends after all that noise. Apparently she and Bill went to bed at 8:00 and heard nothing. I felt relieved. I do not want to be a pain in the butt neighbor!
I received an email from Frank, our friend, and he attached a picture of himself and his effigy. I loved it. It looked just like him! He had a ball walking around Crucita with it. Everyone had to get their picture taken with him and his “evil twin”, as he called it. I said, how could you burn that, it was so cool. Then I realized people might wonder about him if they saw a “mini me” in his apt. when they visited.
I love being here and experiencing new things, especially the new culture. I feel so lucky! I can hardly wait to see what 2015 brings.
Happy New Year Feliz Ano Nuevo