Updated: Jan 1
My New Years Eve didn't go according to plan.
I had two hours of work tonight, and a bottle of moscato I was going to cut with Sprite once my shift was over (temporarily falling off the healthy wagon to celebrate the new year). That, in addition to a box of dark and white chocolate and I was planning to spend New Years Eve alone. My company being Netflix's Big Mouth, a show that always makes me wonder what drugs the creators were on exactly, and makes me laugh nevertheless.
Yes. I planned on ringing in the new year low key and alone here in Kuala Lumpur.
I didn't have the energy to go out and meet new people at a large new years party. I don't even have a fancy dress to wear because I only had one suitcase to bring with me from Winnipeg.
All I had tonight was a desire to lie on the couch and enjoy the show.
That didn't go according to plan.
It all started at roughly 10:30PM. I had already finished the box of chocolates when one of my friends from Winnipeg asked if I could do a video chat with him over Facebook Messenger. It was only morning in Winnipeg, so he was drinking coffee while I took several sips of my beverage, and he talked to me about his filmmaking plans for the new year. There was talk of collaboration. There was something absolutely energising about that conversation.
Next, I talked to my mom. She had asked for a video chat after I finished my shift, but I had been putting it off. I knew she was going to ask me how I was doing, and I didn't have a solid "I feel amazing" answer due to the headache I've been sporting these last few weeks. But, somehow, having completed one conversation, made me feel ready for another. So I phoned her and we talked. And talked. And talked. Or rather, I talked and talked and talked. Maybe it was the crapload of ibuprofen I took, maybe it was the moscato, maybe it was just the fact I was relieved to have a conversation with someone, but my head didn't hurt, and I was able to look at her face for the entire conversation. It went well. Even though I couldn't tell her I was amazing, we were able to tell each other, "I love you." And that was enough.
By the time I was finished talking with my mom, I felt good. And I also had an intense craving for tortellini in red sauce.
So I decided to go out, undecided whether I would find a late night restaurant nearby, or ultimately end up ordering food in. Either way, I knew I had to put on my best outfit because it was New Years Eve. Naturally, I put on my Buffy the Vampire Slayer t-shirt I usually sleep in. Paired with my patterned black and white pants, I think I was fashion dynamite (at least among nerd circles who love Buffy and will slay anyone who talks trash about that show).
Ready to see the outside world, I went in the elevator. I shared the ride down with a young man who told me he was going to meet his friend in the lobby. I think the conversation might have gone somewhere further, but I was on a mission for tortellini that no gentleman could get in the way of. So I wished him "Happy New Year" and left the lobby.
I walked through Plaza Damas, the plaza around my apartment, noticing it was dead with one or two people here or there. Suddenly, I was disappointed with the lack of people around me. Suddenly, I wondered if anything would happen come midnight, and I would stumble back to my apartment empty-handed?
Luckily, the night didn't disappoint.
I didn't need to look at my phone to know when it was officially 2020. The boom of fireworks combined with the cheering of nearby parties was alarm enough. Painted across the buildings was reflections from fireworks in the distance, bright red, yellow, and orange.
I walked around the plaza, enjoying the ambience, not really sure where I was going.
There was a restaurant nearby where some employees were opening beers and cheering the new year. From another restaurant, a couple young men ran down the street, in the same direction I was heading.
When I reached the end of the street, that's when I finally saw the fireworks.
They were regular fireworks. But I had found them. They announced a new year. I took a picture of them, debating whether I should pull out my selfie stick and put myself in the picture as well. But I decided instead to stand there, watching them, thinking about what 2020 would bring.
At around 12:07AM, the fireworks died down, and I walked back down the street. I walked by the same restaurant from before where the employees were sitting down with their drinks now, talking amongst themselves, looking like grand friends.
I walked by two people who were sitting on tables outside of Starbucks. We shared a "Happy New Year", and as I passed them, I noticed one was a regular barista. I wondered if he recognised me, or was just sharing the well wishes for the new year.
On my way home, I was giving up on the hope of ever getting that tortellini. That's when I passed a Family Mart, one of the many 24 Hour convenience stores in the neighbourhood, and noticed they had a sign for specifically spaghetti (basically poor man's tortellini).
Suddenly, nothing sounded more delicious than finishing the evening the same was I had started it. In my apartment, watching Big Mouth, drinking some more moscato, but swapping the chocolates out for some convenience store spaghetti.
But, as I entered my apartment, I noticed a flood of messages on my phone. Some of them were "Happy New Years" wishes from friends and coworkers who were scattered around the world. Most of the messages were from Instagram or Facebook, telling me the latest article from Red Lips Productions was gaining traction. Another was from Sarasvati Productions, sharing that they had tagged me in a video of their Cabaret of Monologues readings.
Others were from writing friends sharing what they were working on, links to their work, and plans for the new year.
It was glorious to go through the messages as my spaghetti heated up in the microwave, and I set myself up to start 2020 writing this very article.
No, I didn't ring in the new year at a party. My fanciest outfit was a shirt for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was in a foreign country where I barely knew anyone. I was eating convenience store spaghetti (will update everyone if I got food poisoning from it or not).
But one very important thing didn't go according to my original plan.
I wasn't alone.
And that was one significant detail that made all the difference. Because, even as I spent my first hour of 2020 as the only person in my apartment, I took immense comfort knowing that no matter where I was in the world . . .
I never had to be alone.
And that realisation alone made this the best new years eve to date.
I'm not alone.