Monday, June 28, 2010

Thunder and Earthquakes

I just got off the phone with my mum, Luke and Ellen and it sounds like there was an earthquake in Michigan (technically in Canada, but was felt in MI) a couple days ago?? The world is ending, isn't it? Poop. I had so much more to do, too.

In other news, we actually had thunder AND lightning for like 20 minutes one day, it was awesome. I really missed it... going to sleep during the thunderstorm is the best thing ever. Sadly there wasn't any rain with the mini-storm but it was really windy and so it got pretty dusty. Earlier in the week there was a huge dust storm but followed by rain so the dust settled down. The weather has been really hot for the past couple days- in the 90's (97 yesterday! UGH) but it's not humid so it's pretty tolerable.

During one of my walks to school, I saw (what I think was) a cow leg bone... with hoof still attached. Oh Mongolia. Bones are a really common thing (people throw them out the window and dogs will chew on them), but I hadn't seen an attached hoof until that point.

On Wednesday we went as a class to our local hospital, to the traditional medicine branch. There we saw them do acupuncture, moxibuston (totally spelled that wrong I think, but it's like acupuncture but with a burning tip to create pressure) and cupping (putting pressurized cups on areas of the body, which is supposed to improve circulation, but creates a really huge bruise as well. We watched some actual patients get these treatments, which made for an interesting conversation afterwords. For example, one lady had bad GI issues, which we were told after acupuncture and diet changes she didn't have pain as much. But is that the acupuncture, or is that the diet change? Or both? I'm interested in people's thoughts on this...

 Friday the healthies did some karaoke... or at least for 10 minutes and then the power went out... in the whole of the city! It was entertaining for about 15 more minutes and then we decided to leave, using our cellphones (which are now glorified alarm clocks) as our guides back. I payed for that night on Saturday morning though... the elevation of Mongolia makes it so you can't tolerate as much alcohol as you would in the US. Whoops. But the afternoon was nice, full of good discussion.

This week one of the PCVs (who is going home next month) is hooking us up with some food stuffs from UB (the capital, which we are not allowed to go to under any circumstances as trainees until the end of our training), like mozzarella cheese...  can you say awesome pizza? Food has been a big topic of discussion lately. I could so go for a Jimmy Johns sandwich right about now. :( I wonder if they could do the freaky fast delivery out here.

Ah, and shout out to the PCV parents reading my blog :) Apparently I have some fans!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Mary Had a Little Lamb...

...that she cut up for meat.

Not really. Ashley had to sing in class today, and she chose that song so it's stuck in my head at the moment. We played a card game (with Mongolian words) in which the loser had to sing or dance. Blaine did some juggling, our teacher sang a song, and I did the Soulja Boy dance that Monika taught me.

Some neat things that I think Ellen would find interesting/awesome/not awesome:
-Horses are eeeeverywheeere in this town... last Friday, Ashely and I were coming back from the square (which has this sweet light-up fountain where all the kids hang out and throw water on each other), and we saw a huge herd of horses running by being followed by a dude in a saddled horse. And uh, apparently you can get a horse. So yeah. I want one.
-Animals aren't kept as pets. Dogs are freaking everywhere and they are dirty as hell. But they are more workers/scavengers, so not pet material. I want to pet them so bad, but then I remember I haven't had all my rabies shots yet and I don't want to get bit. Oh, and Mongolians hate cats. So they're really easy to get as a pet. Score!

Language is hard as ever, but I think that's going to be another reoccurring theme. Lots of studying this weekend, hoorah! And perhaps movie watching too... I watched Across the Universe (thanks Ellen!) and Men Who Stare At Goats this past week.

Ahh glass. One of the banes of my existence now that I've almost cut my foot on it. Mongolia is quite sparkly if you look at it right... but it's really just glass shards everywhere. Trash is a relatively new concept in Mongolia, so taking the trash to the hills is just one way they get rid of it here. Oh, and my mouth- yesterday at Matt's ger we were all studying and Cody thought it was a good idea to open the bottles of beer on the stove... which broke the top right off leaving a cut-glass rim around it. Yay! :) ...what is that iron taste in my mouth?

I might do some hiking today, who knows. Peace for now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maaake me a plaaace in your... home?

I'm at a lack of creative titles... the actual lyric was "heart" but I heard "home" and got confused. That particular terrible english song was blasting outside of a grocery store (sounded like it could have been out of the Wiggles or something). Huh. On our way to the other school we heard Linkin Park. Imagine that.

More shots, and my arm hurts. At least I'll be awesomely prepared for whatever biological weapon- rabies, japanese encephilitis, hep A, typhoid, and meningitis. Heeelllss yeah.

Language was better today, although I feel like I don't have a ton of time to study, because I want to go to sleep so early because my head is full of information!

Ok, peace all :) Time for benkyooshimasuuu (that's japanese, but oh well) :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

би кэйтэ.

Title says, "I'm Katie" if you're wondering. :) I could type a lot more, but I'm so not used to the Mongolian keyboard.

Tired today. They've been keeping us quite busy with 4 hours of language class a day, then 1.5 hour lunch, then 2-3 hours of health training. With homework... oi! The weekend was a nice break, although my studying was lacking for sure. Today I felt a little down about language learning, but I'm sure the group studying later will help.

