Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 18, 2011

Sain yy?

Hello to all my fellow readers. I have been told recently that I need to update my blog. I am sorry to all those who read this, I have been terrible at keeping up with my blog. Anywho, I'll just update on 'recent' events.

This week being Valentine's, I had a Valentine's Day party with my Children's Club. We actually had to clubs come to the party and there were about 40ish kids. It was a great turn out!! I was in charge of the whole thing and planned a bunch of fun games for the kids. We played 'musical chairs' instead of a cake walk. (the morning of I made a cake in my rice cooker, yes it is possible, but it fell we just gave phone units away instead) Other activities included: making valentine's cards, tag (vday style), honey if you love me, relay race, and an apple passing game. I am pretty sure the kids enjoyed themselves. We gave out a lot of candy, so that might be why :)

Today it is Friday!! I came to work expecting a typically day and walking into a zoo. Literally. There is a traveling zoo at my work. Our big room is filled with cages of all shapes and sizes...some of which I am worried whether or not they will stay together. The animals include: a variety of birds, hen, rooster, 2 ducks, eagle, hamster, mouse, snake, spider, 2 wolves, a monkey, turtles, and a couple of other animals. I was a bit shocked seeing this in my work building. However, the kids love it. There have been kids coming and going all day. Makes me happy for our zoos in America. Those animals have it great!

Tomorrow I am having a gadaa hoon bayar, a foreigner party, at my ger. I am really looking forward to it! Here in my town we have a lot of foreigners who live here. Other then the other PC Americans we have two Koreans, two Germanys, one Japanese lady, and a Dutch lady. I am going to have them all over my ger for SKYLINE!! Yes, ladies and gents skyline is in Mongolia! Thanks to numerous friends and family!! I have save up the cans that have been shipped and my fellow PCV friend has brought CHEESE from the capital. (I miss cheese) It is going to be a great time.

Ok well I hope that this has been a good enough update for y'all out there. I will try to do better in the future!!

Peace and Love,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

I think this is my shortest blog're welcome :)

What a beautiful afternoon. I spent the morning skyping with Christine, Megan, and Anthony. That was truly amazing to be able to speak to all of them at the same time. Skype is a beautiful creation. After my conversation I spent some time with my Bible, I have a goal to read the Bible from start to finish, I have never done this before in my life and thought why not now! Then I cleaned up my ger a bit before settling down in my big green comfy chair. With my new apple incense burning, a hot mug of strawberry tea and my new book in hand I spent the early part of the afternoon reading. (I just received “Eat, Pray, Love” in the mail, thanks Anna!)(Now I want to go to Italy even more then before!!!!!) Then I headed over Kathleen’s house to return her key and retrieve my oatmeal, peanut butter, and letter that she had picked up for me during her trip to UB. I took Arslan on this journey across town and he really enjoyed the walk. We were stopped a couple of times along the way by some inquisitive Mongolians. When I got home I made the best PB&J I have ever had. My counterpart and her family came home shortly after I did and we finished up the afternoon basking in the warm sun while playing with the puppies. Now I am heating up some water for an evening tumpin bath. Just wanted to share with my reader about my fabulous Sunday spent in Mongolia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22, 2010

