Happy New Year from Western Mongolia!
This whole holiday week has been a pretty fantastic one. On Christmas Day, I wrangled Other English Teacher and my Korean friend into hitting the town square and playing on all the festive holiday obstacles they’ve got going on there. These include:
1) An ice skating rink of the most ghetto variety, i.e., they threw down some lake water and gave it 5 minutes in the -20s before people started playing on it but who cares, ICE SKATING:
2) Giant ice slides SHAPED LIKE SWANS:
3) Ice animals!:
and 4) A massive ice
Gandalf Santa because reasons:
I’m not totally sure how long all of this ice amazingness will be in the square, but from what I’ve discovered about Mongolia, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed until they melted–which, seeing as how snow apparently stays on the ground until May, won’t be for a good long time.
After running around like idiots, it was off to the university New Year’s party for us English teachers. The party was in a local hotel and it was very, very sparkly.
There were entertaining student-choreographed dances:
And a whole lot of Mongol waltzing which is both awesome and, given the amount of waltzers that crowd onto the tiny dance floor, less like waltzing and more like an enthusiastic round of Viennese bumper cars.
Santa Clause (aka, one of my juniors in a beard) made a brief appearance and gave all us teachers juice for (presumably) being good this year.
At some point the Elf and I did a song on the ukulele, which we found out we were supposed to do exactly two hours before we had to do it. Surprise Mongol concerts are doing wonders for my stage fright.
Also, no one told me I was supposed to bring a prom dress and my weight in glitter, so compared with my students, I was
a tiny bit somewhat maybe a lot really really under-dressed. But, you know, whatevs.
The day after Christmas was spend baking like a fiend in preparation for my super cool and very grown-up expat Christmas party in which we sat around in a giant circle vaguely reminiscent of AA meetings and talked about whatever. Unlike AA meetings, however, we had copious amounts of liquor.
We rang in 2015 with Tracy Chapman and a vodka toast. It was a quiet end to a fabulous year and a nice beginning to what I can only assume will be a fabulous new one.
Happy Mongol Holidays, everyone!