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By Begonya De Salvo

I just read in the paper that a family was hosting New Year’s Eve at their home, and they asked all guests to be fully vaccinated, boosted, and with a PCR test performed a few hours prior so they don’t contribute to the spread of COVID 19.

I loved the idea so much! I wish I had the time and strength to have organized it.

COVID has changed our lives, and I applaud people who try to be safe and happy at the same time. We have missed more than just a few parties during this long pandemic.

We are in challenging times, with over 15K new cases a day just in Los Angeles County, and we’ve been dealing with this pandemic for SO long. We are all tired, exhausted. But we need to gather, we miss each other, so, maybe, we can do just that if we play it super safe.

This year I’m home with my kids, and I am planning on cooking a nice roast, and have some turron, Martinelli, and treats. Get dressed up and have the 12 grapes while watching a New Year’s Eve special.

I am from Spain and this sort of ritual is followed by the entire country. We all welcome the New Year together watching the bells from Madrid at Puerta del sol and eating one grape for each chime of the bell while making a BIG WISH for the New Year. And if you eat all 12 grapes, and wear red underwear for love, or green for money or yellow for good luck, your wishes and desires will come true, and you’ll have good luck and good fortune the rest of the year.

This year, I will prepare 4 little bags with 12 grapes in each and will put them next to each of our plates, so that when midnight comes — in New York time! — we’ll eat one grape for each chime of the bell, and make a big wish to celebrate the New Year, and enter it with hope, warm wishes and cheer.

What is my New Year resolution? I gave up drinking alcohol almost a month ago. I just don’t find it attractive anymore, and I prefer instead to experiment with flavors and health. I used to dream of having a vineyard, and now if I decide to grow something, it will be coffee because is by far my favorite drink in the world. I just love anything coffee. Cold or hot. And my New Year resolution is to keep the healthy path. More exercise, less toxicity, and more awareness of my surroundings.

I want to be more awake and connected to continue my healing path. I want to spend more time with myself and will include activities such as going to the gym, meditate, have a spa day or whatever I may need. I pledge to not put my health and peace on the back burner anymore and find my moments of joy to be able to carry on in a healthier way.

I also pledge to be more compassionate and try to not react with animosity, but just give back unconditional love. I want to let go of all the chains and sorrows without a reaction, just freedom. This new year, I hope to keep letting go so I can keep on staying healthy and happy.

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