Once again I have put my blogging off because I know how long it is going to take to write everything! However, I know a lot of people are reading this on a regular basis so I am sitting myself down to do the job! I can’t believe I have already been to my site for a month! Crazy! I have officially been in Mongolia for four months!! (My counterpart told me the other day that by the time someone is living in Mongolia for six months the government considers him or her to be a Mongolian) I am on my way!!
What has happened this past month? That is a loaded question! I feel like this month has flown by! Seriously I have been so busy settling in time has gone by so quickly! The first week was basically my getting comfy in my ger. I unpacked and bought a lot of things for my ger. (really just kitchen items) My ger is great! I really enjoy it, it is a lot bigger then the ger I lived in this summer.
Warning this blog might jump from topic to topic, be aware. :)
On August 30, 2010 I was walking home for lunch when I saw a puppy. I of course stopped to pet the pup. Then this elderly lady walked up to me and started speaking Mongolian to me. Now my Mongolian knowledge is extremely basic stuff. From what I gathered from the conversation she wanted me to take the puppy home. I wasn’t opposed to this but I didn’t know if it already had a home or not. I decided that I would let it go but then he followed me home! At that point I decided I would just adopt him. (I of course checked with my haasha family first) They thought it would be a great idea. So we decided that he would be both my dog and theirs, because I will only be here for two years and when my two years is up I am going to leave him here. To this fact I decided I would let my counterparts daughter name him. (It was her birthday that week) It took her a couple of days but she finally decided on Arslan. Arslan means lion in Mongolian. I like it. Something I find really cool about the Mongolian culture is when somebody is given a name the person giving the name says it three times in his or her ear. Neat huh! So Namina did this for Arslan.
That is the story of how he came to be apart of my Mongolian life, now to update y’all on his life in the past life. He is getting big! Despite his not liking my food! Arslan is now tripping all over himself because his legs are getting longer and longer and he hasn’t adjusted to them yet. It is really funny. He is slowly learning both Mongolian and English commands. He is going to be a smart dog…knowing two languages and all. I let him sleep in my ger though I don’t know how long this will last..he is peeing and pooping everywhere! He even peed in my bed twice, I was NOT happy! He loves to chew as all puppies do. He has already chewed a hole in my purse and my sleeping bag. Oh he also received friends! So, my haasha family had a dog but he died the same day Arslan followed me home. Ironic I know. About a week after this happened my haasha family brought home two more puppies! There were three little puppies running around our yard. I loved it. Unfortunately one of the new puppies is no longer. We aren’t 100% sure what happened to her but we think someone stole her. Now we have two boy puppies: one with a name, one with out.
On to another topic…my site is great! The town I live in is quaint. We have a couple of restaurants, internet cafes, a bunch of stores, a post office, hospital, police deptarment, a couple of museums, government buildings, shower houses, schools, day cares, and schools. I mean there are typical things you would find in any old town really. Oh I have a river!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am really excited about that! I think I will be going there every weekend during the summer. We have this one restaurant who specializes in American food. They make spaghetti, tacos, pizza, spaghetti with cheese, and hamburgers. It is pretty decent food. Then there is other restaurant who has Chinese food. Yes they have sweet and sour chicken! Seriously shocking!! Well I guess not too shocking considering how close I am to China, but still. It makes me happy.
Let see what else! Oh my sitemates and I went on an adventure the other weekend. Kathleen who is a M20 has been in search of a little stone man. This little stone man had been left here from the Turkish Era. She heard about the guy from the lonely planet book about Mongolia. She has looked for him on several occasions but never found him. Recently she obtained the coordinates for the guy and thanks to Justin’s GPS WE FOUND HIM!! It was about a four-mile walk to his location and we had a little bit of trouble finding his exact location but eventually we stumbled upon him! He actually turned out to be bigger then what we thought. He was about 4 feet tall and was surrounded by a fence. (I suppose to protect him) It looked like to us that a lot of people visit him on a regular basis. There was a half empty bottle of vodka, some tea, money and various other things around him. It was exciting finding this little guy! We had a picnic by the dude and Arslan came along for the hike! (Though he ended up being carried most of the way, he is a tad bit lazy) I found out later that this guy is named from the Buddhist religion and people go and visit him when they want a dream/wish to come true….sorta like throwing a penny in a fountain!
In other news it is starting to get cold here. I built my first fire the other night. This is going to become a regular occurrence soon. I will more then likely have to get up in the middle of the night to put wood on the fire. Joy! I have pretty much gotten used to the outhouse. However my stomach is still adjusting. I feel like I have been getting sick about once a month. Not too bad. My hope is eventually my stomach will become an iron stomach, that’s what they call it right? Nothing like moving to another country and having constant stomach issues on top of no toilet! My legs are thanking me though! I am teaching myself how to cook, if that’s what you want to call it. I am working on my ger skills! Lol.
Ok this has become long enough of a blog. For those of you reading this let me know of anything you want to know/hear about. Sometimes I am not sure what y’all would be interested in!
Hope all of you are sitting well! (Mongolians say this, sorta like I hope all is well with you)
OHHHH I forgot! My Mongolian students gave me a Mongolian name, Zulaa!
AND I am going to be an expert Karaoke singer by the time I leave here, I feel like my coworkers go on a regular basis. SO far I have gone twice, both times they made me sing a ton.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

