Wednesday blogs are henceforth devoted to a healthy bit of kvetching.
New Year’s Eve. Oh how I hate New Year’s Eve. The rest of the country,however is nuts about December 31st. Celebration of New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands includes the setting off of an obscene amount of (illegal) fireworks starting from about Christmas day building up in intensity and including New Year’s Eve and January 1, consuming copius amouts of fried dough with currants called “oliebollen” (literally translated, oil balls) and “gezelligheid.
First, I’d like to address my beef with the firework idiocy. Why would any sane person set off avalanche darts (seriously, these are used in the mountains to create avalanches), ashcans (known in local parlance as carbiet schiet’n) flare guns and other assorted incendiary devices, turning a perfectly civilized neighborhood into a reasonable facsimilie of a war zone for almost a week is beyond me. I’m talking 24 hour continuous shelling here. Call me weird, but all the explosions make me a little jittery and the normally even tempered Mack is a bundle of nerves. He’s too scared of the noise to pee in his own back yard, let alone take to the streets on an afternoon stroll.
Oliebollen, and I must admit, Joe College makes a mean oliebol, if you like that kind of thing, are hell on the digestive system. If Gordon Ramsey gets to hell (I’m betting his chances are pretty good), I am sure there will be plenty of oliebollen waiting for him. I ate 2 small ones for the “gezelligheid” and was bilious almost immediately. I’ve had Joe College’s oliebollen, Uncle Hardrock’s oliebollen and even sampled oliebollen from the famous Gouki truck behind the HEMA. I don’t care who makes them, they always make me feel ill.
Finally, “gezelligheid”. This Dutch word defies English translation but generally comprises feelings of cosiness, camaraderie, bonhomie and all the mushy holiday stuff rolled into one fine little oliebol of a package. I like all those things, just not on New Year’s Eve and not on demand. Well meaning friends invited us to join them to ring in the new year last year. It was lovely. I had a good time until my “gezellig” ran out around 10:30 pm. I just needed time to myself. The next 3 hours were a long stretch and I was a nervous wreck the next day. This year we celebrated at home.
Joe College along with Athos, Porthos and Aramis did olibollen duty out by the garage. FOTI and I cooked salmon and aglio e olio for dinner with pudding for dessert.Joe and the 3 Musketeers went off to a party after dinner. GMOTI was here, as well as Charlie Brown and we spent the evening watching music programmes on TV, drinking responsibly and I mapped out my plans for the year in my project notebook. When midnight rolled around and the enormous shelling started, I had a glass of champagne with the family and shimmered off to bed shortly after that while they went outside to admire the fireworks.
Still I feel a bit guilty. FOTI would probably like to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the national style. I tried for many years to be accomodating and wound up getting ill. This year I assured him that I wouldn’t mind at all if he went out partying, but not to expect me to come along. I’m no fun on New Year’s Eve. He assured me it would be no fun without me. It would be less fun if I went along, trust me.
* image of fireworks from Google