Monday, July 15, 2013

Naadam Boloo

It feels like it was yesterday that we were saying goodbye to Elder Titensor and Elder Woodward, thinking we have the elections, and the arrival of the new mission President and then Naadam shielding us from August .  .  . and now even Naadam has passed.  What a great week it was though.  The front half was filled with English teaching and service projects.  We hauled a house full of furniture from one house to a house way out in the back of our area.  Elder Lloyd joined us providing the comedic commentary for the entire event.
The middle of the week brought our first zone leader meeting with President Benson which was great as we did the whole thing in Mongolian. One thing he definitely brings to the table is energy and how much easier is it to express love and get to know the Mongolian elders and sisters when  you can do so in their own language.  He's great and reminds me a lot of Uncle Chad .  .  . also a great guy. Go Clemson .  .  .

That evening our attempts to meet with people failed a bit with everyone preparing for Naadam anyway.  Which brings us to the biggest annual happening in Mongolia  A few of us in my MTC group played it smart and got tickets way back in February buying two tickets a piece for who ever we would be companions with during Naadam.  That worked out perfectly and we got in to see the opening ceremonies.  It was awesome for my Mongolian companion who had never experienced Naadam in the city much less gone to the stadium grounds.  The production was amazing with thousands of people participating and forming the map of Mongolia at one point.  The traditional clothing was as colorful as ever and there were some horse riders pulling off some stunts that would have had Secretariat applauding.  My companion is huge into Mongolian wrestling, so after the opening we stayed and watched for an hour which was fun because I got to pull on his knowledge and increase my own as far as the sport goes.  We were sitting pretty far off and he was naming people like they had numbers on their backs, but of course they were just wearing the blue speedo and red sleeved top).  Mongolian wrestling is great.  Much to the opposite of American/whateveryoucallthewrestling. The rules are super fall, you lose.  I know those who are avid watchers back home are already aware, but this year's champion was Epkhembayr.  It was his first time as champion and he looks to make a run from here on out.  He's a big guy....really big.
After the stadium we were off to Elder Lloyd's where we made without a doubt the greatest khuushuur of all time.  Here's the menu: Sweet and sour chicken khuushuur,  bacon cheddar BBQ chicken khuushuur and finally apple pie khuushuur with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  It took the entire week to find all the ingredients, but it was worth it.  We had about 14 missionaries all going at it. 6 bags of flour 4 kilos of chicken. Later we all headed to Sukhbaatar Square to take pictures with other missionaries.  Great day!
On the second day of Naadam, the President set up a get together at the church where we played some traditional games and heard a speech on the history of Naadam.  More khuushuur and some quality time with the Benson kids.  Tommy and I became really good friends this week.  I had forgotten that little kids speak English.  Tommy, age four, is hilarious and probably my favorite little Benson.  BTW his favorite ninja is the green ninja.  Why? because it can turn into the golden ninja of course.

The rest of the week went great with a few people finally being able to meet near the close of the week.  It's on to more city wide soccer today.
Have a great week,
Elder Neuberger

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