– Alessandra Brandini
Tre! Due! Uno!
I wish I could say that I spent my New Year’s celebration partying the night away in a crowd of people in middle of a plaza like I had planned, but that wasn’t the case.
First of all, after arriving on the morning of New Year’s Eve, I was completely exhausted. I slept for almost the entire day trying to prepare for the night, and honestly I didn’t know what to expect. When I woke up from my nap – if it can be called that – I actually went to work with my best friend. Turns out New Year’s Even is a very busy night and my best friend was the “delivery girl” for her restaurant.
We spent hours driving around the outskirts of Rome delivering all of the orders
– back and forth, back and forth. It was like a personal tour of what Rome was actually like outside of the major sites. Italians seemed to be very open people but very private with their homes. The roads were small and just on the other side of the sidewalk were walls of all sorts fencing in the yard and houses. I had never seen anything like it because the United States is very proud to have their front yards on display.
After hours spent in the car with my best friend, we had caught up on everything that had happened in the last two years and we had a moment of confession of how nervous we both had been about seeing each other again. Of course we knew we would always be friends, but a lot could change in two years. Luckily for us, it was as if not a moment had passed and almost like she had just spent the night at my house last weekend. We listened to all of our old favorite songs, laughed until tears and raced the clock until all the deliveries were finished so we could finally go celebrate.
We ended up going to a small party outside of Rome. The house was beautiful, almost “antique-looking” – antique from the United States that is. The only person at the party who spoke English was the friend I came with – but that didn’t stop the others from trying. I met a lot of people that night, most of which wanted to practice their English with me.
I was introduced very abruptly to the Italian culture that night. Everyone was so welcoming and accommodating to me. There was a long dining room table that was completely full of food, end to end. People kept offering me food and wine and even some strange beer. We couldn’t speak to each other so it was like a game of charades except there was no winner.
To no surprise, when the ones practicing their English asked where I was from and I responded with ‘Arkansas’, they had no idea what I was talking about. The night ended with my name being ‘Jordan from nowhere’ because I made the mistake of telling them Arkansas was in the middle of nowhere.
When midnight finally struck, champagne was popped, fireworks were shot, and we watched from the rooftop as hundreds of paper lanterns were sent into the sky for good luck in the upcoming year. The horizon was like a string of lights flashing with every burst of embellished gunpowder. I was in love. I almost couldn’t comprehend all of the feelings surging through me. It was surreal.
I left the party on the brink of frostbite, stuffed to the gills with real Italian food, and complete exhaustion.
I wouldn’t change a single thing about that night, except maybe wear an extra pair of socks.