Over the (Ski) Hill

Well, I seem to move slower now that I’m 30, as witnessed by it being two weeks since Chris’s birthday and a week after mine. Alas, we both made it through unscathed, surrounded by friends and with a feeling of overall merriment.

Chris’s birthday began with homemade Reuben sandwiches. They are quite a feat in Mongolia, as despite the plethora of cabbage, there seems to be no sauerkraut. What’s a girl to do? Email the Irish Aunt who works at a Polish school of course, and – ta-da – up pops a cabbage crop in my inbox! So yes, then began the sourcing of the ingredients: pastrami (from the German shop – close enough to corned beef when in a pinch), cabbage (everywhere), cheese (one market halfway across town), rye bread (what?! Don’t kid yourself. Any bread is fine), Thousand Island dressing (again, don’t kid yourself. Hello, ketchup and mayo). Prepare the stove top sauerkraut that I hear is the talk of the Polish town, toast some not-rye bread, toss it all together, and happy 30th birthday Reuben it is. They were great if I do say so myself.

Then off to work we went for a half-day before the continuation of our celebration at the Sky Resort, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Never heard of it? That’s odd, because it is just the place to be. It is Mongolia’s one and only SKI RESORT! Really. We went skiing in Mongolia. It was a tiny little spot with about 6 trails, but it was incredible. Mongolians ski like they drive, which is to say with no fear. I also realized that we don’t often see adult Mongolians playing (aside from playing with vodka), and they aren’t the smiliest of people by nature, so to see a ski hill full of smiling, playful Mongolians was a real treat. Many of them had these looks of complete awe on their faces, disbelief at what they were doing. It was great and made for a wonderful afternoon. It also made for a COLD afternoon as the temperature dropped about fifteen degrees in an hour. Brr.

Oh and did I mention that I skied in jeans? Ahh ha ha ha ha. There were also Mongolian flags atop each chairlift tower which was kind of cool (just in case we needed a reminder that the Sky Resort was not Vail).

Anyways, following skiing it was back home for birthday spaghetti with friends, some carrot cake, and then over to a friend’s house for Thursday night poker. We lost at poker, but the cake was delicious.

As for my birthday, it began with a birthday parade (Chris’s family’s tradition) where I was showered with presents and cards. One of those presents happened to be a pig egg mold, so I imagine you all can deduce what I ate for breakfast.

Duh.

Then off to work I went for another day of the office that turned into me wandering all over UB in search of a new power cord for my computer (I found one and it hasn’t exploded my computer – yet – so hopefully we’re okay in that department), then off to a meeting, then to VSO, and then before I knew it, it was time for wine at home and a delicious dinner at my favorite Indian restaurant with friends.

Mmm…Naan.

Oh and Chris got me a cake!

All in all it made for a delicious, wonderful birthday celebration. And now we’re both thirty. If nothing more, we surely will never forget where we were when we turned thirty.

Speaking of forgetting, it was really upsetting to us how many people forgot our birthdays. Bah ha ha, just kidding! Thanks to some craftiness from the Moms, we received over 50 birthday cards! Really. Cards, packages, everything…it was so wonderful; I really have never seen such a collection of cards. Here’s a glimpse:

And here’s a heartfelt thanks to:

Dale and Margaret
Kitty and Jay
Tiffany, Jeff and the Parker kids
Marianne Neifert
Kathy and Bob, Bob and Sharon, Dick and Ginnie (salmon?! you spoil us so)
Angela and Marc Rud
Jody (Momma Aardal)
Rosalind and Ron
Scooter and Linds
Pat and MaryAnn Ryan
Anne and Tim Mahoney (Matt and Pete too)
Bob and Rosey K
Topher and Susan
Aunt JoAnn Thomas
Big Kevin and Mary Sue
The Coyle Family
Schaefer Financial Management (our corporate sponsor)
Carolyn and Danny
Tracerooni
Momma and Poppa Kilpatrick
Beth and Matt Forbes
Ginger K (we made it to 60!)
Wonderful Mimi
Doug and Ellen
Janie and David
Jill Rosen
Robin, Joel, Cash and Emme
Caitlin Mary
Auntie Colanti and the gang
Pat Riley
Bea Magee
Dayle Cedars (sweet photo)
Mary and Dwight
Becky, Mark, Joey and Mason
Trisha K
Tsermaa Bagsh (our Mongolian teacher)
Becky D
Annie K

And that’s that. Now it’s Saturday morning, and we’re off to the orphanage in a bit for another visit. Then on Monday we leave for an Ice Festival at Lake Khuvsgal. It’s northwest of UB, not far from the Russian border, and getting there will entail somewhere around 20 hours in a Russian van that will surely break down or fall apart at least once along the way. It will be my first trip to the real countryside, and I have to admit I’m quite excited about it. Surely we’ll have stories to share when we get back in MARCH (time goes quickly in this funny place we call home).

For now, off I go. Here’s hoping that everyone is doing well at home. I make my reentry to the United States in exactly five weeks from yesterday, which also means that my brother and his wife will have a kid in just about that much time (as a good little sister, I do my best to remind him of that as much as possible). In the meantime, there are orphans to play with and Ice Festivals to attend, so away I go.

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