I’m standing here at Confucius square in NYC waiting for the parade to come through.
This is the most important day in the Chinese year because it represents rebirth and continuing the wealth and prosperity of the previous year.
So, I was thinking it was appropriate to begin my blog with a story of a past New Year’s Eve, since we are rapidly approaching the NYE of 2010!
It started when I was on my 12th trip to Costa Rica.
To bring you up to speed, my family owned a coffee and trout farm in the mountains near Cartago which is what brought me to Costa Rica in the first place. Shortly, I met a boy and continued to visit this beautiful country. I was no longer with the boyfriend at this point, however, it was winter break from college at Colorado State University and my roommate was joining me on this trip!
I arrived a couple days ahead of her on the 30th and she would come in on the 1st. I was staying in a hostel in San Pedro. I thought maybe I’d hang out with people from the hostel for New Year’s Eve, but the whole place cleared out that day. My cousins were in town, but they left on the 31st too and since Dawn, my roommate, didn’t get in till the 1st I was planning on sitting on my hostel bunk bed and reading Harry Potter.
Around 7 that night the hostel filled up with people who had just traveled into town and those coming back from their travels on the beaches and in mountains of Costa Rica. What a blessing, whew! These people were from all over the world and had terrific stories.
The line up was:
The Aussie, Dan
31 years old
worked in IT but was thinking about a career change
was going to be in CR for about a month
surfing and taking language classes
The Canadian, Jon
25 years old
kind of a horn ball – we’d later find out
had been in the country for a few months
had a quasi-girlfriend in CR
The New Yorker Vegan, Stacey
21 years old
just graduated college
began her trip on a volunteer program but hated it
after one day she left the program and met Marla
The “Guadi”, Marla
26 years old
not really from Guatemala, but had been teaching at the English school there
she was on vacation for about 2 weeks in CR
a funny girl who made up words
The Texan, John
only from Texas most recently
he’s really from all over the world
he was a military kid
he had been in the country for a few weeks
a well traveled guy
spends most of his time in Mexico
very funny and sarcastic
The Accountant, Aden
called his mom a lot
had really bad breath
I guess he wasn’t my fave
After all these kids showed up in the hostel we got together and decided to all go out together for New Year’s Eve to El Pueblo. The best way for me to describe El Pueblo would be to say it’s like an outdoor town with an indoor feeling. It’s got little shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets, fountains, you get the idea. It has a very old world feeling to it.
Once there, we found a restaurant for dinner that we could all agree on and somewhere that Stacey, the New Yorker Vegan, would be able to eat something. Vegans are weird.
After dinner we stopped at this literal hole in the wall place. It couldn’t have been bigger than a moderately sized bathroom and it smelled like one to boot! Gross. We stayed there for what seemed like an eternity before we finally ended up at a place called “Friend’s.” You’d think you’d find mostly Americans here, but the crowd was pretty diverse. They were playing popular American music that you would find in most clubs here. We paid a $10 cover which essentially bought us 3 drinks, not bad.
“Friend’s” had a couple dancers on a small, 4 inch high, grey, carpeted stage toward the back of the tent extension they put in for the night. There was a guy on the mic getting crowd involvement and especially on the countdown to the New Year! After we counted down in Spanish, everyone from the transient hostel group was kissing (appropriately), hugging and celebrating.
We continued to dance and then I got yanked up on stage by one of the dancers under the pretense that I would be learning a few dance steps. Ha! Not the case. Basically, he flung me up, flipped me around, and swung me in all directions. I had no clue what was going on, but it was fun and the crowd loved it!
After leaving the club we called it a night and went back to the hostel.
What I realized that night was that it doesn’t matter where you are, people are always around you and it can be amazing who you meet in any situation. What a blessing to have crossed paths with these people on such a fun night celebrating the beginning of a new year. I haven’t stayed in touch with anyone from the NYE hostel group, but I’m sure they remember the night as much as I do.