Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice

Today the sun rises at 8:39AM and sets at 5:02PM (This applies specifically to UB which likes 300km east of us. Our sunrise and set are a little earlier.) It is our shortest day, but nowhere near our coldest.  December hasn’t been that bad in the realm of Mongolian cold, but as I write this I have received a warning about extreme temperatures around Christmas, where night time temperature may drop to -50 degrees Celsius.  So… there’s that to look forward to.

Realistically it hasn’t been too bad. November was far colder than last year, but December warmed up a little and I don’t have much to complain about. Perhaps one gets used to the cold the second time around. I enjoy my brisk walks to school. I like the way the air feels around zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Regardless of my personal opinion, it is still freezing in Mongolia. The temperature dropped below freezing in mid-October, and we won’t see above freezing until maybe mid-March, but not consistently until the end of April.

The temperature in our apartment hovers around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is nice for wearing socks and pajamas all the time. Sometimes, I will look up and realize that the three of us, Sally, the cat, and I have conjugated unconsciously in the shadow of the radiator in our carpeted room,  she and I reading from our kindles, and he un-bashfully basking in the warmth of the radiator in what is sometimes the most undignified positions.  With our water heater that can warm 40 liters of water to near boiling, I have found true joy in taking a warm bath on those days when I just can’t stand cold feet anymore. 

In any event, life goes on, and the winter solstice while marking the colder days yet to come still brings hope, since from here on out Sally and I will only get more light.

December 21st is the true beginning of winter; it is now that the Mongolian explanation of winter of the nine sets of nine days begins. For more information on this unique explanation, consult an earlier post titled “It’s very cold outside” from December 22 of 2015.  


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