Before I can share my countdown experience, I feel I need to elaborate on how I ended up doing what I did.

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I took a leap of faith and decided to come to France earlier before the start of my school to celebrate New Year’s countdown differently. Up until 2 weeks before my departure, there really wasn’t a plan. I asked around but to no avail. I knew no one in that city. I was going to have to figure it out on my own, on my virgin trip to Europe, alone.

I was really fortunate to be offered a place from a kind friend who lives and works in Paris. He not only warned me of the location of my then-confirmed accommodation, but offered to take me in for the 5 days I’ll be spending in Paris. He picked me up in the wee hours of the morning of new year’s eve, brought me around Paris on foot, prepared meals for me and gave me a bed to sleep in. I am a lucky girl on so many levels to have met him.

On this eve of New Year, he invited a bunch of his friends over, potluck style.

They brought a feast! There was champagne, wine, smoked salmon, mini lobster, cheese, oysters (they celebrate new year with oysters), foie gras and eclairs. It was such a spread. I never would have the chance to taste all this if I were living on my own/ with other Singaporeans on this trip to Paris, even on New Year’s Day.

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And that was how I ended up celebrating New Year’s countdown with a bunch of local, loud, crazy French.

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I stayed up til 3 am, which was exactly 24 hours since I woke up from my slumber onboard the flight (well I had the whole row of seats to myself… Know why?). I have to salute myself for surviving the jet lag and not suffering from any jet lag on the subsequent days.

Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.

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