As the world has already started to celebrate the new around the world, the first strike of midnight of 31st December 2017 into 01st January 2018 was in fact in Samoa. Samoa is a country comprising the westernmost group of the Samoan Islands, in Polynesia. As well as the Kiribati/Christmas Island. The time zone there is UTC+14. This celebration moved towards the west as country by country, hour by hour we are all currently celebrating the New Year in our own ways and traditions.
For the purpose of readers being from around the world, we’ll use the UTC time zone on this blog post. UTC is the Coordinated Universal Time Zone.
Malta, where we’re from is on the UTC+1 time zone so it has already kicked off the new year a few hours ago, however Alan and I are currently on the East Coast of the US so we’re on UTC-5 which puts us 6 hours behind Malta.
The New Year celebrations will come at an end at UTC-12 in Baker Island and Howland Island, 26 hours after the world first celebrated this day.
The last celebration to see the new year which we both celebrated in Malta, and it was actually the only one we ever celebrated in Malta together was when we were welcoming 2015. So where did we celebrate the last 3 new year celebrations you might ask? – that’s interesting.
Well you see, in December 2015 we headed off to Japan. We’re both great Sushi lovers, and this is what fuelled us to go to Japan in the first place. We simply wanted to try out the local cuisine, which we were positively surprised to learn that it consisted of much, much more than just Sushi. Japan is UTC+9.
When we headed to Japan to welcome 2016 into our lives, little did we know that the fireworks in the port in Tokyo are only celebrated once every 2 years. It was actually a very funny story, which even at the time we just laughed at it, yet alone today. So we reserved a table at a restaurant in Tokyo for NYE for dinner. This restaurant we picked it for having an amazing view of the harbour, and we even asked for a table next to the windows when we booked.
We get there, and we get seated, and by this time it’s already past 9pm and we weren’t even the least suspicious of why the harbour was empty since we thought well it’s Japan, they do everything different, surely they’re not going to wait in this freezing cold outside from hours before midnight. We ate, the bill came, and were told that since it’s new year they’re closing earlier than usual and they closed at 10:30pm. So at 10:30pm we were out onto the boardwalk in the freezing cold (thankfully we were dressed for it) with nothing to do so we took a walk along the sea, stopped a bit near the Statue of Liberty (yes, just like New York), and decided to head to Starbucks which was close-by as we were freezing by then. We were also getting a bit concerned because there weren’t any people around, at all.
We got into Starbucks, and we couldn’t order a hot beverage as the barista told us that they are closing down. We grabbed the opportunity of finally meeting someone who could speak a bit of English and we asked him if we’re in the right place to see the fireworks, to which he responded “Yes you are, but you need to come next year or last year not this year”. The look on our faces must have been a sight to see at that point! :).
So with minutes left to the countdown, we hopped onto an underground train to take us back to our apartment on the other side of Tokyo. That way I welcomed 2016 on the train with a hug from Alan (I know I know, we shouldn’t have been hugging on a train in Japan!).
The next day however, it was a great experience as we collected our rental car and drove down to Kyoto and headed to one of the Temples over there. It was amazing, very traditional and packed with Japanese people because it was New Year’s Day.
2016 came and went, we got married during this year, and so planing our honeymoon for December of 2016, there was no doubt that we’re not going to make the same mistake this time round and we’re going to make sure we know where we’re going to welcome the new year as 2017 approached. We decided to head over to the West coast of the US – time zone there is UTC-8.
We had a month long trip. Started off in LA, San Diego, Palm Springs, Las Vegas… these were all places I’ve been to before, so what I was looking forward to the most were the next stops; Reno, Napa Valley (just because I LOVE wine) and San Francisco for the NYE celebrations.
Surely enough, as we were coming towards the end of our stay in Vegas, I got sick. We did manage to make the drive up to Reno, and then Napa – but in Reno all I did was sleep, and in Napa I was taken to hospital during our first night there and that took up our remaining time in the US (and a couple extra days too) of me being in hospital, and then being confined to our motel room barely able to move until I was strong enough to fly back home.
So where were we when we welcomed 2017? Actually, it was a sign of relief as the hospital actually discharged me less than 20 minutes before midnight on NYE and with our motel being just a couple of minutes away from the hospital, I welcomed the year in Alan’s arms in bed watching the San Francisco celebrations on the TV in a motel in Napa being thankful of not being connected to the machines and not having any more needles poking me.
Which brings us to this year. Bidding farewell to 2017, and welcoming 2018 into the fold. Saturday 30th December in the afternoon, we left our recent “home” in Easton, Massachusetts and drove to Providence, Rhode Island where we spent the night at an Airbnb. Morning came and we left Rhode Island, drove through Connecticut and into New York where we’re currently spending the afternoon/evening here in New York City. However we don’t plan on sleeping here, we’ve booked a parking space in a garage till 2am of January 1st, but we already said that if we get too cold and too tired, we’ll just leave NYC and head south towards Baltimore/Washington.
If we feel ok to stay though – we’ll be staying as close to Times Square as we could get, maybe we see the ball drop, probably we don’t even if we are there. We therefore are on UTC-5.
One thing for sure thou – as we welcome 2018 and bidding farewell to 2017 I’ll be in the same place as I welcomed 2017, 2016 and 2015 – in Alan’s arms.