Happy New Year!!!

New Years Eve day wasn't as eventful because we were saving our energy to party:). We drove back from Donegal to Belfast...
Yes, so amazingly beautiful!!!
Then we had a rest before New Year's Eve...if you know Nick and me, you know that we are NOT into staying up late!!!  Seriously.  So we had to prepare for midnight:(

Our friends Tim Brown and Danielle Kwan picked us up (his car was a luxury sized hobbit car, compared to the normal wee size)...we haven't seen Danielle since 2010 and Tim since 2011!!!  
We went to this church, Green Pastures in Ballymena, for their New Year's Eve service and party.  I have never been to a church to bring in the new year!  This is a normal thing here, though, and the sermons are called a "Watch" sermon.  The pastor focused on how we each have different gifts and abilities that are our own and that no one can be us other than ourselves.  So that means that we are born with a purpose that only we can do because God equips us to do what he calls us to do!  I really enjoyed it.

We let out for a break and ended up running into another friend, Cambell, who we haven't seen since 2010!!!  It's always a small world after all:). 

There was a man playing the bagpipes, fake snow and fireworks outside right before midnight...the church really planned this night out well:)

The countdown was right after and then the real party began.  There was supposed to be a Ceili (they have Ceili's the same way we have line dancing in the south), but it turned more into a Ceili game.  So, they would play music while you walked around the circle holding your partners hand.  Then they would tell you when you say goodbye to your partner and you would join hands with the inside circle or outside circle, depending on where you were standing.  The your circles run in opposite directions until the music stops. Once the music stops, you make a mad dash to your partner and the girl sits on the boys knee as he kneels.  Nick and I did it a couple times and then Danielle and me...I wore the "daddy pants" when I partnered with Danielle so I had to kneel while she sat on my knee:)

After that they pulled out musical chairs and told all of the guys to come to play...Nick have me "the look" and I
Knew he was done with all of the fun and games!!!  Tim brought us home around 2am I think...you should all give us a round of applause...we normally don't even stay awake for midnight!!!

We slept until 11am on New Years Day and then Tim picked us back up!  We went to a place called Cutters Wharf.  I had Beer Battered Portavorgie Scampi...

Then I had a Fresh Plum and Cardamom Eton Mess for dessert.

Oh my gosh...the food here will be the end of me...yum!  And the coffee.  Americans add so much cream, flavors and sugar, but everytime we are in Europe, we drink black coffee and it is amazing (and I don't like black coffee).  If our coffee was better quality in the USA maybe we would drink it black:). Maybe? Well, I do like those flavors.  And cream.  Yum.  

Our lunch really felt like a vacation.  We came in around 1pm and didn't leave until around 4pm.  We ate slowly and enjoyed each other's company.  The waiters didn't rush us.  I really have never celebrating New Year's Day (only Eve).  Everyone kept reminding each other that it was a public holiday and it really felt like we were celebrating!  Tim had invited two of his other friends, Andy and Caroline, so we enjoyed getting to know them:)

After dinner, we went to the Ulster Museum and Nick found his dream dog:)

Scary!  Anyway...it is 7pm on New Year's Day and we hit a wall around 1pm today. So, we are back at Michaela's house and going to crash on the couch for the rest of the night!  

Stay tuned...Tim is picking us up in the morning for a day trip up north!!!

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