I love the seemingly random English songs that Mongolians use on TV. In the background of commericals, etc will be Green Day (apparently very popular with the teenagers when I talked to them, along with Linkin Park) or even semi-obscure stuff like Lupe Fiasco. Huh. The Korean soap-operas seem to be my host mom's favorite, and my duu (little brother) likes Dragonball Z... dubbed into Mongolian from English. Being so close to Japan I'm not sure if I get that one, but I digress.

I know some of the people have told us not to look at facebook, which I haven't much, but it does make me realize how much I've been missing the short while I've been here. I'm sure that'll be a recurring theme- I've already given up at remotely keeping up with any of my TV shows. (So no spoiling!!)

So, yeah. Same stuff. More shots tomorrow. Weather has been up and down, but generally sunny and warm! Peace :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yo yo yo yo!

As I'm writing this, my host brother is tring to tickle me to death and and poking my stomach. Seriously. And I'm saying "yo yo yo yo" (ow ow ow ow) to try and get him to stop. :)

We got our shots a couple days ago, if anyone was wondering what we got- Hep A, Japanese Encephilitis, and Rabies, hooray! Some people had to get more, like Hep B, but I already had it.

My host family is really cool- I'm living in an apartment with the mom and dad, and little brothers (10 years and 1.5 years, aww). My host mother doesn't speak english (which is good- I want to learn as much as I can!), but she DOES speak Japanese, so we've been communicating in a Japanese/Mongolian language so far. I'll be living with them for 3 months... seems like a long time since I've only been here a week and feels like I've been here forever so far.

We had our language lesson this morning, and now we're done for the weekend. I think I really need to work on my Mongolian alphabet... sooo that's my homework for this weekend.

Other observations:
-Milk tea (which actually doesn't have tea, just a kind of salty warm milk) is growing on me.
-Pogs are still all the rage.
-So is Dragonball Z... and scooters!

All for now!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Land Of... Rain.

Yeah, it's been raining quite a bit, but we've been told it's nothing to complain about since it never rains the rest of the year. So yay!

Been good so far... a little tired of meat, but I never go hungry and the meals are pretty tasty. The Korean place last night was reaaally good, albeit spicy.

The language learning is getting a bit overwhelming at the moment, and it's driving me nuts that I keep trying to use Japanese instead of Mongolian. Just need to keep practicing!

A bit homesick at the moment, but that's kinda confusing since I've only been here a week! Geez!

That's all for now. Moving in with my host family tomorrow, which I imagine will speed up my learning process a lot. Peace!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Or actually, I've been here for a while... second full day in Mongolia!

Quick note, so I can let the other PCVs use the computers. I'm going to be stationed at the same place we're doing training now, so us and the other healthies are going to have phones and internet. :)

Weather was cold today... rain! Whereas yesterday I got sunburned because it was 80 out. Truely wacky weather.

Quote of the day:
"Well, we haven't had much time to get culture shock. I mean, there's a cow right there, but..."

People are cool, still feels like summer camp, but since we started talking about our actual sections (mine being Health) it's starting to sink in that I'm here for the long haul. Now I just need to master this language. :D

I'll keep updating as much as possible, but it might be long between because of how busy we are. Peace!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Seoul has got Soul

Not like we're exploring the city or anything, but I'm totally putting it on my map of places I've been... sorta. :) Chillin' in the airport for now. Flight is at 6:30p, and it's 5:10p right now. My time zone sense has gone totally out the window after flying from EST to Cali time (pacific?) and now to Korean time, which is the same as Japan (13 hours ahead of EST).

It's pretty funny traveling in a group of 70+ people, of which yesterday one of the speakers said it was like "herding cats". Um, familiar much? ;) So after another 12-hour flight, I feel like I never left Japan (Koreans look markably different than Japanese, however), except I can't speak any Korean. And also, too tired to drag out my camera for any sort of pictures. Don would be sad.

Ok, maybe some pictures. We'll see.


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

Here I am, sitting in my hotel room in San Francisco. No time to check out the trollies, though. Orientation was all day today.

Saying goodbye to everyone was really, really hard. I know it's not forever, and we're going to be (hopefully) talking throughout my service, but it's difficult to imagine that I can't just call up someone or hang out with my family anytime I want. Meh.

And uh, thank GOD for Melanie, for her text message woke me up because my alarm didn't! I obviously got there on time and ok, but that was a little scary there for a while.

Everyone seems really awesome, and there's even a guy who was a photographer and a healthie as well! So I predict I will be getting some lessons and keeping up with my photography! A bunch of us went to a reaaaally good burger place (seems really local), and I can already tell I'm going to miss it. Hm.

AH! ADDRESS! Here is my (temporary) address, please no packages but pictures, letters and perhaps hard candy (for my host fam) would be much appreciated:

Katarzyna M Borkowski PCT
Post Office Box 1036
Central Post Office
Ulaanbaatar 15160
Mongolia (via China)

Katarzyna M Borkowski PCT
Знх Tайвaн Кopпyc
Tөв Шyyдaн
Шyyдaнгийи xaйpцaг 1036
Улaaнбaaтap 15160
Moнгoл Улc
Mongolia (via China)

NOTE! Probably easier if:
-Use a FLAT RATE box!! It will be cheaper with sending packages!
-Write out (or type is easier) BOTH the addresses!
-If using a package, wrap the whole thing in clear tape many times... a lot of the packages get opened in-transit.

That's all for now. I'll see ya'all on the flip side (aka SOUTH KOREA AND MONGOLIA!)