2013 is now in full swing. 2012 was a pretty darn good year, I can’t really complain, but I have even higher hopes for 2013. I’ve made my resolutions (love myself more, live in moderation), and I’m looking forward to a year of moving home, starting over, creating, traveling, and hopefully planning for an addition to our family (we’ll see about that one). NYE was a fantastic time for us this year…spent with good friends, with even better conversations and food, and dreams of what life will bring us in the new year.

One of the coolest parts about living in the Netherlands is their NYE traditions. One tradition (a personal favorite) is oliebollen. Oliebollen, by definition, is deep fried, fatty goodness.

Please see how fatty, and delicious, these babies look.  As always, sprinklers are optional.

Oliebollen are, basically, doughnut balls.  Deep fried in vats of hot oil, then dusted with powdered sugar.  Biting into one of these right out of the grease is as close as us mere mortals will ever come to heaven.  The Oliebollen carts come out to play right before Christmas time, and they’re located in every city square, market, grocery store, etc.  Basically, if there are people shopping, there is bound to be an Oliebollen cart sitting there, just waiting to take your money and make you fat.

Another tradition I love in the Netherlands is the fireworks that go off at midnight December 31/January 1.  For a few days leading up to NYE, people are lighting off fireworks, though nothing major.  You’ll hear some kids playing around in the evening, mainly with firecrackers and other loud combustibles.  But, by the time most people have had a few drinks in them come December 31st, the fun has just begun!  As everyone counts down to the new year, the sky lights up with fireworks, all across the country.  And we’re not talking about some piddly little fire show that your 85-year old grandma would show.  Oh no…this baby goes one for HOURS!   We stood outside on our balcony for well over an hour, into the cold and rain-drizzled night, watching the sky light up all over the city/residential areas.  It was amazing!  People were lighting fireworks off of roof-tops, in the bus lanes, in the road, on the sidewalk/bike paths…wherever they could find a patch of flat land, something was being set on fire.  Jamie took some video with his camera, and I sat there, mesmerized by the beauty of the pretty lights flickering off my glass of champagne (or was it my second glass of champagne?  oh well…doesn’t matter).  After that, we spent some more time chatting with friends, and then passed out into the blissful sleep that only comes after having too much to drink and no work in the morning.  Ahh, bliss.

So, needless to say, our last NYE in the Netherlands was a good one.  I only hope that, in the years to come, our NYEs are as fantastic as this past one!