1st January 2017- We were told prior to New Year’s Day of the Chilean belief that what you do in the first 12 hours in the new year’s day would represent what your entire year will be like.
What a lovely custom/tradition- That’s probably why so many Chileans consciously surround themselves with friends and family at midnight, why they seek out to kiss the one they love as the first thing they do in the brand new year.
It’s probably why some take their suitcases out from the wardrobe and walk the streets with them in the mid-morning, as they want to travel in the next 12 months.
It’s also why ALL of the shops, Art galleries, Museums, and every other tourist attraction are closed in the morning. No-one wants to work in the first 12 hours.
Whilst in Chile, we found our first (and second) 12 hours of our new year was a FORCED slow down………… there were no tourist spots to check out, no stores or markets to shop at, we found our first (and second ) 12 hours to be a “stop and watch life go bye” experience.
And to be honest, i think that is what we really need 2017 to be!
Chilean tradition was telling us to say goodbye to the fast and frantic passed life that we had experienced in 2016………….. Chile was telling us that 2017 was time to stop and smell the roses and guess what we found…….. when we stopped and took a breath, we actually saw life’s simple pleasures!
We found ourselves at the same tree lined fountain street from our first day in Santiago, but this time it wasn’t full of people out eating and drinking in the cafes.
We did find a McDonalds ( thanks America) where we attempted to purchase a cheeseburger meal deal and then found a 7/11 style store open too (so we could buy a bottle of water – because the meal deal thing just didn’t happen- we just got the burger as we didn’t speak spanish and the girl didn’t know any english lol )
We sat in the sunshine and watched the people taking their dogs for a play IN the fountain (since the water was conveniently turned off). We watched the kids playing on their scooters. We watched the beggar who also appreciated the no water function- finding a windfall in the dormant fountain. We watched children playing, running around to check if any of the silly string or snow cans that had been left by the party revellers were empty or not…….. and you could hear the excitement when there was a treasure remaining inside them.
Laughter, the pure joy of children playing and for us, time sitting in the sunshine appreciating the fact that we were on the other side of the world, sitting in each other’s company and feeling happy and loved, seemed like the perfect way to see in our first and second 12 hours of 2017.