After an amazing 2 days in Poland, Giulio and I set off for Rotterdam, Netherlands to celebrate New Years Eve with his brother. I love the Netherlands, and will never say no to a random trip whenever possible. Upon arriving we took the fast train to Rotterdam and arrived in less than 30 minutes from Schipol. It never ceases to amaze me just how well connected this country is!
Anyway, when we arrived in Rotterdam, Giulio’s brother Guido came to pick us up at the train station. You probably remember me talking about him on my weekend getaway in Amsterdam 2 weeks before. He likes to play guitar and has a pretty sweet crib. Giulio was super happy because he was ablt to wat SkyTV which is like OnDemand but in Italian. Guido and I played Guitar and sang, while Giulio watched sports and Italian documentaries downstairs. My little nerd ♥. After singin’ and playin’ some guitar Guido invited me to a drink with his friends. We walked past a few really cool looking buildings and monuments, which I unfortunately don’t know the name of since it was just in passing on the way to the bar.
The bar had all kinds of beers and ciders, imported and drafts. I order a cider and started to make small talk with Guido’s friends since Giulio stayed home. I spoke primarily with a lovely Italian woman named Anna and we hit it off instantly. We made jokes about men and life and bonded over how we both talk really fast and switch languages at random. We rambled on and on switching between Italian and English and the men just stared at us, but it was like we were in our own world. Next thing I knew, it was time to leave already!
New Years Eve Dinner
The next day we spent getting the house ready for 12 guests. That’s apparently not even the strange part. Guido’s friends came over to his house to cook the food for the party. I know, weird! Usually, in the US, if you’re having a house party the guests each bring dishes. But not here. I just stood watching idly until they asked for help preparing the table. Not that you’d want my help in the kitchen anyway. Anna and her brother and boyfriend were both in the kitchen cooking. They were all speaking in Neapolitan dialect while passing ingredients left and right. It was quite entertaining.
Then more and more people started to enter the house, two guys even brought the aperitivo. I love the fact that Italian men cook, and cook well.
The table looked amazing. There was tartar, fish, octopus, oysters, and the most important dish: Cotechino e Lenticchie. In Italian culture they eat a dish with lentils that signify money and fortune, and pigs feet which are nearly pure fat, signify abundance and good luck for the new year.
After dinner, Italian style 4/5 courses, we brought out the wine and guitar. We were all laughing and having fun and I was singing for everyone for a bit, but then something amazing happened. I gave the guitar to Guido and they started to sing Italian songs and the whole table started to sing along. It was magical and so much fun.
We’d check the time and it was almost midnight so we had to run to the club where we had reservations. The bar was called Suicide Club and there was a line to enter. The bouncer made an announcement that the elevator would close at 5 to midnight, so we all ran inside and caught the last elevator.
The club was completely packed. There were dancers wearing nearly nothing and covered in oil standing on platforms around the bar. Not just women, but drag queens killin’ it too. Just as the countdown started we ran outside, grabbed a blanket from the bar outside ew ew ew and watched the fireworks. It was just a fantastic spot to see the fireworks over the city. Then we went back inside and danced all night until my feet hurt and it was time to go home.
New Years Day
We all woke up pretty hung over the next morning. Having not even been upstairs I hadn’t realized we’d left all the food and table exactly how it was when we were eating. That meant a full day of cleaning ahead. But I didn’t mind, I’d had so much fun and I didn’t have to cook so I felt like it was my contribution. After cleaning we were invited to Anna and her boyfriends house for dinner. Apparently they do this everyday.
Upon arriving to their house I immediately ignored the guys and talked to Anna about Rotterdam and life in Rotterdam and how I love their sense of family even though they are so far away from home. I asked her how I could find a job and be a part of their squad and she actually gave me some ideas. It had been such a long time since I’d felt welcome somewhere that I dreaded leaving the next day to go back to Spain. Needless to say I love all of them in Rotterdam, especially Anna (sorry Giulio, again) and can’t wait to go back to visit them. It was off to the airport the next day, where I also had to say goodbye to Giulio until probably Easter. I was pretty bummed, but also felt so lucky to have been able to experience such a wonderful winter holiday.