Never Done Before challenge: Day Six

After a day that included hundreds of miles through the ever-changing Big Sky landscape, rows of wind turbines standing silent sentry on ridgelines, an escaped black Angus running along outside a fenceline looking desperate to get back in and rejoin his (her?) brethren, a close encounter with a semi, and a side trip to Ingomar, MT, ghost town home of the Jersey Lillie Cafe, an establishment that both my elder companions and I were too afraid to walk into, it seemed like a good idea to learn how to count to ten in Mongolian.

In case you, like me, were thinking that Mongolian must bear a strong resemblance to Mandarin, thereby making it super-easy to learn 1-10 in Mongolian if you already know Mandarin, you would be totally wrong.

Mongolian is nothing like Mandarin!

Something new that I thought would be a piece of cake took me close to an hour and many reruns of the Youtube video to master.

That doesn’t include writing down an approximation of the Mongolian non-English alphabet words in the tiny little notebook that my friend Julie S. gave me last week and then writing down a pathetic English phonetic equivalent next to each Mongolian word.

The effort has certainly not been in vain, however, because next time I find myself in Ulan Bator, I’ll be able to order up to ten –but no more than ten– Mongolian dumplings.


  1. Kay · July 14, 2012

    So you’ll just order ten four timesand you’ll be good to go.


  2. oreo · July 15, 2012

    Okay, this is getting a wee bit difficult. Novelty requires effort, I am discovering. Is this why we slump into regularity, wearing the same path into our daily lives?

    I’m sorta stretching things here to keep in the running. Day five was a new restaurant again; it’s strange that I’m leaning on new culinary experiences since we had not been eating out much for the first part of the summer. Why would we, with the abundance of glorious farmer’s market finds filling the kitchen? But then the non-air-conditioned kitchen lost some of its appeal, so new restaurants here we come. Also I ran a mile faster than I ever have as an adult–maybe that doesn’t count since I did it as a kid, but it was still a satisfying new-again experience that I have missed lo these twenty years.

    Day six was fairly lame, but take it or leave it. I cooked a kind of greens I’d never made before, given to my husband by a kind neighbor. I watched a movie I’ve never seen, which isn’t all that impressive by most standards except that I have so rarely had time to watch a movie these years since K was born that it stands out as rare among my days. I’m too busy reading blogs to watch movies…

    Day seven: now this was a bona-fide never-before-done experience. Went to the Aquatennial waterski show on the Mississippi River, which cleared up the great confusion that K later admitted to. He said he had been wondering how they were going to ski on the river when it’s not frozen. And would you believe that they demonstrated a crazy invention called a water jet pack? It looked like the sci-fi jet pack dreams of my youth, but powered by water. This guy dove under the surface and shot up thirty feet in the air and hovered and spun and did all kinds of crazy tricks. Then he ended by lowering himself down gently on the dock. Certainly the strangest of the new things I’ve seen this week. Thanks for leading me to seek out the new and undone.


  3. Karen · July 16, 2012

    I admire your energy. And creativity.

    And as for Mongolian–wow. I’m fascinated by how the words on the left remind me a bit of Russian or Greek, and look just familiar enough to trick me into believing I could figure out how to pronounce them. This was quite a project!


  4. alison · July 16, 2012

    Karen, I thought exactly the same thing about the Mongolian alphabet – it looked like Greek or Russian to my (totally ignorant) eyes. I’m kind of interested in learning a little more Mongolian now.


  5. alison · July 16, 2012

    Kay, my friend, I think you and I both know that when it comes to dumplings, a little thing like a near-total language barrier would not even begin to stop me.


  6. alison · July 16, 2012

    Oreo, you shame me! Good Lord, girl, I think you should take over this challenge (please, would you?). XO


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