There were many firsts in 2014 for me and it also ended with a first. As I have an elderly mom who needs to be watched over constantly, a domestic helper has been employed for over a decade for this purpose. Our current helper, Lisa, has been with us for four years already. It was not the usual for me to be home on the eve of new year where I would be spending time out watching the fireworks or at a friend’s place or overseas. So I can say that this was the first time I stayed home with my mom and Lisa for 2014 to usher in 2015.
Actually, I never thought about `ushering’ in the new year. I just decided to stay home and watch the much hyped national programme on our small and young country going into its 50th or jubilee year. It was a 7-hour long live programme and concert that will end at 1.30am. The three of us perched at our usual positions in the living room; mom and Lisa on the couch and I will be further away on a chair leaning against a corner wall, facing the TV. We had a simple dinner and I saw something interesting placed at the corner of the dining table:
There was a tray of assorted fruits and a container of home made rice cakes. I asked Lisa what was this all about. She replied that she has been doing this every eve of new year (of course I was not home to actually see this arrangement the past years so I wouldn’t know). I asked why this was needed and she said this tradition was practiced in the Philippines so she just continue to do it here. My mom wanted to `meddle’ with the fruits or pinched some of it but Lisa told her that it should left as a display and only consumed after the new year has come. So we respected her wish.
We watched the live program which was quite entertaining and it didn’t feel draggy as they were reminiscing the past from 1960s till current times. My mom was old enough to identify with all that was shown and I was old enough to know some of the old songs that I heard since childhood and Lisa was just in a celebrative mood and went with the flow. I went to my room to go online for a bit and planned to go out again for the countdown. I was startled by a loud rattling sound coming from the living room and came out to see what was going on. My mom had already retired to her room around 11pm but Lisa was still watching TV and it just struck midnight.
Lisa was shaking a box vigorously and it sounded like there were marbles inside. It made a loud rattling sound and she was saying “Happy New Year” several times as she rattled the box. When she saw me coming out from my room, she stood up from the couch and walked around the living room shaking the box over her head and chanting “Happy New Year” so I had two shows to watch, one was the live TV program and one was a lively helper losing her marbles… oh no… they were in that box 🙂
It lasted quite a while and I don’t think the neighbours would mind since it was a new year celebration. I learned something new going into 2015, I realised there are many ways people celebrate life. Some quietly, some noisily, some with long standing traditions and beliefs and some, with grateful hearts. I hope Lisa was happy for having her way of celebrating, perhaps it helped her cope with being away from her family (although she was cyber connected with them via Skype during the process). The irony was my mom hardly spoke even though we were present physically and she was not one who celebrate anything in particular. I hope the celebrative mood set by Lisa and my being amused at her antics would bring some cheer to mom.