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