For all of you who know more about the content of cocktails and the rules of Kings Cup than you know about Scottish culture, let me illustrate the word ‘Hogmanay’ to you.
Hogmanay is a specific day of the year, it’s noted in every Westerner’s diary and arrives with a familiar shadow of anticipation. What if I get plastered and end up forgetting the entire night like last year?
My friends and I have grown up a lot over the past few years and this time we decided to do things right. No more crying on bathroom floors at random house parties or throwing up in bus stations or making out with your friend’s high school crush. Or missing the fireworks at Edinburgh’s street party because you are too drunk to open the portaloo door. Or going into Dundee city centre for the countdown and realising that you are the only ones there and still continuing to shout “eight, seven, six…”
Yes, we have had some interesting New Years but never again will we screw it up with drunken teenage antics. We are in our twenties now, and decided that this year was going to be a good one to remember.
Awesome evenings begin with awesome plans. This plan we owe all to Vicky and her girlfriend Sophie R. A plan they so wittingly called HogmaGAY.
HogmaGAY was pretty straight forward (no pun intended). Dinner, drinks, dress up, champagne, exchange of remaining Secret Santa presents, countdown on the TV, fireworks outside then onward to Cheers, the local gay bar.
Our evening was set for somewhere new: Aberdeen. For all who don’t know, Aberdeen is a prosperous city (something to do with oil rigs and ships) in the North East of Scotland. This city is more North than Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh or my lovely home town of Brechin. And because of this, it is significantly colder in comparison. Mainly due to the sea lapping the edges of the city centre.
Eilidh arrived at mine in the early afternoon and left her car in my driveway. Lauren had stayed the night on the 30th and we were all prepared with duvets and pillows stuffed into my tiny red Citroen. Unfortunately, our best friend Sophie T was spending New Year with her family in Edinburgh and could not join us. Besides Sophie, there was one thing missing before our adventure was to commence; our drinks.
At the local Tescos we perused the alcohol aisle. Yes I have been legally drinking for two years but I still feel the eyes of the cashiers on my back as I pick and choose my drinks. Paranoia sweeps through: THEY ALL THINK I’M UNDERAGE AND ARE JUDGING ME AND CANNOT WAIT TO ASK FOR MY I.D.
In this fit of fear I do what any normal human would do to avoid unwanted attention; I drop a bottle of Kopparberg Mixed Fruits onto the shop floor. It smashes, of course. The floor is red with sweet cider and my cheeks are the same colour with embarrassment. Surprisingly they do not charge me for the accident and thank me for not dropping something with a strong smell such as wine. It’s possible that the cashiers were being nice because I used to go to school with them. That’s the beauty of small towns.
Back in the car and we drive to Aberdeen, catching up on the past few months and discussing everything we can cram in to an hour and a half. We meet Sophie R and Vicky near her flat and carry all our belongings upstairs. The evening goes just as planned. We have a delicious dinner with Prosecco and inside jokes aplenty. The sophisticated drinking continues back at Vicky’s home and we get dressed up and dance and laugh and talk about our lives. We cheer at fireworks outside the window and party with people at Cheers.
As the evening comes to an end, we all say things we are grateful for. We reminisce out loud about all the wonderful things that have happened this year and what we wish for the year to come. The countdown replays in my mind and I look around and know that I feel at home whenever I am with the ones I love. Location is irrelevant. Love is not.