New Year’s Traditions

Wait, it’s already February?! When did that happen? Between taking a short trip back home, to having my sister come out for a visit, and spending some much needed R&R with Andrew in the Austrian Alps, the month of January has just flown by! So … let’s back up.

This new year’s has probably been one of my favorites. We were invited to celebrate with a fellow teammate of Andrew and his family. They are both Austrian and over the past two years we have gotten to know them and enjoy spending time together and learning a little bit more of their Austrian culture. Usually for New Year’s, I’ve either celebrated at home with a bottle of champagne and Dick Clark’s countdown to watching the ball drop … or … I’ve gone out for a night on the town with my girlfriends, dancing and doing pretty much the same thing with the champagne and ball. This year was different.

We started with a Raclette dish for dinner. Similar to fondue, raclette is an electric grill, more or less. On the top, meats of your choosing are grilled. Underneath, cheese (typically raclette cheese) is melted. You can add a whole variety of things to the cheese. We had mushrooms, pineapple, potatoes, pickles, bacon bits, and other dipping sauces. After melting the cheese, you pour it out of the small pan onto your cooked meat. It was delicious!

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After eating way more than I should, we moved on to another tradition for New Year’s. We were each given a lead object. The objects are generally things that bring good fortune. With candles lit, we took turns melting our lead objects in a spoon. Once the lead was liquid, you would quickly dump it into a bowl of cold water. When the lead cooled and formed a shape, you would take it out. The shape gives you hints as to what awaits you in the New Year. We also got a New Year’s pig because, you know, pigs always bring good luck.

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As you can see, mine split in two. And I really have no idea what either resembled, still. Some of ours were a little more clearer than others. Mine wasn’t one of those. If I turn it around different ways, it starts to look like a palm tree with waves … a beach vacation this year, maybe? … or is that just my wishful thinking.

And of course New Year’s in Austria wouldn’t be complete without a fireworks show. Put on by yours truly. I got a little overzealous with actually being allowed to purchase what I consider illegal fireworks and went a tad bit crazy at the grocery store downstairs. Fireworks are one of my favorite things! And yes, the fireworks are sold in the grocery store. They had a handful of packages to choose from. Andrew and I selected the biggest ones, naturally. Between one failing to go airborne and another hitting the neighboring apartment buildings, I’d say it was a pretty good show!

Happy New Year!

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