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everything "traditional."

Tsagaan Sar Eve.

What is that you may ask. I don't really have a good answer.

Tsagaan means white and sar means moon. So, put it together and you get white moon. This is a Mongolian "traditional" holiday of the Lunar New Year. There are two main holidays in Mongolia. One of them is Tsagaan Sar and the other is Naadam Festival. Naadam is in the summer and is an lyompic style celebration of Mongolia's free country status. There are three main sports: archery, horse racing and wrestling.

My observations about Tsagaan Sar are that it is a lot like Christmas in the United States, because:
1. They clean their houses, top to bottom.
2. They buy presents for everyone in their family.
3. They cook everything under the sun.
4. Everyone in their family comes over to visit them and they go visit everyone in their family. I think they must apparate from one place to the next. I don't know how they do it.
5. They eat for 4 days straight.

So, for the next few days we will be visiting most of the Mongolians that we know. We're going to eat a myriad of salads...fruit, potato, pasta, egg, vegetable-ish. We're going to sniff snuff. We're going to pretend to enjoy drinking fermented horse milk. We're going to eat so many byy3 (mysterious meat filled dumplings) we might explode. And...we're going to eat boiled sheep back bone.

Don't you want to come join?

As nervous as I sound, I am actually pretty excited about what this "traditional" holiday will entail. (I say traditional in " "s because Mongolians sure love to tell you when something is traditional or national) I am excited to get to go to some gers and to experience something that is not uniquely Mongolian but will be full of Mongolian flair.

I'll be sure to have a full report on everything that happened, don't you worry.

Until then...caihan shenlerei (that's my monglish (Mongolian-English) version of Happy New Year...or something along those lines!


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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