August 29, 2010
I have to start off by saying I have been dreading writing this blog because I know how long it is going to take me to type it up, a lot has happened in the last two and half weeks! To begin August 15 was a whirlwind of a day; I had to say goodbye to my host family and I learned of my new site information. Saying goodbye to my host family was a lot harder then I thought it was going to be. Everyone’s host family went to the school and helped us load the meaker. That was a task. We all have a lot of crap; I was impressed that it all fit in one small meaker! When we were pulling away some of our family members started to cry that in turn made everyone in the meaker teary eyed. So that was saying goodbye to them.
Then we arrived in a near by town called Zunnmod. This town is where we have been having our big gatherings all summer. That day was filled with various meetings of sort that I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing about because we were all focused on one thing, finding out our sites! FINALLY 4:30 roled around..the hour we had all been waiting for. It was really neat how they had us find out to begin there was a huge map of Mongolia spread across the gym floor and we gathered around it. Then one by one they would call out our new Aimag, town, and job location. Then the person would walk on the map and they would guide you to your new location. For 70ish people this took a while! Thankfully my name was called towards the beginning. For safety reasons I cannot publically display where exactly I am but if you want to know just email me and I’ll spill! (BTW I have a new email I do have to say I was very happy with my site location. I really didn’t have too many expectations so I really couldn’t be disappointed! :) However, I do have to say I did really want to be living in an apartment…but that wish didn’t come true. For the next two years of my life I will be living in a ger and using an outhouse. I know I know y’all are so jealous!! I really don’t think it will be too terribly bad considering after two years I will be a expert fire maker and squatter.
SO about my job!!!! I am uber excited about it. I am working in the Aimag Children’s Center. This particular center has applied for three years for a PC VOL, I am the first one they have ever had! My job will consist of a lot of various aspects, which I am excited about! I will of course teach English; also I am going to be teaching my co-workers about psychology and social work, doing assorted clubs. Also they have a lot of different contest through out the year, which I get to help with. This November they have a fashion show coming up. I can’t wait! OH and get this I am going to have a DJ job! I will have two shows a week. Who would of guessed me being a DJ. Also during the summers I will also be helping out with a summer camp teaching various things. Needless to say I am going to be busy, busy, busy!
The rest of our time in Zunmod went really quickly. We finished up random meetings and sorts. Oh and had another dance party which was fun. Other then that nothing too exciting happened that I can remember.
Ok, now to more exciting things!! We then went to UB, Ulaanbaatar, the capital. There we stayed at the internationally dorms which was interesting. They really did remind me of UT. I’d say they resembled South and North Carrick Dorms. SO when we got settled we went around UB which people who would be living in our regions. We went to this lovely cafĂ© for lunch where I had a CHICKEN BURRITO! It was amazing. After lunch we continued touring around UB finding where all the good markets and stores are located. Then we went to the Peace Corps office where I got my new cell phone! I have to say it was really odd this summer not having a cell phone. At times it was nice not being tied to a phone but other times I wished I had one so I didn’t have to walk across town to tell someone something. Anywho, so I now have a cell phone everyone! So if you want to call me please do :) My number is 976-995-29461, 976 is the country code. For those of you who have skype you can call directly to my cell phone! If you don’t have skype it is really easy to get. (If you need help just ask me!)
After picking up my winter suitcase, heater, fire extinguisher, outlet surge, and cell we had to walk back to the international dorms. Y’all this was one of those memories that I hope to forget. To begin sidewalks here are not up to the standard I’d like them to be. SO rolling my suitcase was a fete AND I had other things I had to carry. That walk too like an hour and my arms felt like they were going to fall off. I guess I should have worked on my arm muscles before coming here! Jokes aside we made it to the dorm just fine.
The next day we meet our supervisors. Again they did this in a pretty interesting way. They had everyone in a big room, both our supervisors and us. Individually they called everyone names off. I was really worried I wouldn’t know when the said my job because they of course said it in Mongolian but I heard it! My supervisors name is Bat-Erdene. He is a very nice guy. That day after meeting them we went to lunch with everyone. That lunch might have been one of the most awkward lunch I have ever gone to. I speak very little Mongolian and well Bat-Erdene he speaks NO English! We managed to talk about the little bit I know how to say in Mongolian and it went find.
The next day was basically meetings all day. I went over my workplan with my supervisor, thankfully we had a translator! Then, hahah ok so this day I was sick. I mean my stomach hurt awfully! So as lunch we went again with our supervisors. I just could not eat because I was in so much pain. My supervisor notice I was eating. He was so concerned! He asked me if I had medicine and told me to eat rice. I thought that was very kind of him. (Note funny story to follow this tid bid)
Other random things that happened in UB:
-I went to a French Bakery and a German Bakery in the same day. That day I successfully spoke 4 different languages. (French, German, English, and Mongolian)
-I bought some kick ass slippers for my ger. They are made out of wool!
-I was spit on by a teenage boy. I know I know I was not a happy camper about this. He was a homeless guy and I suppose he just doesn’t like foreigners.
-I found tequila.
-I had pizza and nachos!!
- I was told there is a Catholic Church in UB, but I have no idea where it is. I hope to find it at some point.
Ok so then we had our swearing in ceremony. It was interesting because almost everyone was wearing their own traditional Dhell! Everyone was so colorful! I have to say I think I like mine the best! I had the only purple one! For the ceremony it was sorta weird because it reminded of a graduation. (Which I just had) We individually walked across the stage and received our contract of sorts. We also had to say a saying that is what all government workers have to say. (My brothers had to say something similar when they swore into the Army) Also at the ceremony some people preformed traditional Mongolian songs and dances. Then after the ceremony PC had a reception for everyone with all different kinds of food. It was there that I had to say goodbye to all my newly made friends because my supervisor wanted to leave for site at that point.
