Monday, December 28, 2009

I am a nerd part 2

Christmas Eve

I spent the majority of the day trying to find a sugar cookie recipe. I did not bring mine and Steph had lent her cookbook out and the internet was down. I was eventually able to call Ashlee in BayanOlgi and she read the recipe off to me. And so I began making cookie dough. I watched Miracle on 34th Street, the 1990s John Hughes version and Home Alone. (Interestingly enough, also from the 90s and John Hughes…and now he’s dead) Once the dough was made and Steph was home from work, it was time to go to Modern Nomads, a restaurant in Darkhan that was western food choices.

Five M19s came (Garrett, Matt, Christiana, Katie, and Tyson) and five of us M20s were there (Claire, Meridith, Steph, Ryan, And I). M19s came to Mongolia in May 2008 and are the group I was originally supposed to be a part of. I really like meeting them, because most of them remember that I was originally one of them and it makes me fell famous. Hahaha I ordered a Chicken Club Sandwich, a cocktail, and a Mocha Cake for dessert. It was fabulous. Afterwards, most of us headed over to Christiana’s apartment for fun and games. We played charades and other group games and had a lot of fun. Steph and I did not make it back to her apartment until around 4.


The next morning I was up early and ready to start baking cookies. It didn’t really feel like Christmas, so I thought I would watch It’s A Wonderful Life, my favorite movie of all time, while I got to baking. Thank you so much, btdubs, to Ryan and Steph, for letting me use their computer. My power cord is experiencing some technical difficulties, but I am hoping my sitemate Patrick is able to bring one back from America and be my hero. Steph and Ryan’s oven was a little interesting working with. On the temperature knob there are only 2 numbers, 50 and 250. So I just had to put it somewhere in the middle and home for the best. I only burned about 10 cookies, so I am pretty proud. After It’s A Wonderful Life (and some tears) I put in Love Actually. I did not have any cookie cutters so I made several round cookies and tried to make some shapes just with a knife. I made candles, Merry Christmas wreaths, trees, stockings, a gingerbread man, stars, and moons that all turned out fairly well. Cookies that did not work out were the sleigh, (which I ended up turning upside down and decorated like a phone) baby Jesus, once candle, (looked like the male genital organ) the fish, (just a blob) and another gingerbread man (more of a sumo wrester, which is actually kinda fitting, considering where we are). Since I didn’t have any food coloring, the icing only came in white and chocolate. I think the decorating went a lot faster with just two color choices, although, I did finish Love Actually and switched to Elf. There was not enough room in the kitchen to lay all the cookies out to let the frosting harden, so most of the round cookies I made, I turned into sandwiches with the icing in the middle. By this time Carolina had arrived and her and Steph needed to start making their food for the party in a couple hours. Carolina made mashed potatoes and Steph made little pizza calzones. I helped a little. Steph is really good at folding the calzones, me, not so much. I heard Phoebe meowing in the living room, so I went to see what her deal was and ended up laying down on the couch next to her to just have a little Christmas snuggle, and totally fell asleep. Luckily, I had already taken a shower and was almost ready to go, since I only woke up about 10 minutes before we needed to leave for Christiana’s.

Christmas at Christiana’s was tons of fun. The Darkhan girls had planned a secret santa exchange, so everyone had a gift, and Levi even turned up in a santa suit he had found at the black market. There was tons of food and drinks and games and presents. All in all, it was a great time. One of our favorite games had everyone write down three people’s names on slips of paper. They had to people everyone should know (famous people mostly, though some Peace Corps staff and a few fictional characters). There are two teams and the first round people from each team try to get their teammates to say the name on the paper they pulled out using any means without actually saying the name. Each person gets through as many as they can in 45 seconds, then the next person goes. Once all the names have been guessed, all the names go back in and round 2 begins. This time, you can only use actions to get your teammates to guess the name, but as they have all heard the name at least once, it is a little easier. Round three you can only say on word. This game is very funny. Pamela Anderson went from a several sentenced description to miming running with big boobs to just the word “boobs!” My stomach hurt from laughing so much.

The next day I slept in a little bit, said hi to Ryan’s family on skype, called my parents briefly, and took another amazing shower. We ordered pizza, which was delivered, (seriously, Darkhan is like another country!) and borrowed a projector and made a screen on the wall using 4 pieces of pasteboard. At about 4 we started watching Twilight and then at about 6 we watched New Moon. Then, since I am a nerd and have read the books, I gave a brief summery of what happens in the next two books to those interested (um…everybody, especially Tyson).


Sunday, I woke up at 8 packed everything up, said goodbye and thank you, and headed to the bus station. I found a meeker and we left with only 16 people, so I was doing pretty well. En route, I managed to convince my friend Aleta (M20) to come to Arvaikheer with me. She was taking the week off, but didn’t have any definite plans as to where to go. Unfortunately the bus to Arvaikheer had only one seat available, but she did manage to convince the driver to let her sit in the aisle, while I wedged myself in the last row next to the window. There ended up being about 5 people sitting in the aisle, so the bus was definitely slow. The people sitting around me were all drinking vodka and getting pretty rowdy. A little over half way we stopped for food. I brought my cat in her bag into the little guanz (cafĂ©) and set her on the floor between my feet. One of the women that had been sitting near me on the bus evidently thought I was putting meat on the floor, when I was actually putting it in Phoebe’s dish in her bag. The woman got very agitated and aggressive, even after someone explained to her I was feeding my cat. The women eventually sat down and continued to yell, but I wasn’t fussed. I have two younger sisters and can therefore ignore people for days. (No offense, girls, I love you to pieces!) Eventually we made it to Arvaikheer and to my ger with all our finger and toes and very sore butts and went to sleep. What a day!

I love you all! Take care and happy holidays! love, C


kate said...

HaHaHa! I get to be the first comment! I just love your descriptions. Ask your little sisters about their cookie-making experience this year! It was also unique. I missed most of it, as I went to Food Not Bombs wit yo mama. The weather had (finally) broken, so we had some sunshine, no wind, and some balmy temperature like 27 above. A great relief, after the crazy, epic storm of Christmas '09.
John the Jazz Fan bought me a subwoofer for Christmas! Holy Moly. Pretty extravagant. I hooked it up to my stereo, and now I THUMP.
I must away, get things done. I have all week off (paid holiday! Hurrah for academia!)so I want to make the most of it, and get the carpet project complete.
Thanks for the call last night, I love you so!

Deirdre said...

Madeline was driven 'round the bend by her grandmother wanting to just frost each cookie one color. So Madeline would frost behind Grandma and *decorate* the cookie.

You are a writer of wonder. Is Patrick going to make the power cord happen. I IM'ed with him about it, but we did not finalize anything.

I think having a Christmas cookie shaped like a phone is the best. To remind people to call people they love, no?

So what are you and Aleta doing while she is there? Does she live in a ger, or is this all new a groovy to her?

Sorry we missed you last night. We took Grandma to the Young At Heart Movie last night. She watched it with ear plugs in. Michael Goodroad was there, he says howdy. I might see if I can find his e-mail address at work and e-mail him your blog. His Mom had a party in East Dakota because she just turned 95. Your Grandpa was there, too.

We went out to Kim and Don's and played hide and seek in the house. Good Times!

Peace out!

love, d

Deirdre said...

Try that.

Anonymous said...

it's fun to read your blog. just found it over when i looked for somebody in mongolia!
i couldn't find out what you're doing there, but maybe i will someday. :)
take care, anja