LUCKILY, for all of us, especially this little one here:
…the pain of saying goodbye to Steffan and Polly (more on their amazing visit later)…
…was eased by the much-anticipated arrival* of Sara, Dani and Sam on New Years Eve.
In fact, Fiona was so excited when she heard Sam coming up the steps of our apartment, I had to grab the video camera and somewhat rudely greet Sara and Dani through the camera lens. (See video at the end of this post).
However it was worth it to get the video and these pictures:
After these affectionate greetings, Fiona showed off her new toys straightaway, however Sam needed a bit of a rest after the long drive so he crawled into the rocking chair to get a quick nap…
…yet he wasn’t about to let Fiona out of his sight (or grasp).
After taking those pictures, we were all too preoccupied with just being so happy to be together, the camera was totally forgotten about. I can report that Fiona followed Sam around everywhere, Sara and I were appropriately silly, and we left Dani for his much-needed (and well-deserved) nap when we went to the (AMERICAN!) grocery store on base to get some groceries.
Going on base and specifically grocery shopping, which effectively is like going back to the states, perhaps may have tied Starbucks for the location that Sara was most excited about visiting. (Other than visiting us??) Although I’ll have to see if Sara comments on this to confirm or deny. In the midst of Sara exclaiming over products she had forgotten about (SPAM!), was unaware of (MEAT INFUSIONS!), or had to buy to take back with her (BLUEBERRY FROSTED POP TARTS!), we picked up items for our New Years Eve taco party and Breyers Mint Chip ice cream, our favorite.
Okay, I may as well own up to the fact that the pictures below were not actually taken on New Years Eve, but Taco Party II, which happened the next night. We were too hungry to think about taking pictures that actual night, but the set up was the same. Amazingly, there were leftovers.
It’s just not fair to be upstaged by a snowman.
Okay, so after Taco Party (I), we then continued our mad celebrations by Sara and Dani disappearing into their bedroom to “put Sam to sleep,” which I think included also putting themselves to sleep as well. Rijen and I drowned our disappointment by curling up on the couch and watching a few episodes of the Office Season 3, which Cara and Holly gifted Rijen for his birthday.
Luckily, Sara and Dani reappeared just in time to bring in the New Years with us and appreciate the amazing view of the city fireworks from our apartment. Simply stated, Stuttgart city center is like a bowl, and we are up on the side, so we did have a really cool view from both sides of our apartment from fireworks going off ALL OVER THE CITY ALL AROUND US.
It was such an amazing sight, and an experience different from fireworks displays back home. It is hard to explain the difference exactly, but I’ll try. I am used to the really beautiful huge firework displays put on by whatever city I might have been in for the 4th of July or New Years. There have been some really cool moments- displays set to music, awesome vantage points, incredible orchestrated firework shows etc. Yet the moment on the balcony with Steffan’s snowman (more on him later), was very special.
We didn’t see any one huge firework show with the ginormous sky-shattering colorful fireworks I have seen before- where we could say- look there it is, the main show put on by the city! Instead, it was like being in the middle of the show itself. It seemed like we were caught in the middle of a city which truly came alive to celebrate the excitement of a new year. From every direction people were setting off their own fireworks and celebrating.
Sara, Dani and Rijen did join me and the snowman outside for the actual first few minutes of 2011. In the video at the end of this post you can hear the bells ringing, which is when the clock struck midnight- and although the bells eventually stopped, the fireworks did not. I stayed outside a bit longer, and the others preferred to do most of their watching from the inside. We are lucky to have floor-to-ceiling windows on part of our downstairs area, as well as nice views from both downstairs and upstairs.
After sharing a New Years toast, taking our first pictures of 2011 and getting calls from Dani’s family in Italy, we all went to bed.
Even though our little party ended around 1AM, celebrations were still going strong all around Stuttgart. Since we are on the top floor and have windows in our roof, Rijen and I could see the fireworks from our bed. I remember there still being fireworks as I went to sleep. It was a very unique way to say goodbye to 2010, and the best part was being with Sara and her family.
If you missed out on seeing fireworks, and have 2 minutes, you can see what I am talking about- and also how excited Fiona was to see Sam in the following video, which I have entitled “LOST IN AUSTRIA.”
*They would have gotten here earlier, however they got “Lost in Austria,” which incidentally, every time Sara or Sam says the phrase, makes me think that it would be a great movie title, although being lost in Austria doesn’t really conjure up very scary or suspenseful images, in fact I think many people would consider Austria a prime location to be lost in, but if anyone has any interesting ideas for said movie, feel free to comment.