I was sad I had to leave so soon but I was thankful that we were traveling in his car. So I didn’t have to worry about public transportation. I have to say though the next couple hours were really confusing. I thought at first it was going to be him and me with all my stuff and my site mates belongings. I was wrong. We took all of our things to the Black market to be placed on a meaker. This I have to say made me really nervous to send my things via another vehicle. After we left our things we were on our way! The trip wasn’t bad at all. It was my supervisor and Jingo with his supervisor along with another lady. They even bought us snacks for the road. (Same as an American roadtrip) I have to say though I was SO tired! I tried really hard not to sleep but I ended up passing out for the entire trip. When we arrived my supervisor asked if I was tired. Lol.
I got to my new home at like 11ish at night. My counterpart had made me dinner, which was uber nice. She has two little girls ages 4 and 1. They both wanted to meet me but feel asleep. Urta, my coworker also told me that all my coworkers had been waiting for my arrival but went home bc it got too late. After chatting for a bit I went into my ger.
My ger is huge! I mean seriously this ger is prolly twice the size of the one I had this summer! I can actually stand up in it! My ger is really pretty and quite cozy. I have a bed, a desk, a kitchen cabinet, a dresser, a dry sink, two tables, an electric stove, a wood stove, and two comfy green chairs! I have been working on getting it to feel like a home. (Look for pictures on Facebook!)
That Saturday my bags arrived in the morning. Thank goodness!! I unpacked which was a great feeling to finally be able to get out of suitcases! Then the rest of the day my counterparts took me around the town to help me buy a bunch of things I needed for my new ger. They even took me out to lunch! Ok this is the part I was referring to earlier. My supervisor told EVERYONE that I had a bad stomach and that I was sick. At first I was shocked that he would tell everyone that but I have learned to be thankfully that he did this. Now everyone thinks that my stomach is bad and I can only eat certain things. I have been using this for my advantage for sure! They think I am a vegetarian. Which isn’t far from the truth. I have decided that I really won’t be eating meat much because it really does hurt my stomach. We will see how this turns out.
So that is what has been going on! More to come later!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 12, 2010
I am officially done with training!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahooo!!!!!!! I had my TAP interview this morning along with my LPI. The TAP is basically an interview about how I did during training. That went fine. Then the LPI is the language test. That went ok. The lady said I did Dutchgwee, which is Mongolian for good job. I have my reservations still, I think that I answered all of her questions fine but I know that I have a lot more to learn.
Now that I am done I have the weekend to pack and prepare for the upcoming week! Today my site mates and I are going to have a belated birthday celebration for Shar/ a we are done party! I am looking forward to that! Shar’s mom sent her a cake mix for her birthday and we are going to cook it in a rice cooker….we’ll see how that turns out!
Tomorrow we are going to continue painting. There is an informal education school and the lady who runs it asked us to help. We are painting the new fence. It is a chain link fence, kinda odd to me that we are painting it but as long as it makes her happy. The painting process here is a bit different from America. For example we are painting with pieces of an old bed cushion. My sponge kept falling apart but it worked. There are like 60 some fence sections so it is going to take a while.
Yesterday, I got my Dell! Dell’s are traditional Mongolian dress. My dell is purple. It is really pretty! Mine is a skirt and a top. I’ll post pictures of it on facebook asap. I am planning on wearing it to my swearing in ceremony.
Ok let see what else has been going on the other weekend we took our families out to the hodoo (countryside) for an appreciation day. That was a lot of fun. We went to this camp where they just started a mine. The entire area seems like it might be a protected park. That doesn’t really make sense to me if they are both mining plus protecting the area..I am not really sure. There were about 40 people who came with us. All the American’s made food at home and brought it with us. I made onion rings. Let me just say that was an experience making them. I have never cried so much! Lol. Delgema, Benda, Anka, and her boyfriend all helped me in the morning making them. We had quite the assembly line! Anywho, the families made the meat for us. They killed a sheep ( I think it was a sheep) and prepared it with the hot rocks. I once again knew that I was going to get sick but at this point I didn’t care because the meat is really tasty.
The day was filled with every one eating. We had quite the spread. Potato salad, onion rings, fruit, juice, vodka, candy, veggies, cookies, etc… We also ending up playing the human knot. I was in charge of it and let me just say it was a sight for eyes! We had all sorts of people playing; Ashley’s Dad played, who is like 70, then we also had a bunch of kids. It took a while for them to figure out the game but in the end I think everyone really enjoyed it!
So now that I am leaving the town I suppose I will speak alittle bit about where I have been living the past couple of months! (PC didn’t want us to disclose this info while we lived here for safety reasons) I have been living in Ulzit. Ulzit is about a 30ish minute drive from UB. The town is quite small. It is known for its horses. They have a lot of breeders here that breed horses for Nadaam. There is a post office and it has one computer that I have been using all summer, yet it doesn’t send any mail international. There is one bar in town, which also doubles as the one and only restaurant. Overall the town is quaint. I have really enjoyed it here.
That being said I have a new address. For those of you sending me mail and or packages hold off for the next week or so until I know my new address. I will let y’all know as soon as I find it out!
I have to say this has been the most interesting and adventurous summer of my life. I have really enjoyed my host family and I am sad that I soon will have to say goodbye. My family has been really great. They gave me a going away present today. It was a framed Mongolian flag and a leather wallet with Mongolian designs on it. Then my rascal of a little brother drew me a picture! It was really sweet because he wrote on it that it was for his older sister. Too cute! Well now that my summer is over I do have to say that I have realized something really exciting…this is the FIRST August since Kindergarten that I am NOT going back to school. Pretty stoke about that!!!! OK off to pack…totally not looking forward to lugging all my stuff around Mongolia.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Warning this is a LONG blog!

