I was at school the other day when I overheard a few of my teachers laughing and giving another English teacher, Enkhmaa, a hard time about something. I didn’t exactly catch what it was about, but I heard the verb “to offend.”
“Who’s offended?” I asked.
“We are!” they said.
“Who offended you?” I asked.
“She didn’t invite us to her son’s haircutting ceremony!”
“I KNOW RIGHT,” I said (I’d heard about the ceremony the day before and had been pouting about it, secretly). “I’m offended too, Enkhmaa!” And then she buried her head in her hands in mock shame, and we all had a good laugh.
This reminded me of a moment last fall, when a teacher came up to me and said, “Katie. Did you go to the party on Tuesday?”
“Party? What party?” I asked.
“The other English teachers went dancing on Tuesday,” she grumbled.
“Oh. I didn’t know,” I said, frowning, starting to get into the spirit of things. “Why didn’t you go?”
“They didn’t tell me!” she said.
“Well, that’s just ridiculous,” I said. “Aren’t we fun to hang out with? Aren’t we cool?”
“We’re really cool,” she said, jabbing her finger on a nearby table.
“Yeah,” I said, also jabbing.
I bring this up because it’s the first day of Tsagaan Sar — happy Tsagaan Sar! — and we’ve had invitations on the brain for the last couple of weeks. Who would invite us to their homes for the holiday, we wondered? Would anybody extend an invitation for the first day, which is just for elders and family? How soon was too soon to start fishing around, pathetically, for invitations?
On Monday, good old Erdenetsetseg, who took us around with her family last year (and who is pictured above), invited us to come with them again today. But then I got real sick yesterday, and remained real sick this morning, and as much as I wanted to get out there and Do It Up one last time, and as grateful as I was for that invitation — an invitation that is basically the equivalent of inviting your foreign coworker over for Christmas morning — there is no doubt in my mind that the vodka and mutton would’ve killed me. So we have been sitting on our butts all day. Whatevs.
Fortunately, it’s a multi-day holiday, so all is not lost. We’re visiting a straight edge, vegan family tomorrow (and eating and drinking god knows what), and then, because Friday is an auspicious day, we get to go to Ryan’s coworkers’ place and see our first haircutting ceremony.
And then SOMEBODY is turning THIRTY on Friday!
Can you guess who?