Yes, I realize that happened over a month ago. I’ll be caught up soon, promise! I just had to mention New Year’s Eve because I feel like I had a pretty unique one at the end of 2009 in Finland.
We hadn’t made much of an effort to make New Year’s plans, so at the the last minute we decided we’d be content to stay at his parents’ house and spend it with them. While I do like dressing up or going out to celebrate the beginning of a new year, I’m all for low-key celebrations as well. During the day we went out and bought some tiny fireworks, a bottle of bubbly, and the traditional Finnish New Year’s Eve foods, which are wieners (nakit) and potato salad (perunasalaatti) (haha– I didn’t even think about this until now, but it’s like American Fourth of July food :-D). We ate an early dinner (of other stuff, not potato salad!) with his parents and watched “Dinner for One“, an 18-minute comedy sketch that’s shown every year on New Year’s Eve in Finland (and apparently several other countries as well). The sketch is German in origin, but performed in English. It’s rather funny; check it out on YouTube if you’re curious. Then we enjoyed a nice long sauna, and a little while later– around 11– we decided to take our New Year’s snacks and have a picnic. Outside. It was about -12 C that night, not the coldest day of our trip by far, but chilly enough. We had protection against the cold– a special log that’s cut in such a way that it burns from the inside out, and two awesome snowsuits that used to belong to J and his brother.
See the snowsuit? Rockin’. This year maybe I’ll wear a pretty dress for New Year’s Eve, but last year this was my outfit. And the best part is, the two suits are identical, so we even matched. No wait, that’s not the best part– the best part is that while wearing this baby, one is completely impervious to the cold.
We lit our log-thing in J’s backyard, among the snow and the trees, and as soon as the flames picked up we began to roast wieners and strips of bacon. Mmm… bacon gets so crispy over an open flame, if you have enough patience. The wieners were adorned with mild mustard after roasting, a Finnish staple. Potato salad and beer were enjoyed alongside (both of which began to freeze after a while…).
We may have also had a little of this.
At midnight, J’s parents called us and we met them in front of the house for some sparkling wine and the exchange of “Hyvää uutta vuotta!” We also lit our fireworks, which were the kind that just shoot straight up with some white sparks and a “pheeeww” sound. In Finnish they’re called kissanpierut (cat farts). It was cold enough outside that as soon as we left the comfort of our picnic fire, my hands started to freeze. After the festivities, we returned to our fire as it burned down, and everything was serene and quiet save the sound of distant fireworks. It may not have been a typical New Year’s Eve, but to us it was pretty perfect.