Wednesday, September 22, 2010

They made a statue of us and put it on a mountain top...

I had the strangest thoughts when I was walking back to work after lunch today. I somehow had a train of thought that was about the future, and what was going to happen, or if it would happen. And then I suddenly felt lost, like a small child, like those ideas I was thinking about were so far ahead in the future that I couldn’t possibly be that old yet. I then thought about what I had already accomplished in my life (which, sure, it seems like quite a bit I suppose), but that I really have much more and I have no clue how I am going to fit it all in. And then I felt depressed.

Blame it on the sad British pop I was listening to.

Speaking of which, I’ve given that 500 Days of Summer movie another try, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was initially. I like playing it in the background for the music. I hate to say it (Ellen will yell), but Regina Spektor is slowly crawling to a predominate place on my playlist.

At the time of writing, I am at work. I supposed to be working on a translation for my English class that starts next month. There is a huge stack of meat on the windowsill to the right of me. I love this country, truly. There’s always at least one happening a day that reminds me that I’m on the other side of the world from everyone I know.

The heat is going to be turned on next month, which for the past week I am looking forward to. I can even tell you the last hot day- last Monday. Ever since then it has been 60’s, 50’s-ish, and I’ve been missing the sounds of the kids at the square late at night as I fall asleep. That has been replaced by Mika making a racket in the hallway. Mika has been doing well, and he loves playing in his litterbox of dirt a little too much. At least he’s white and not brown like when I got him!

Right now it is freaking freezing in our work room. Even during the days that it was in the 80’s, this room was freaking cold, making my nose and fingers cold. And you all know how much I hate when my nose and fingers are cold! Tuya, Altansuvd and I have been taking to boiling lots of tea in the past couple days. I don’t exactly have a jacket (unless I want to wear my hard-core winter one now), but one of these days my friend Dava is taking me to meet a lady who can sew a coat for me.

What I would give for my hot tub right now. Ah, that would be wonderful. Anyway, I shouldn’t complain because it’s gonna get a hell of a lot colder. Then I will complain haha.

I just saw the most glorious bathroom ever, in the pediatric ward. I wish I could upload a picture, but it had two washer machines, a lovely toilet with seat cover, and possibly the most beautiful shower I have seen in Mongolia. Scratch that, it is the best bathroom I’ve seen besides my host family’s bathroom. That shower had (what looked like) hot water (probably from separate boiler), with glass doors and removable shower head.

(Written the next day) We got internet at work yesterday at the end of the day… currently installing the required Yahoo messenger. My M20 site mates joked that when you come to site, the Mongolians actually only make sure you have three things- a place to live, a door to that place, and Yahoo messenger.

Last night was a bit rough. I got home after going to the meat market with Altansuvd, which I’ve been before, but I’ve always been on weekends where no one was there. Today, however, I was slapped in the back with dead sheep bodies no more than 5 times because it was so crowded. Hm. I got a kilo of some mystery meat (I think it was goat) for Mika, and when I got home I discovered there was no water. I got it back this morning, but it was a little sad having meat fingers and having to use my nice filtered water to wash with.

THEN since it’s been so cold, I remembered I had my space heater… so I turned it on and WHAM YES HEAT… for 30 seconds. Then it died. But it started back up this morning just fine, so… I think I had a shitty night I suppose!

‘Tis all for now. Going to work on my English lessons (class starts next week, ahh!).

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm the hero of this story, I don't need to be saved...

The internet has once again hindered all my productivity including doing blog posts. Hm.

Things I do on the internet:
-Facebook (sad I know)
-Email and lots of it
-Various message boards

And I'm about to get internet at work as well... which actually would be a good thing, because I could do grant stuff and look up English language activities. Instead of trying to think of my own and using the same book and playing spider solitaire. Actually, the spider solitaire thing won't change. I don't have it on my mac, and I love it so! Along with hearts. I will kick your ass around the corner if you dare to play hearts with me.

Anyway, today was pretty darn busy. I taught a bunch of English to one of my counterparts, and then in the afternoon I met with an english teacher who is going to help me with grammar explanations (because I seriously need it- present perfect WHAT). Days have been going pretty steady now, but it's still going to take some time before I figure all this stuff out.

This weekend I was SIIICK as a dog. Food poisoning, I suspect. For sure the worst I've felt since I've been in Mongolia, but nothing life threatening or anything.

