Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thinking about Holidays

Dad & Zorig on New Year's Day
 (Post started last weekend....finished today.) It's Easter here in the US and I'm enjoying a quiet day at home. The sun is shining bright and I expect I'll get outside for a walk at some point. But for now I am sipping coffee and thinking about how my life is going to change in regards to Holidays. There are the national holidays as well as the Christian ones which make it onto calendars, albeit with a politically correct title nowadays (i.e. Winter Break, not Christmas break). I'll be trading in most familiar holidays for entirely new ones. 

Mongolia is predominately a Buddhist country with 80% of the population identifying themselves as so. The remainder is made up of 5% Christian, 5% Islamic, and the final 10% don't affiliate themselves with a particular religion. From what I know so far, the family I'm joining puts itself in that final category. 

As mentioned in a previous post, Mongolia has two major holidays--Tsagaan Sar is the Lunar New Year (changes year to year based on the moon cycle), and Naadam is a sporting festival, celebrating the three manly sports (wrestling, horse racing, and archery) held in July each year. Additionally, they celebrate the New Year (Jan 1), International Women's Day on March 8, Mother and Children's day on June 1, and Independence Day on November 26th. 
Me and Dad on New Years Eve in MI

But beginning this year with my July 2nd arrival into UB, I will no longer be actively celebrating my two favorite holidays: the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. I wonder if the fellow Americans that I'll be working with at ASU celebrate Thanksgiving together amongst themselves? Or not. Is part of moving to a new country assimilating into their cycle of holidays and leaving one's own behind? Or should one be sure to hold tight to some holidays from their home to maintain their own sense of self and/or connection to where they come from? I really don't know. This is uncharted territory. I've no doubt I'll figure it out--and I have talked with Zorig about my desire to celebrate Christmas--at least with him and Enji. 

And really, as Easter came and went last weekend, I realized that it's not so much about the holiday, but rather about getting together with family and/or friends. Sharing a meal together. Visiting and catching up on one another's lives. Perhaps playing games or sports. Having some fun together. But here in Colorado, I am alone with no family member within driving distance. I found myself a melancholy last Sunday to be so far from everyone. 
With Mary & Dad before returning to CO

On July 4th of this year I'm excited to say that Dad and me and Zorig will be departing UB for Murun in the north of Mongolia where we will take off on a one week fishing adventure on the Shisgid river. Though not America's Independence Day, it will be exciting to be in the open land of Mongolia with my Love and my Father--in search of that illusive taimen which dad is DETERMINED to catch! Then we'll attend Naadam together--Dad and I's first time--and yet another opportunity to make some great memories. 

Next holiday?.....Zorig and I will celebrate the one year anniversary of our first meeting--on July 30th. :) I'm excited about this personal holiday. 

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