Sunday, December 5, 2010

I've just seen a face...

Today, I've been in Mongolia 6 months. Wow. Half a year. Time has been flying, and I suspect that soon enough I'll be on that plane back to America to visit, and quickly after that my family and friends will be visiting. :) It's gonna be a good year already.

Thanksgiving was in a word… spectacular. I have to say, though, I really missed my family. It’s hard enough without dad around, and I have to imagine it was different for them as well since I wasn’t there. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite (I mean, next to Christmas)… baking, watching football, relaxing with some cheese and crackers and shrimp (mmm), and passing out or going to a movie afterwards. Basically just one whole day of nothing but family. Spending time away from my family makes me realize more that you have to keep them close. :) That’s probably why I call them all the time! They were super turkey-coma-ed when I did talk to them over Thanksgiving, however, haha :)

Ashley and I on our way to UB!

So my Thanksgiving- spend with over 100 ‘Mmerricans at the apartment complex that houses all the embassy workers. It all started last Wednesday when I traveled to Khentii to see my dearest healthie girl, Ashley… I don’t think we stopped talking the entire time! So much to catch up on! The next day we took the early bus (HOLY CRAP IT WAS COOOLD) to UB, where it was slightly warmer. I got a nice warm welcome from my healthie guys, and a nice clean bed (thankfully- they had told me it was trashed from the night before, but the lady who runs the hostel cleaned up… they said tried to clean up for me though, so that was nice). First order of business- burgers at AB&F. My first red meat in months. Oh so good.

Thanksgiving dinner. MMMM
Ok, I don’t really want to bore you with the extra details, but the rest of the weekend was spent spending a shit ton of money (UB, I swear just GRABS it from you… mostly because of food and drinks you haven’t been able to have… MMM pizza and SALAD!), drinking (anything but vodka, thanks!), dancing, catching up with “old” friends, and getting to know ones I hadn’t known too well before. Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful, and I was so geeked with seeing everyone that I didn't go get seconds... I miss that turkey already.

My host family! (Minus my dad)
On Sunday I traveled down to Zuunmod to see my host family, which was an adventure in itself. I’m so proud of myself for getting down there and back safely… not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous, but my crappy Mongolian skills win again! I first met up with Oogii, and we talked and walked to my host family’s apartment. It was strange, yet… not, being in Zuunmod. It was so nice to see someplace so familiar, like going home after college, yet it seemed so in the past that I had forgotten it somehow. Walking up the stairwell seemed so natural, even though it had been over 3 months since I had last done it… I even remembered to avoid the hole in the 2nd set of stairs. And my host family- they’ve changed too- my littlest duu had his ceremonial hair cut a couple of months prior and could TALK (!!), my older duu was getting taller, my host mom’s hair was much longer, and my host dad looked a lot better than he did before (he had a major surgery not that long before I got to Mongolia). It was such a nice visit. They kept saying how thin I was getting (hah), how I should wear more clothes because it’s cold, how I should eat more meat (I got the 3rd degree on that one), and how my Mongolian has gotten a lot better (that’s a bit surprising, really, doesn’t seem like it). I miss them all, and I told them I’ll come back in January for a weekend or so. Jugi (older duu) was sad I couldn’t stay a couple days to go ice skating with him… next time!
Oogii and Ochiko!

At this time of writing, I’m listening to my coworker listen to “Jingle Bell Rock” through her headphones and sing along with the words I typed out for her. I’m going to be teaching some Christmas carols to my classes, which should be a fun time… I love carols! Suvdaa said that maybe if we practice, we’ll do a song for the Shin-Jil (New Year) party at the hospital! Who knows... I’ll keep you updated on that one.

In less than a week and a half, we do it all again… back to UB for PC training. I’m just recovering from the smog there… UGH… we described it as being in permanent bon-fire smoke that you can’t get away from. My throat is not doing too well, and I’m coughing, but other than that, I’m doing well. Hopefully it’ll clear up before I have to go back. I hope Mika will be ok… I’m either going to take him with me to get him sniped-sniped, or I’ll do it in January when I go back to visit my host family.

Karaokeing it up.
Some other stuff cool that’s going on: 1) I’m going to be doing nursing lectures at one of the hospitals in UB where a PCV is now. My first one is going to be after training, and I’m quite nervous, but I think it’ll be a great experience since I want to maybe be a nursing instructor one day. 2) Currently in my 4th year of internet secret santa… I got a dude from the UK, so hopefully he’ll be cheaper to ship to! I hope I get something good too : ) 3) My Christmas tree is up! Ok, so it’s not mine, it’s Alex’s, but he’s going home for Christmas and he said I could borrow it! It really makes things look more festive. 4) I got Mika this cute blue collar… he is turning into such a fattie though. Oi. I’m not even feeding him that much!

Finer Things Club: Mongolia.
I really need to start taking more pictures, I am lazing about for serious. I’m a little paranoid about taking my nice camera out into the cold of Mongolia, but after seeing some of my fellow photographer friends do it, I think I’ll do a walk after it snows sometime. If it ever snows, I mean… it has, just hasn’t melted since it’s been consistently running around ZERO degrees F for the past month. