Celebrating the new year in Bali with laughter and a kiss
New Year’s Eve for Russian people is the most important holiday of the year.
The table in each household is crammed with food, drinks and treats. Russian women start preparing for this celebration weeks in advance. We think about what delicious dishes to make and we do our very best to surprise our guests with the new meal.
We buy caviar and traditional sweet champagne, and perhaps an elegant dress. Everything should be flawless.
We also have an interesting belief that we take very seriously; “How you celebrate the new year, so you will spend it!”
Therefore, we try very hard for everything on this long night to be perfect, as the events that happen will shape the year to come. As the new year chimes from the main tower on Red Square in Moscow, many of us write a note which contains our dreams. We burn it, throw the ashes into a glass of champagne and drink it down. Our wish will come true.
For a long time, my husband Bill did not understand why I was so serious about the new year celebration. Why did I so desperately need to come up with an extraordinary programme?
He was nervous and asked again and again: “Do you really believe that if your New Year’s Eve doesn’t live up to your expectations, then the next 12 months will be a failure?”
I realised I was creating a lot of stress around this one special evening. So, this year I decided to change my attitude towards the new year celebration. I did not expect a miracle, but decided instead to just enjoy the night.
No thoughts about the past and the future, no expectations. I would just live in the present moment. Rejoice, enjoy, smile and laugh. But, I think my talk of perfection paid off.
Bill took me to Bali. He knew it was my dream for a long time.
It was the best New Year’s of my life! We stayed in the most remote part of this mysterious island in the heart of the national park. We were surrounded by the kindness, smiles and serenity of the Balinese people. I put on a sarong and tucked a delightful snow-white frangipani flower behind my ear. I drank the local health drink “jamu” made from ginger, turmeric and lime (no alcohol). I smelled the aroma of blooming flowers and looked at the stars reflecting in a lily pond below verdant, green mountains hidden by mist. I was present. I was in the moment. I was happy.
Then, Bill took my hand and we slipped into the still waters of the pool. Distant fireworks lit up the night sky. We heard music coming from the jungle and we began to dance. We crafted various twists and turns, threw up our arms and legs, fell into the warm water and sang. We began to laugh and could not stop.
The new year began with laughter and a kiss. Will it be like that? I hope it will.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com