Happy New Year!

New year’s eve party
We had a good time last night at some friends’ house. We are not much for staying up and ringing in the new year. I do stay up past midnight quite often, so it is not unusual for me to be up for the change of day/year, but not my family. Last night was a rare treat. Our friends threw together a last minute bash and called us yesterday afternoon. Our family, theirs and another missionary family met together about 8:00 to sit and talk in the new year.

We had too many snacks and candy. We did run out of drinks though. When you have 19 people hitting off of just 13 liters of Coke, Sprite and Diet Coke for 4+ hours, you tend to run out.

Shortly before midnight we walked our party down to the park to shoot off our fireworks. The noise was impressive. Most of the neighbors just shot theirs off in the streets. We were the only ones at the park.

One of the customs here is they take a piñata that is an old man. He represents the old year. You burn the old man. Often they will fill him with fireworks and as he burns the thing explodes quite violently and impressively. The neighbor’s party had one and we watched from behind the crowd as he exploded. When the explosions got more violent, the Mexicans were running and hiding behind the Americans. I think that was because the Americans did not have enough sense to get further back.

We saw people carrying suitcases, which is a representation of having a prosperous year of traveling. We were told, but did not see, that the people will eat 12 grapes which represent having a blessed 12 months of the coming year. Another tradition that we did not see is that the people will throw a bucket of water out into the street. That represents throwing out all the problems from the previous year.

First run of the year
We got home a bit after 1:00 and I got to bed pretty quickly so that I could get a good start on the year’s running. I did an 8.6 mile run. That is the longest run I have had in some time.

New year’s day party
Today we were invited over to the house of another set of friends. With parents that live here in town and a visiting set of parents, there were 13 of us to eat lunch, play games and generally have a good time. This family is the family that is our closest friends here in town. We really have been blessed to have so many good friends around us.