August 2, 2010
This weekend I went to camp. Let’s just say that this weekend was the highlight of my summer! To begin the fun began Thursday night when I found a present outside my ger. I was inside my ger doing who knows what when I heard this noise outside my door. I was curious as to what it was so I opened my door to find a PUPPY!!! Yes ladies and gents a PUPPY! I think it was God’s way of saying I need an animal in my life..but unfortunately this particular pup came at a bad time. (I was leaving for the entire weekend and my family would NOT have appreciated taking care of a puppy for me especially because they were frighten of the thing!) Well I took the pup inside my ger for a bit and played with it..Y’all this pup was ADORABLE! Then I showed her to my fam and they were all so scared of it! They wouldn’t even touch it! Then I decided to take her to my friends ger to get her advice as to what I should do. (I really really really wanted to keep it) So after consoling with Shar she informed me that she thought the pup belonged to this lady in town…we decided I’d take it there in the morning if it was still around.
SO when I got home I still wanted to play with it before letting it outside BUT the silly pup got out of my ger as soon as I brought it in! It escaped out from under my ger walls..that made me sad. However, I decided that if it was still outside in the morning I’d take it to the lady in town to see if it was hers or not….I continued on with my evening of watching the movie “The Departed” when I heard a noise coming from INSIDE my ger. I was a tad bit freaked out because I had no idea what the sound was. I got out of my comfy bed to find the puppy had magically gotten back into my ger and was shaking because it was so cold. At that point I decided that she was just going have to share my bed, which she gladly did. In the morning I awoke to her barking at some birds that were outside my ger at 6 AM!!!!!! That did not make me happy. After getting ready I went to the OTHER side of town to see if this pup belonged to her….nope! Her pup was still there. At that point I just wanted to keep her but I had no one to watch her for the weekend. So we decided ( I had fellow sitemates with me at this point) to take her back to my side of town and leave her in hopes that she would find her real home. That was hard to do especially because she kept following me! Eventually she got distracted long enough by some people waiting for the bus that it let me to slip away with out her noticing.
Then to continue on with the morning we had an early Mongolian Language lesson in the morning then we got on the bus to UB. The bus was really crowded and I had to stand the entire time, which wasn’t awful but definitely not ideal. Then when we got to UB a fellow PCV who took us to the State Department Store where we were able to go to the bank. Afterwards we went to American Burgers and Fries. Delicious. I had a hamburger and French fries! It was fabulous. THEN I went across the street and had COFFEE!!!! I was in heaven at that point!
Later on we ended up going back to the State Department Store where we went shopping for some snacks for the weekend. That store was AMAZING. They had so many great things that I love. First of all they had coffee!! THEN they had Kinder and Cadbury chocolate!!!!!!!!!! (Joy and Marissa can you believe that!!!!) That was just shocking that I found that in MONGOLIA of all places! So after we all walked around the isles in awe we made our purchases and waited outside to meet up with everyone.
It was there that I encountered a culture shock. There were two kids who were standing outside the store. These kids looked like they were homeless. They had rags for clothes and we extremely dirty. Ashley, a fellow CYD, had bought a bunch of peaches. The little boy came up to her and asked for one. She in turn gave him one. Then, who I am assuming was his sister came and asked her for one as well. She again gave her one. This was all nothing too terribly surprising, but then for some reason the girl started to yell at the boy and threw him to the ground. The boy began to cry and then threw his peach on the dirty ground. I was shocked that he being homeless and hungry would do such a thing. I just could not comprehend as to why he would do that. Molly who is our PCVL told me that his actions were not surprising to her for she has seen it happen on several occasions. I supposed there are some things in this world that I will never understand.
On a lighter note, we left the store and started to walk to the train station. On the way we passed the Beatles monument! I had no prior knowledge that Mongolia had such a thing but it was pretty neat. I’ll post a pic on FB. ALSO on the way, someone saw a sign for H&M. I am not entirely sure if there is a real H&M in Mongolia but if there is one that will make me happy! I am going to look into this further when I need to get clothes down the road. The walk to the train seemed to take a while but it was good exercise after eating the burger so I didn’t mind!
