С Новым Годом! Happy New Year! (Albeit a bit late.)

In America, New Year’s Eve has never really been a big deal for me. Call it holiday fatigue, if you will. After all the stress of the Christmas season, which begins increasingly earlier every year (I hear they’re putting out Christmas decorations at Groundhog’s Day this year), I’ve really never wanted to get out. With the exception of some of the Christian conferences I’ve attended on December 31st, I typically sit quietly at home waiting for Dick Clark to surprise everyone by still being alive.

Me wearing my White Elephant gift

Well, leave it to Central Asia to blow my conception of New Year’s out of the water! I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. New Year’s, or Novie Goad in my approximate Russian transliteration, is an amalgamation of New Year’s and Christmas, with the pizzazz of the Fourth of July thrown in. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, lights, and reindeer clutter the landscape—but not for Christmas, for Novie Goad. It contains all the trappings of materialistic Christmas, with none of the spiritual significance.

My roommate Jon wearing his White Elephant gift (before it was stolen away!)

One of the most spectacular parts of Novie Goad is the fireworks. Unlike America where there are large professional fireworks followed by small fireworks at home (or possibly no fireworks because they’re illegal), Central Asia seemingly has no such professional display. The reason is that they don’t need to—everyone has bought near-professional-quality fireworks for themselves. When midnight hits, everyone shoots them off as far as the eye can see. Thankfully (and surprisingly, given my city’s status as the NYC of Central Asia), the night of Novie Goad was clear, and I could see all the way to the mountains. With sensational fireworks going over every 3 seconds and in every direction every 20 yards, it felt as though the glory of God was exploding out of the heavens. For me, New Year’s will never be the same again.


Bang!Yeah, these are shot of by amateurs. Wow.

Bam!(These photos are courtesy of my friend Dina.)


  1. Thank you Scott for sharing these amazing memories and pictures (thank you Dina for the very beautiful pics). Beautiful fireworks indeed- and Jon, better our firends the policemen, do not get to see that photo of you ;-)

    nothing more to say… maybe only “жаңа жыл құтты болсын!”

  2. I heard they are creating Dick Clark robots that will allow for him to stay on the air forever. They will apply an application of spray on tan every 20 minutes just to keep that natural orange facial color.

    Glad you enjoyed your New Years! Hope this next one is awesome for you as well.

  3. Riberet Almeida · · Reply


    Keep up the good work.
    Share some of the food recipes you learn there…. including the desserts.

    Stay warm…..


    1. Haha, well, can’t say I’m learning a ton of recipes, but I am going to learn how to make bishbarmek, a local dish with noodles and horse meat, so I can teach you that when I get back. No desserts so far. See what I can do. ;]

  4. Danielle LaFont · · Reply

    Wow! Must have been amazing!!!

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