We did it. We spent our first New Year’s Eve in the US!
In Brazil, and Rio especially, New Year’s is a big deal. The other day, Gustavo pointed out that in the US, Christmas comes first and New Year’s is a bit of an afterthought. In Brazil, it’s the opposite. Christmas celebrations are usually pretty small and simple, but everyone goes all out to ring in the new year.
I, of course, typically hate New Year’s Eve because I generally don’t like big parties and get claustrophobic in crowds. Being able to tolerate large numbers of drunk people is pretty much a prerequisite for any celebration in Rio. Last year, we just stayed home and managed to attract a few friends who were happy for the excuse to avoid more big crowds and overpriced events. It was pretty nice.
This year, we decided to go a different route. Most of my friends in the US these days have young ones, so late night partying isn’t a big thing. Plus, I think I self-selected for a lot of fellow introverts who prefer to spend the night in, so Gustavo and I decided to make some plans on our own. Since I had some days off as well, we decided to use the time to go visit somewhere else in NJ where he’d never been: Asbury Park.
I love Asbury Park. I’ve watched how it’s changed over the past fifteen years – both the good and the bad – and really appreciate its uniqueness on the Jersey Shore. It really isn’t like any other beach town. Possibly more akin to the perception of Venice Beach in California, except with an attitude and fewer hippies. Also, Venice was really expensive the last time I went there and, once again, too damn crowded.
We booked the last room (at least, according to Trivago) at the Empress Hotel since I’ve always wanted to stay there. We also grabbed tickets for the Stone Pony’s NYE celebration which included a bunch of 90’s cover bands. (My favorite was the Wu-Tang cover. Mostly because Wu-Tang is just one of my favorite things from the 90’s, but they did a great job, too.)
After spending about three hours there, I looked at Gustavo and yawned. He knows my look. “Do you want to just go back to the hotel and watch the ball drop?” (The fact that he said yes shows that we definitely chose our partners well.) So at midnight, we rung in the new year eating peanut M&Ms and with a kiss before promptly falling asleep.
Hopefully, 2019 is the year where the US becomes our default home and Brazil is just for family visits and fun ❤️