Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Reflections and the Nine Nines

Mongolian New Years Eve
Happy New Years from Mongolia!
(This was taken about 20 min ago from my apartment window.)
At the time of writing, there's only about an hour and a half left of 2010. Then again, we'll be celebrating a whole 13 hours before the Eastern time zone. We had pizza this evening, and because of all the festivities that were happening this week, we decided to call it after a movie. Needless to say, it was less exciting than last year, ha!

I look back at this year, and it has gone SO fast. It was also one of the better ones... the first half of the year I had a well paying job (that I was awesome at!), was taking photography classes, etc. The second half has been such a learning experience being here, and I'm grateful for every moment. I'm amazed at even though I feel like I'm not making much of an impact at the moment- I actually am. I was thanked today during a nursing meeting for coming to Mongolia and teaching them. Huh. And this week when Nate and I had a meeting about a grant we wanted to write, one of his coworkers thanked us for thinking of them and having them help us write it. Of course! We can't do it alone. After the new year, we're really going to kick it into high gear with the grant stuff.
Fireworks RIGHT OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT! ... on Christmas Eve!

So there's only really two "resolutions" I have (even though I said previously that I wasn't gonna have any):
-Take more photographs!
-Get crap done.

That's pretty much it.

There's something else neat that I wanted to share. The winter in Mongolia is broken up into 81 days, counting nine sets of nine days each. It starts on the solstice (December 21st) and lasts until mid-March:

The First Nine: Milk vodka congeals/freezes
The Second Nine: Vodka congeals/freezes
The Third Nine: The tail of the three-year-old ox freezes (owch)
The Fourth Nine: The horns of the four-year-old ox freezes (double owch)
The Fifth Nine: Boiled rice no longer congeals/freezes (it's getting warmer now!)
The Sixth Nine: Roads blacken (roads...? what are these things you call roads?)
The Seventh Nine: Hilltops appear
The Eighth Nine: The ground becomes damp
The Ninth Nine: Warm days set in (hah, right)

Currently, we're in the second nine. Not sure if it's true, but all I know is that is freaking cold (-25F at the moment, that's why I'm NOT going to the square to see the fireworks. I can see it plenty from my warm apartment). :) I will never complain about the weather again.

Half an hour left of 2010! Sarah pointed out that 2010 was the shortest year of our lives- since we're 13 hours ahead of home. :)

Bonus picture! I took yesterday for a Mercy Corps new year card... that's my friend Nema on the right:
Happy New Year!
(The things in the tree are money- it's supposed to be good luck to stick money in Christmas trees, and collect it after the new year.)

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