We decided, for New Year’s Eve, to attend a Folk Ball we saw in the BVV. The BVV is a free monthly magazine that lists community events. I had written down the information listed on Google Calendar at the beginning of December. I checked online to confirm and found, yes, the band was scheduled to play, starting at 8pm – I also noticed a small note mentioning it was to be Spanish style – bring a dish to share. Cost for non-members 9 Euros. Perfect! The kids were excited to have a chance to stay up until midnight and I was excited to have a chance to go to another Folk Ball. Plus, it was a blue moon. (That’s when there are 2 full moons in one month) and I’m happy to report it was huge and bright and beautiful and we spent several minutes before our soiree and afterwards gazing at it in wonder.
When we got there we found out it was actually going to cost our family 51 Euros to get in – Gulp! Well, we had no other plans so in we went – only to wait for the next two and a half hours for the music to begin. Incredible as it may seem, that is how long it takes the French audience to eat pot luck. (I was pretty annoyed at the online mis-information!) I was worried the kids would crash before we even got to dance but, despite the fact we had eaten at home, they did great. We sampled French food (mostly pretty average but had an amazing cheese quiche of some kind and a delicious chicken curry with rice) and desserts (my traditional super brownies were the best thing there – as evidenced by the fact they were almost all eaten while all the other desserts were more than half left – and some were untouched – sad) and we talked and played games together at the table. The kids are finally getting old enough to really have dinner conversation. I love to laugh with them.
Around 10 we just couldn’t sit any longer and headed to the dance room where other kids were running around. The kids had fun for the next half hour burning off steam until, finally, the band entered and started to play. André and I were much more comfortable this time and had a great time dancing. The kids danced with us a little bit – or with each other – and enjoyed watching us dance. After about an hour, Zander found a group of kids to play with and started playing hide and seek with them. It was great to see him blend in and make friends so easily – I wish he could apply those skills at school! Although, now that I think about it, he never has problems making new friends. He seems to be the best friend of every new kid and/or friendless kid in the school – until the point they get cool enough to find another friend – and dump Zander. But at least he had fun. Griffin got pretty tired around 11 but got his second wind and was able to make it until midnight. The band was great and played tons of different tunes. We tried many of the group dances and also learned the schottische – I even waltzed (very badly) with another partner.
Finally, about 5 minutes before midnight, the band took a break. I started handing out the serpentine and party hats I found at the (where else?) tout à 1 euro sale earlier in the month. Serpentine always reminds me off two things – The Love Boat and my wedding – we threw this instead of rice! All the kids had a great time throwing it around but I kept waiting for the big countdown. Maybe my watch was off? When were they going to do it??? I finally noticed people were walking around, rather calmly, and kissing each other saying: “Bonne Annee! Bonne Sante!” (or Happy New Year! Good health!) So, it appeared that a big countdown was not going to happen. They did it last year when we were in Les Contami
It’s kind of amazing to think about entering a new decade. I was a newly graduated, newlywed non-parent in 2000 and now I have borne, birthed and begun raising all three of my children. I became a stay at home parent, lost and gained about 50 pounds 3 times over, began practicing yoga, dealt with the excruciatingly long process of trying to figure out the medical mystery that is Griffin, learned how to be an integral part of a community, became an aunt, and left most of it behind to move abroad, see more of the world and start a blog!!! I can’t even imagine 10 years from now. I’ll be 43 years old – and my kids will be 18, 16 and 14 – teenagers!!! My as-yet unborn niece will be older than Zander is now. We might be in Philadelphia, or some more exotic locale. I might be gainfully employed, I might still be writing, let’s face it, I might die tomorrow….. I guess my resolution is to try to continue to live life to the fullest – live the dream - and maybe (like everyone else on the earth) exercise more!!!