New Year’s Night 2012/2013

The new year started here in Western and central Europe a couple of hours ago.

I no longer do the party thing or the standing around on the market square watching fireworks thing (been there, done that), so I celebrated by watching Dinner For One on TV. Afterwards, I went to a local Italian restaurant with my parents. They had a set menu this year. I’m normally not a fan of set menus, because they usually have too much meat for my taste. However, this one was really good. There was a small antipasto platter, followed by spaghetti with pesto and parmesan, followed by pork medallions with rosemary potatoes and spicy tomato sauce and finally a slice of tiramisu.

At the restaurant, I ran into two former students of mine, boyfriend and girlfriend. Still together, too, after approx. one and a half years, which is a lot for teens. They were having dinner with what I assume was the girl’s family (it certainly wasn’t the boy’s family). I said “Hello” and wished them a happy new year and otherwise left them alone. Kids are generally embarrassed to run into teachers outside school. I guess they secretly believe that teacher’s sleep in the school and hang like vampire bats from the rafters by night. Meeting a teacher outside school shatters that illusion.

“What a cute couple”, my Mom said. “Try spending an hour with her in the classroom, preferably an afternoon class, and we’ll talk again”, I said to her, “Though he was always a nice and quiet student.”

Afterwards, we went to my parents’, had some champagne and watched a bit of the big party at the Brandenburg Gate on TV. Shockingly, my Dad has never seen the Gangnam Style video. My Mom had no idea who the hosts, a pair of newcomers called Joko and Klaas, were, even though the pair of them seem to be on every second TV show or commercial lately. “I don’t watch that sort of thing”, my Mom said. “Well, I don’t watch it either, but since the guys are everywhere, you cannot escape them.” It also turned out that my parents have never heard the annoying Ma Cherie song by one DJ Antoine and were quite offended when I muted the sound, when the song came on. My students were playing that song all the time this summer. Every break there was “Ma Cherie” playing on someone’s iPod or phone to the point that merely hearing the song makes me want to smash something. Kind of amazing that my parents totally managed to miss that song, but then I guess no one over the age of 18 actually listened to it. I also wonder whether my own teachers had similarly violent urges at hearing Life is live or 99 Luftballons or Skandal im Sperrbezirk (unintentionally funny, when sung by pre-teens, because it’s a song about phone sex) or Keine Sterne in Athen or Samantha Fox’s Touch me, I wanna feel your body, all of which were played to death at some point during my childhood and teens. Actually I still can’t stand Keine Sterne in Athen and some other novelty songs of the period, since I heard them once too often. Though I can still sing along with most Neue Deutsche Welle hits of the early 1980s.

At midnight, we set off some fireworks. There were more fireworks than usual in my parents’ neighbourhood this year. Two brothers living a bit down the street from my parents proudly told me that they had 500 firecrackers between the two of them. There also were a lot more of those multi-shot firework batteries in the area. They’re really gorgeous to look at, though I wouldn’t waste twenty Euros on something like that.

I’ll a “year in review” post some time in the next few days. But for now, have some photos. Not of fireworks, since I never manage to shoot fireworks with my camera, but some nice miscellany.

First of all, for all those who want to know what the oversize load truck and heavy cargo traverse from Friday’s adventure actually look like, here’s a photo my Dad took during the unloading:

650 ton SWL heavy cargo traverse on truck

60 tons of steel in the form of a heavy cargo traverse being lifted off the transport truck.

For something completely different, in sixth grade I made a bird nesting box in woodworking class. My Dad put it up in the garden, where it still is almost thirty years later. Over the years, the nesting box has provided a place to raise their young for many birds, mostly tits. This winter, however, it found an unlikely inhabitant, when a woodpecker decided to squat in the old nesting box. We call him Hacki. Hacki is naturally shy and only comes home when dusk falls, but today my Dad managed to shoot a photo of him:

Nesting box with woodpecker

Hacki the woodpecker outside the nesting box he has occupied.

Finally, here are a couple of New Year’s decorations:

Clover pot

Pots of four-leaf clover plants are a popular decoration and gift around New Year’s Day. This pot is also decorated with lucky pennies as well as a chimney cleaner made from pipe cleaner and a mini champagne bottle.

Good luck symbols

This plaster cast candleholder is shaped like a horseshoe and decorated with good luck symbols. It’s handmade and was a party gift from a friend year’s ago. Surrounding the candle holders are two chimney sweepers, two pigs and three toadstools, all traditional good luck symbols.

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2 Responses to New Year’s Night 2012/2013

  1. Laran says:

    Your fifth paragraph made me curious if I had managed – like your parents – to steer clear of Ma Cherie, Joko & Klaas and Gangnam. I thought I had, hah! But, alas, your youtube link proved that actually, I do know the Ma Cherie one… I suppose it was on the radio somewhere. Obviously, once listening to it is enough to never get it deleted out of your poor suffering head again.

    Well, all in all I don’t think your parents are so very strange 🙂

    • Cora says:

      I guess your students have better taste than mine, considering that they’re older. That Ma Cherie song was particularly popular among grades 5 to 8. Now kids that age are allowed to have bad taste, particularly since I also liked some music at that age that wasn’t very good in retrospect. But hearing that same song played every single break really was annoying. Though it’s probably easy to avoid outside a school setting, unless one listens to the radio stations catering to the teen audience. I mostly listen to Bremen Eins for all my music needs and I don’t think I’ve heard it a single time there.

      As for Joko and Klaas, they started out on ZDF Neo, which I occasionally watch, because it’s one of the few ARD/ZDF channels that actually has decent programming, so I saw them in trailers. Then they were suddenly everywhere.

      You very likely know Gangnam Style, even if the title doesn’t ring a bell. It’s that Korean music video with the funny dance that looks like horse-riding without a horse. It got a billion views or so on YouTube and then hit the offline media.

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