Ok so the train…pretty standard train. It reminded me of the one I took from Berlin to Prague back in March. They had a car that had little cabin like nooks. In the nook there was enough seating for 6 people. They had beds up above that people could lay down on and they had tables. I guess one issue they have with the trains is that they tend to over sell the seats…so it was a tad bit crowded. I actually ended up on one of the beds at one point and it was fairly comfy.
The train ride only took about 2 hours then we were there! To be honest I still do not know of the town that we were in. All I know was that it was 2 hours north of UB. The town was really pretty!! They actually had trees!!!!!!!!! When we got off the train we went to get in a Meaker (Russian Bus) to continue our journey to the Camp. The meaker ride was an adventure to say the least. We were all crammed in that thing! There were 12 people and everyone’s individual backpack in an 8-person bus. It was a tad bit tight to say the least. Then to top that off the road was far from being pot-hole-less. Before coming to Mongolia I wasn’t ever the one to get carsick but I have to say on that trip all I could focus on was not throwing up. Then at one point the bus stopped. So a couple of people had to get out and help push it to get it to start again. *I have decided that Mongolia needs AAA* Thankfully that got the bus to start up again and we made it to camp. By the time we got to camp it was pick black outside and to top it off the electricity was out!
We went into the mess hall and they had a late dinner waiting on us. Dinner by one-candle light, it was ideal. After that we went to out individual cabins. The rooms were divided into two rooms and had three beds in each room. It was nice. Then we went to bed. I have to say that was the first night so far that I was cold. I was the end of July and I was cold! I already know I have a long winter ahead!
I have never been to camp before in my life. I have done tons of retreats for church so I thought that it would be similar- which it was but there definitely were some differences. To begin at 6:55 A.M. I awoke to music blearing outside my cabin. I was not expecting that, a trumpet maybe but definitely not English speaking music! My roommates and I get up to find out that we had to go outside for the singing of the Mongolian national anthem. That was an interesting way to wake up that is for sure!
The camp that we were helping out with was a soccer camp for boys. There were boys from the age of 9 to about 15. They to our surprise knew a lot of English! Justin found that out quickly when he taught English that afternoon. We also taught a couple of lifeskills lessons to them. When I say we I mean my other sitemates because I was actually signed up to do anything the entire weekend but I did teach them the human knot game. That was interesting! The first time we tried it I would say it fail miserably. However, the second time after a while they caught on and actually finished it! The boys I think were really excited that they figured it out. THEN later on in the evening when we were getting ready to watch a movie we were all outside and the boys played it again! That made my heart smile :) Just to see them do something on their own…that’s what I am here for! So that evening we watched Karate Kid. Yes the new movie! Can you believe it! Well to y’all back at home it prolly isn’t as new but it really is a fairly new movie. I was shocked! The movie was ok, I was so tired at this point I was having a hard time staying awake! THEN after the movie the kids had a dance. I just could not bring myself to go to it so I went to bed instead. A couple of people went and said it was a lot of fun..i will take their word for it! That night was a cold night! It was the end of July and it is ALREADY getting cold in Mongolia! It is going to be a long winter!
If you are still reading this blog at this point, Bless you. I know this is a long one! At camp they have a really interesting way of washing dishes. To begin the campers wash their own dishes and they have a system. They have 5 buckets and they just pass the dirty dish through each bucket. It has been the most effective version of washing dishes I have seen so far in Mongolia. I liked it!