In other news, I HAVE A KITTEN! My site mate Todd had the hook-up from one of the teachers at his school. I have named him Mika, for he reminds me of the singer. He is a little storm, as all kittens are. I actually have to stop every other sentence to either stop him from climbing all over the keyboard or clawing my leg off. This thing does not stop purring, it's so adorable. This morning he feel asleep in my arm and was half-purring still. So. Cute.

Weird thought today as I was going through my photos... I've definitely grown a shit ton in my ability to take actually ok photographs since I started only a couple years ago. Man I love this hobby.

What a not insightful blog post. Oh well. Maybe next time with more detail!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

No one needs to know we're feeling higher, and higher and higher

September already? Oi geez.

At the time of writing, it is September 1st. That can only mean one thing for children this time of year- the first day of school! (And it is for the whole country!) I looked out my window this morning while I was making breakfast only to see moms with their children dressed up in their best suits. Usually that time in morning is populated by the old men stooping across the road at the social insurance building. They are interesting to watch too, really. But anyway, while I was walking to work I could see one of the schools decked out in balloons and tents with Akon blasting in the background. Huh. I wonder if the parents are excited for them to get back to school like American parents.

Not much is happening at the moment. My hospital is pretty busy this month because inspectors are coming mid-month for accreditation purposes. Kind of like JCAHO, I suppose? Anyway, I’m kind of finding my own stuff to do, like helping out with English classes at the schools or whatnot.

This past weekend was interesting- Saturday, the whole town had a huge celebration to commemorate the Mongolian win against the Japanese that ended in 1945 (World War II? My counterparts said no, so there must be some history that I’m missing?), also the 5 year anniversary of the zinc mine that is near my city.

So bright and early, my counterparts (CPs) look me to a part of the steppe just outside the city to watch two horse races- one for “older” horses, around 6 years, and one for “younger” horses- 2 years old. All the horses are manned by children (so maybe the word should be “childrened”?), and sometimes that’s a problem because with the more competitive races the parents might pull the children out of school to practice. Anyway, the race was as cool as ever, you could start to see the cloud of dust rising from the horizon, which meant they were probably 10 or 15 minutes away yet. The dust isn’t just from the horses- they are also from ambulance and police cars, waiting in case a child falls from the horse (which isn’t uncommon- you see horses come back rider-less all the time).

After the races, there was a… um, not sure what you would call this, not a demonstration because that sounds like there was riot or something. I guess the closest phrase would be “military parade”. Basically, the military put on a show to show off their mad skills, like punching through fire bricks (for reals), saving people from terrorists (complete with fake rounds in their guns that scared the kiddies as well as my CP), and parachuting into the square. Actually, I’m not totally sure what the point was, but I was quite impressed with it all.

A couple hours later there was a military concert at the theater. It was jam-packed with Mongolian dances (which I absolutely love, I can’t get enough), singing and Mongolian instruments (which I also love!). There was supposed to be another show in the square that evening, but the weather was pretty crappy and freakishly windy.

Sunday was spent doing a lot of cooking and a whole lot of nothing, ha! I have started to become a chef, and I imagine that when I get back home I’ll have a whole slew of recipes I can use. I think we really take what we have for granted- I’m lucky because in this town we have quite a range of food options, including brown sugar (!!), and the occasional chicken drumstick. Oh, and I’m for the most part vegetarian now since I’m mostly too lazy to prepare meat. Mmmm eggs and peanuts. Anyways anyways (aww I miss Oogii), I made honey-Dijon chicken with veggies and rice pudding for dessert. Hells yeah!! I. Am. Awesome.

Lately I’ve been a little lazy, because I’ve mostly been eating fried potatoes with ketchup and lots veggie melts (grilled cheese with veggies in them… mmm). Need to expand my horizons!

Even though I’m a health volunteer, I’m going to be teaching a loooot of English. I don’t mind, though. Today I was talking with my counterpart and the ENT doctor (ear/nose/throat) and the doctor had just completed a two month course on English, so that kind of made her even with me in terms of language. Anyway, we somehow got on the topic of how you pronounce “corps” (as in Peace Corps). In English you don’t pronounce it with the ‘S’, but in Mongolian you do. So anyway, the doctor looks up the Mongolian word for “corps” and my CP and her keep saying corps with an ‘S’. So she hands me the dictionary and points to an unfamiliar Mongolian word. Next to it is “corpse”. Ugui! (No!) We all laughed pretty darn hard though. Just goes to show you that English is HARD (and so is Mongolian… the words for “husband” and “dog,” as well as the words for “sheep meat” and “human meat” are crazy similar).

Das ist alles (for now!). Love you all :D