Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shiin Jil: The Mirrored Sequel

by Mark

I thought I'd give it a little time before I posted pictures and commentary relating to my own Shiin Jil party.  Is a week or so after Kara's post long enough?  Kara did a wonderful job explaining the ins-and-outs of the my words will simply recapitulate hers.  Ah, but the photos will be different.  :)

I'd like to start out with the dress-wear.  Incredible.  Really, some of the outfits that people have rented/purchased for this one evening are quite glamorous.  However, the clothing is never allowed to simply speak for itself - it must be paired with glitter, and jewelry, and hair extensions, and pounds of makeup.  Again, not all bad things in and of themselves...but Shiin Jil is about excess.  It's about bringing in the New Year and saying goodbye to the old year in such a way as to only remember the good, the shiny, the pleasant.  And that's ok in my book.

A little singing to begin the evening

A little speech/story told by another group

Some of the beautiful ladies I work with

And we even received a visit from Old Man Winter - who doubled as our MC at times, and presented awards to top trainers of the year!

Throughout the evening, interspersed among the planned activities, meals and presentations there were occasions to dance.  Mongolians love to waltz...and they have no qualms about swayin' and bobbin' to the latest pop/trance hits to come from Russia or the States.  However, a dancefloor that is probably 25 ft. x 25 ft. doesn't leave much space for 30+ people to waltz around.  No matter - you just smile after you bump into someone and move on.

Meal Time
Next is the food.  This year really was the year of chicken.  Kara got it.  I got it.  I must say that I believe our curried chicken breast with a side of potatoes, rice and salad may have been one of the better meals I've enjoyed at a company party.  I wish I could say that everyone around me wolfed their food like I did...but nay, nearly every plate was only picked at.  I don't know if it was the seasoning, the uncommon meat on the plate, or simply dozens of women trying to make sure they continued to fit in their dresses throughout the evening, but I saw pounds and pounds of tasty greatness get taken away uneaten.  But hey, I ate like a king...check out this spread.

The man in white is my director, Dashzegve, and the woman between him and I was an English speaking Mongolian named Undral who works at a little cafe in town.  Never met her before...and didn't know she spoke English until about an hour into sitting next to her.

Post meal satisfaction!  Take note of the guy on the left - we'll revisit him later.

You have to commemorate an evening like Shiin Jil.  And what better way than to take something like 500 pictures of groups, pairs, friends, co-workers, unknown restaurant workers, the drunk, the sober, and the American!?!

Some Extra Entertainment
I'm not sure if you've followed the outfit selection of the man in the following pictures.  His name is Ganbaa.  He's in his mid-sixties.  He is the past director of the Knowledge Network NGO that I work with.  He's quite possibly the funniest old man I've ever met, and I can't even understand 95% of what he's saying.  He can eat, drink, and party with the best of us...and his energy levels rarely dim.  He started out the evening with an awesome shiny green shirt (check out the pic from the "Meal" section of this post!), then donned a shoulder length wig about half way through the evening to cover his shiny bald head...and then when the evening was winding down he decided to dress like an elderly Mongolian woman and place 4 balloons strategically under his del.

Needless to say, the evening was entertaining.  There are hundreds of photos of the entire event, but I hope this gave you a little sneak peak into my final Shiin Jil party in Mongolia.  It's hard to believe Kara and I have been through two of these already.  It's hard to believe we're already wrapping up our holidays in this country.  I'm always glad I have pictures that I'll be able to look back on - to remember faces, prom style party dresses, tacky wallpaper, happy moments, and friends/co-workers who've all touched my life.

If you'd like to see more pictures from this event, please check out the Facebook album "Shiin Jil 2010-2011".

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