Sunday morning was similar to Saturday, but we as a group went on a little hike to the stream. This stream they say is good for your stomach and is very sacred to Mongolians. Before getting into the water you have to touch the water to your mouth and head. I did this before going creeking. It was cold, similar to the Mountain waters of Tennessee. So that was a lot of fun to go and see that. In addition, Mongolians offer blue scarfs (I can’t remember the Mongolian word for it) to the trees as well as money. Afterwards when we were walking back to the camp we saw 5 different animals with in a minute: cows, sheep, goats, horses, and yaks! It was exciting. THEN I got to get on a horse! That was fun, basically got up there long enough for my picture to be taken and then got down. I have to say the saddles here are a lot different then ours in the states.
The rest of the day we had more English and Lifeskills lessons. OH and I found that they had a SHOWER!! It was amazing! It was warm water and all! I stayed in there for like 30 minutes! Then we planned for our talent show! Don’t you worry there will be uploads to facebook asap. Think spice girls and backstreet boys! :) It was a lot of fun to plan our talent show. We had a dancing section, some drama, singing, and our chant! The kids LOVED it! Afterwards we went and had yogurt. Now I have to say I am not one to have milk products here in Mongolia but I tried the yogurt that night and it was delicious!
K, so you’d think that would be enough for one day but NO they then wanted us to play a game with them. I am not sure what they call this game in Mongolian but I would say it is a cross between war and capture the flag. Let’s just say I was scared for my life. Not only was it pitch black out side, but I also had no idea where we were or who was right next to me. I was really scared but I played..why I don’t know. So there were two teams and we both had a big flag. The big flag we hide. We also had flags ( a piece of material around our head) that the opposing team had to get from us. So the objective of the game was to capture as many head flags and the big flag. Keep in mind though it is pitch black, I mean you can not see anything. AND we were playing on a hill with trees and stumps and holes. It basically was a disaster waiting to happen. Shar and I were on the same team and we had two boys with us. I would not let them leave our side for anything. There was a lot of screaming and falling down but all in all it was fun. Would I even play it again? No. Not inless I knew exactly where I was and there was some light. Y’all know I hate being scared!
Other highlights from the weekend:
The kids loved my tattoo and wanted me to draw tattoos on them.
There was a Brazilian Soccer Coach who spoke Spanish to the Mongolian children…that didn’t work out to well. The kids were having difficulties understanding him if you could imagine! At one point we had an interesting line of communication. The coach spoke to Brittany Ross (who speaks Spanish) then Bross spoke to Mugii (our boss of sorts who speaks English and Mongolian) who then spoke to the Mongolian who the coach was trying to relay the message to..It was an interesting line of communication.
Then Monday we left to go back to our town. On the way to the train we had to stop and help a fellow car out. He was out of gas so he took some from us. We got to the train just in time. It was really crowded but I was able to rest so I didn’t mind. THEN when we got back into UB we took a bus to a resturant for dinner. ON the bus my fellow sitemate was pickpocketed. Bad news bears! Her entire wallet was taken out of her zipped purse. Her passpost, credit cards, and cash were stolen. Needless to say she was upset. I think it showed all of us to always look out for one another no matter what and never feel too comfortable in your surroundings.
That night we went to an Irish Pub for dinner! I was amazing! I had NACHOS and a Margarita!! It was once again the best Nachos and Margarita and the worst I have ever had. They were great just because they reminded me of home but they weren’t the best. For example the nachos were made with Doritos if that tells you anything. Then after dinner we had to wait forever for our bus to go back to our town. I think we were afraid that we might not have a ride because it was getting dark. Then when what we thought was the bus (it ended up turning out to be the wrong one) we all ran towards it. During that minute of a run…..SOMEONE tried to pickpocket us again!!! Twice within two hours! Crazy! Thankfully, Molly our PCLV saw the guy and basically took it back out of his hands. He tried to take Jo’s camera and would have gotten away with it had we not been paying attention. I learned a very important lesson that day….watch out for thiefs!!!
The ride home was just as crowded as the ride into UB. There was this really sweet lady who let me sit by her feet. I think she saw me wobbling about and felt sorry for me! Lol. I thought it was a very nice gesture. Anywho when I got home I was happy to see my family and just happy to be home. The weekend was a lot of fun and extremely eventful but I was happy to come home to my own ger.
Thanks for reading!

