If you read don’t already read Anna‘s blog and have any interest in worldwide Christmas traditions, I’d suggest you check out her great recent posts on Russian holiday celebrations. I’ve been following them with fascination because it gave me a glimpse into many of the origins of Mongolian Шинэ Жил (shine jil, literally new year) traditions. When I told her that Mongolians had lifted many of the holiday trappings directly from the Soviets, she said she’d like to hear about them. I will write a post on the subject, but it’s going to have to wait until Russian Christmas or so, since my own New Year’s plans have gotten in the way.
Around noon yesterday, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop and considering my NYE prospects. As I grew up in the WASP-y (well, mostly Jewish, so WASJ-y?) upper middle class sort of suburb that offers twenty-somethings neither opportunities to socialize nor affordable housing, most of my high school friends have vacated the premises. Most of those who do reside either in the surrounding suburbs or down in the city itself all have significant others, and I was less than thrilled at the prospect of being the only one at the party with no one to kiss when the ball drops at midnight. I have dance friends in Chicago, but most of them are in South Carolina for Lindy Focus, a dance extravaganza I lack the income to attend.
So, completely on a whim, I decided to join the college friends convening near Akron, Ohio for the holiday. I hoped on the internet, bought myself a bus ticket, and called the appropriate friends to arrange pickups. Less than 24 hours later, I was on the train, and an hour after that, I was on the bus.
I do regret missing my brother’s last day before he returns to his post in Okinawa, but let’s face it – there are other people with whom he’d rather spend this holiday.
It’s an eight-hour bus ride, but the roads are paved and the bus has a bathroom and electrical outlets and even wifi. Public transit in the US has got nothing on Europe, I know, but it’s a far sight nicer than Mongolia. I’m visiting a city 400 miles away, hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in a year and a half, for half the cost of gas. Sounds like a good deal to me!
But I didn’t bring my computer and don’t much fancy trying to format posts with pictures from my phone, so the Шинэ Жил post shall be postponed.