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the year without a santa...

the Mongolian Christmas edition of quirks and joys:

1. We went to the black market on Monday looking for some vegetables and a kitten. There were plenty of puppies but we knew we couldn't get one because they get too big. So I decided to tell the man standing next to us, trying to give me his business card about pets, that we wanted a cat. He started making a small motion with his hands. And finally he said "mini cat." I was like, "Yes!! a mini cat!" He asked us if we wanted a man or woman mini cat, got our number, made a phone call, then he said our cat would be there in 2 hours.

Not even 10 minutes after we left, I got a phone call saying, "Your mini cat has arrived." So, we turned around and got ripped off, I'm sure. We payed 13,000 tugrugs for him, that's around 10 dollars. The guy pronounced to everyone around "arron-goro" (13) as if to tell the world how much he got from us. It was hilarious.

We named him, Dobby, after the house elf in Harry Potter. He is nuts, like all "mini-cats" and we really enjoy his energy. He is already spoiled and sleeps right in the middle of us in the bed we share :)

2. I view walking outside for any amount of time as free botox. I can't feel my face while I'm outside or for a period of time after I come inside.

3. As I've mentioned before, I heard that the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales meet at -30 degrees. The scales have been kissing each other quite frequently as of late. And they say, it's only going to get colder.

4. I drink tea like a Mongolian now. I can't keep the tea bag in my mug for too long because there is like a flavor explosion if I do. My tastes buds might be dying. I can now get 3 cups of tea from one bag of tea.

5. I ate horse meat for the first time recently. We have heard that horse is their winter meat. The best (and scariest) thing about eating horse meat is that I didn't hate it.

6. While teaching my English class about and, but, or and food items. I learned that many Mongolians " like horse meat, but do not like chicken." That seems impossible.

7. Christmas in Mongolia is an oxymoron. They call the Christmas tree a New Year tree. They have NO idea who Santa is and they really don't know what exchanging gifts is about. It is so weird because they do have some Christmas trees up but it's just like a big "Sike!!"

It is so difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that I live in a place that has never heard about Santa and even harder to comprehend that some people have never even heard the name Jesus.

As hard as it is to be here during the Christmas season, it is really beautiful to get to share with them and teach them about a season I love. The moment when I can help someone understand Christmas and all of it's incredible meaning is a life-changing moment for me.

I pray that your Christmas is filled. Please spend time with your family for me and enjoy every beautiful part of this season.

Joy to the world.


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An ode to my wiser self

I've been thinking about blogging a lot lately. Well, writing, rather. I used to write a lot. It was therapeutic and life giving for me. It helped me to be in a constant state of process where I was not just taking in life but searching for and digging for meaning. It kept me grounded and real, for lack of better word.

I have been starting to write more lately and have several little bits I'm working on. In the process of digging out my blog from the depths of the internet, I found this jewel that I wrote years ago. Yes, that's right... years ago. I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing. So, in an attempt to revive this way of sharing my thoughts and processing...

Here is an ode to my younger (and probably wiser) self:

Welcome to The Chronicles of a Confused Citizen.

Here I am, residing in the country I was born in, living the life I knew from my birth to year 22.

It doesn't quite feel right, though.

Recently, as I found myself living in Mongolia, I started feelin…

The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence
knowing that you are
the very emptiness of God.

I come before you
holding the water jar of my life.

Your eyes meet mine
and I know what I'd rather not know.

I came to be filled
but I am already full.

I am too full
This is my sickness

I am full of things
that crowd out
your healing presence.

A holy knowing steals inside my heart
and I see a painful truth.

I don't need more
I need less
I am too full.

I am full of things that block out
your golden grace.

I am smothered by gods of my own creation
I am lost in the forest of my false self
I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes
full of fear, resentments, control
full of self-pity, and arrogance.

Slowly this terrible truth
pierces my heart
I am so full there is no room for you.

Contemplatively, and with compassion
you ask me to reach into my water jar.

One by one, Jesus, you enable me
to lift out the things
that are a hindrance to my wholeness.

I take each one to my heart and