Monday, January 9, 2012

new years eve - party like its 1941

New Years Eve was party time with Casa G.
 Party time naturally means cooking time as well.  We had:
Corn dogs
lots of chips (I didn't make these!) and salsa 
potato salad
potato pancakes (not sure anyone even tried them)
raw veggies and dip
banana cake
two chocolate cakes
popcorn balls
caramel popcorn
Normally the boys don't eat a ton of sweets but they did that night for some reason.  One of the boys (Antony) had 9 pieces of chocolate cake in a matter of 10 minutes - it may have even been faster.
Mainly we ate, played Wii in the garage - "big screen",
 or the boys were on the computer for the first hour or so.
 When things got a little crazy I found the entire family hiding out in Mia's room to get away from it all for a bit!
 One of the new years tradition here involves uvas - grapes.  The idea is for everyone to eat 12 grapes in the last minute before the new year.  Each grape represents one month and you are to make a wish with each grape you eat.  Eric bought 10 pounds to make sure we had enough.
 The problem was that the only grapes he could find were huge ones.  HUGE.
 I selfishly dug out as many small ones that I could find and saved those for Maddy and I - there was no way we were going to be able to pound down 12 of those gigantic grapes in one minute!  I didn't watch him, but I'm sure Antony could have done it after the way I saw him eat cake!
 There were also some photo opps with our Año Viejo.  The is a dummy that is burned each new year.  I wanted to get pictures but never did - they are for sale everywhere on the streets.  Every shape, size and character: from a two foot Smurf to an eight foot WWF wrestler - with many presidents, famous personalities, etc. in between.  We burned a fairly generic man this year - more on that later.....

 As we got closer to midnight, Eric gave a little talk and had the boys write down some things that they struggled with this past year.  He also got them to write down some goals/areas where they wanted to grow for the new year.
 Then Eric had them put their goals in their bibles and their mistakes, sins and/or areas of change were burned with the Viejo (the Old Man - and Ecuadorian New Years tradition where they burn a saw dust - ours this year - and or firecracker filled - ours last year - "man" to represent getting rid of the old things so they can have a new start with the new year.  The idea is renewal - out with the old, and presumably, in with the new).

 Here's were the WWII comes in - the photos could almost look like they were from 1941.  Eric bought a bunch of roman candles - fireworks are huge down here, for pretty much any celebration, but for New Years Eve, they are pretty much mandatory.  Buying a dozen roman candles barely qualified us for an actual Ecuadorian celebration.  But let me tell you, the boys enjoyed them.
 They enjoyed them so much, in fact, that they started to shoot them at each other.  Yes, you read that correctly - they shot them at each other.... and almost at Eric and I, the silent observers.  I felt a little like a war reporter, trying to capture the front lines.  Okay, it wasn't nearly as horrific as all that, but it was pretty crazy.
 Yes, one or two of them got hit, but no, none of them got injured!

 Two of the guys, Lizandro and Alejandro were pretty smart.  They waited and hid until the other boys were all out of their candles.  Then they lit theirs and started their assault without any worry of attack.
Meanwhile, in the safer area of things (hahahaha), Eric had to keep the Viejo burning with shots of WD40.

 After the war, the boys began dancing/skipping in a circle, singing some song.  I really should have asked what they were singing, but alas, I was too caught up in the thrill of still being alive.
 All the while, fireworks were going off pretty much from every direction.  There really wasn't any need to buy any more of our own - we wouldn't have been able to tell if they were ours or not anyway!  They began around 11:00 or a little later and the majority of them ended at 1:30.  Of course, midnight carried the loudest and the most.

 Then it was time to jump the Old Man.
 Eric added our very dry Christmas trees in increase the drama.

 You are seeing right - they really did jump through those very large flames - repeatedly!  The jumping is  to bring good luck.
There were two other traditions that we know that we didn't participate in.  One is to wear yellow underwear (well, some of the boys may have done this, but I don't think so..... usually we get several views of the underwear and I didn't see any yellow....)  and put a dollar in your left shoe.  This is to bring prosperity.  The second it to run around the block with your suitcases - this is supposed to ensure that you'll get to travel in the new year.
Even though we didn't do these things, I'm pretty sure we'll still have a great year!

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