Our New Year

For the first 15 years of my working life I spent NYE in a kitchen somewhere pumping out food with a bunch of other chefs all trying to get the service finished so we could sit around the kitchen benches and bring in the new year with a cold beer. This was always fun. You’d do a great service then a mad clean up and have the next 8 hours ready to party hard or in my case in the last 10 years, go home to my sleeping family, toss my tired body into bed and wake up without a hangover.

I think I have forgotten how to celebrate the new year with clubs, parties and copious amounts of alcohol because I haven’t done it for years. This year Nic and I were thinking of kicking up our heels with our friends but to be honest, we were a bit tired from all the touring around we had done that week in Turin, Milan and Genova so instead I suggested to E and Ross that I make a big pot of chilli and we kick in the new year with comfort food, prosecco (Ross lashed out and purchased a magnum which we had no trouble polishing off) and watching Florence’s firework display from our favourite spot over-looking this beautiful city. The boys were ecstatic to be staying up until midnight and I was ecstatic I wasn’t down in the crowded streets of Florence. 

Living in Sydney for the past 4-5 years and watching the very controlled firework display from the bridge didn’t quite prepare us for the sporadic lightening shows we were viewing at 12am on the 1st. It was like little parts of Florence were on fire and showing which part of town could out do all others and who had the longest display. As we were standing on the lookout a group of young Italian and German folk were starting their own light show which threw me for a minute because it had been a long time since I had a firecracker go off a few meters from where I was standing. The kids freaked out (see this is what happens when you live in countries that want to ‘protect’ you from everything fun!) though soon got into the spirit of fireworks and ash getting into their eyes. After about 20 minutes we had wished all a Happy New Year and proceeded to make our way down the hill, hoping to not get a firecracker up the butt (seriously the kids near us were pretty drunk!).

We woke up the next morning roaring to go (a holiday roar that started around 9.30am), Nic decided he needed to go into the office (a week off was more than enough) so the boys and I decided we would head over to the ice skating rink with E and Isabel to put a positive spin on 2014. The weather was cold but fabulous and the kids were busting to get on the ice. This makes me laugh because Max and Alex have only ever been ice skating once before and it was on a hot summer’s day in Sydney where Alex proceed to skate and fall on a regular occurrence (seriously the kid was up and down like a yo-yo) while Max stared at the ice with maximum concentration moving at a snail’s pace. With these thoughts in my mind I was not under any allusions that they were going to go pro unlike our American friends who grow up learning to skate in the womb.


E and Isabel carving up the ice

As you can see it was a stunner of a day on January 1st, 2014 and a great day to skate outdoors! This was my first time skating outdoors so I was pretty stoked. Ok, so the ice wasn’t the best (I’d never known ice to have bumps in it) and there was no Zamboni coming round to remove the excess ice shavings, but that was just fine. The boys did an awesome job, Alex managed to stay upright more often than not and Max even found another gear and skated looking up every once and a while.


Alex the normal bat-out-of-hell skater, keeping an eye on the railing

Isabel was showing the boys how it was done, however, she was a little annoyed these Japanese guys could skate better than her (it wasn’t until then that E had to remind her they get snow in Japan too). I do love her form, instead of getting all worked up about it, Isabel marched right up to them and asked for pointers on how to skate better-Love it!! (and who would of thought they told her exactly the same thing as her mum, E rocked the ice!)


Isabel showing Max how it is done

Of course, the kids didn’t want to leave and we were having a lot of fun but collisions were happening and at one stage there were more people on the ice than actual ice itself (the sun was so beautiful that the corners of the dinky rink were starting to turn into slush). We marked the occasion with photos and then took ourselves off to the bar around the corner for a yummy pastry.

I am not sure how the rest of this year will pan out and I am a little sad that we are at our half-way mark for our year in Italy, however, one thing I do know and that is we have started off on the right foot. I can’t wait to see what we will squeeze into the next six months!


Ice skating in Florence on New Years Day 2014