Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 will be a very good year!

On the streets of Amsterdam the Champagne flows as 2008 comes in with a bang as usual. Manon turned up for our end of year dinner which was fantastic. It was very Italian. Peppers stuffed with goat's cheese and olives stuffed with peppers as antipasti followed by Bruschetta and onion soup and spaghetti pesto genovese (to celebrate Manon's new Italian base). Cosy as we were with our bubbly, pasta and espresso we had to check out the big Dutch New Year bang. And bang it did loud and clear. Our poor dog was terrified by all the loud noises. When I tried to take him out yesterday afternoon a banger went off just outside the door and so poor Freako ran terrified back upstairs and hid in the corner till it was all over. We went to the Nieuwmarkt, which was terribly crowded as always, and it all went boom, boom, boom! At midnight we celebrated with of all things cans of Heineken as we had run out of bubbly earlier on. One Welshman, one Italian and one Dutch girl in a crowd of happy and crazy revelers said cheers and welcomed in the new year. Some of the fireworks were so loud that you could feel the force of the explosion. Someone gave me a bottle of Luxembourg Cremant which was very tasty. The year started lucky and happy so I think that 2008 will be a very good year. I thought of taking my camera with me downtown but then decided not to under the crazy circumstances. After all, if a picture is a thousand words then a thousand words could make a picture. People with mobile phones were all taking loads of pictures anyway. I'd be curious to see what some of them turned out like in the dark and jolly chaos. Someone asked me if I had made a new year resolution. To be happy I replied and afterwards I thought of our dinner table chat the evening before. We talked about how young Dutch kids no longer know what to believe in a world overloaded with information and how to keep the nasty big picture at a distance and create your own world. I was as usual ranting on about the big picture and upon reflection found myself agreeing with the Dutch point of view. Holland is a peaceful country and we are lucky here to still enjoy tolerance and freedom. As one particularly loud bang went off and its shockwave hit me for a brief moment I counted myself lucky that it was just a firework. My resolution? To look for and tell the truth within my area of competence and to create that positive small world that my Dutch friend described. Have a wonderful 2008, people, and let the heart be with you!

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