Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

From far away in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2009! This is actually my first time celebrating the holidays in a foreign country and it has been a very wonderful experience thus far. Of course, in the end, it's all about the people with whom you get to spend and share it with. Yesterday, as we rung in the new year, we saw tons of firework outside our window. In Puerto Rico, fireworks are legal and commonly seen during the New Year's Eve celebration. However, it is definitely more popular in the Netherlands.

Puerto Ricans usually ring in the new year with family and friends, just like the Dutch do. In terms of food, Puerto Ricans usually buy turrón (a hard nougat from Spain) and eat twelve grapes. This is eaten for good luck for all twelve months of the year. As for the Netherlands, oliebol (it reminds me of a ball-shaped doughnut with raisins) is what everyone eats. Yesterday, we saw lines of people at many of the ollibol trucks. It was incredible. The weather has been really cold (below zero degrees celsius!) over here and the canals were actually frozen! People were ice skating! Now that's perhaps one of the biggest differences between the Netherlands and Puerto Rico, where people would most likely be at the beach sunbathing.

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