Saturday, December 31, 2005

Belgian Kiwi New Year

What shall I do with a Belgian-based man who offers to celebrate his January 1 birthday on New Zealand time ... bad man, but he did love the teapot, complete with real tea leaves, which is good as I almost died of hypothermia while searching Antwerpen city for his gift yesterday.

New Zealand time just happens to be 12 hours ahead of Belgian time; a fact confirmed by my sister phoning us up at lunchtime December 31, from her midnight New Year celebrations in Cromwell, New Zealand. She sounded happy, as one should when assisted by a little wine, good friends and a holiday in the heat of a Central Otago summer.

This year I have this odd awareness of family and friends around the world as they celebrate the beginning of 2006 at different times ... both my brothers and friends in Australia are anywhere from an hour to five hours behind NZ; Beste, Jason, Lisen and Yakup are in Turkey and an hour ahead of Belgium. Debbie and Trish are over in England,and a mere hour behind us here. Then there's Mary Lou and Al in America, with Sue and Bob living and working in different parts of China, and so it goes.

I spent most of my life living on an island-continent at the bottom of the world, then later there was time spent in the city that straddles two continents ... Istanbul with her feet firmly planted in both Europe and Asia; and now here I am, with this feeling that I am somehow sitting very close to the centre of the construct we know as the western world.

Our New Year's Eve ... well the Canucks are coming to dinner so we found some NZ lamb and will roast it with kumara, pumpkin, parsnip and potatoes ... there's a little Spanish wine, and Alison has whipped up a Canadian cheesecake for dessert, then the city fireworks at midnight, best viewed from our balcony or so I am told.

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar to everyone reading this, no matter where you are ... I wish you the best of everything in 2006.

Tot ziens.

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