Little B (That has become my nickname at site)

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

Hey y’all!!! Right now in Mongolia it is about 6 p.m. and I just got back to my ger from my long day of class and training. Today I taught English for the second time. It was a lot of fun! My Mongolian dad, the school guard, and a young girl were in attendance. The lesson was days of the week and months. I think that they all really enjoyed the lesson. I played a fun matching game with them. It is interesting teaching someone a foreign language when you yourself don’t speak his or her language! However, I think they walked away learning so that is all that matters!
This past weekend was full of activity. On Saturday I taught my first English class. It was the same material but more so a trial run for the Monday lesson. I was a little sad that only one kid showed up but 30 minutes into the lesson another girl showed up. So a grand total of 5 individuals now know the days of the week and months in English! That is more then when I started. I feel like that could be an issue during my time here- trying to get involvement. BUT I plan on making my lessons really interactive with a lot of games so hopefully word will get around the town that it is a lot of fun! Oh and this weekend my sitemates and I planned our CAMP! We get to run a camp this up coming weekend. I am really looking forward to that! (Plus I get to ride the Mongolian train for the first time!)
Then this past Friday I taught yoga for the first time with my sitemate Ashley. I really enjoyed that! We had about 5 kids and the school guard. I think that was definitely the first time they had done yoga, but they seemed to really like it! I am hoping that when I get to my actual site to start up an exercise club that meets once a week.
In other news, my cousin who lives in the ger next to me who is sixteen just got her nose pierced-her mom doesn’t know yet. I have a sneaky suspicion that she got the idea from me…so I hope her mom likes it!
Last week I started to learn a Mongolian song. That was a lot of fun. My family was laughing at my pronunciations skills and me. Hahah. It’s coming along though.
Food news is as follows: I miss American food. I know it has been about two months since I have been gone but man I am already tired of potatoes! I did learn how to make sushi last week. It consisted of rice and seaweed; it was a nice change from the typically potato dish. Oh and I have found that I like tofu and soy meat better then Mongolian meat. I think my family was picking up on the fact that I wasn’t eating a lot of meat so they started using these things. In the states I prolly would have never eaten tofu or soy meat but ‘when in Mongolia!’ OH AND BREAKING NEWS!!!! My dad told me he loved my cooking!!!!!!!! No one has every said that to me in my life! I was shocked when he said it! ( I think he just might love the French fries that I make but all in all he still said it!!!!!!)
There ya have it folks. A short little update for all to hear!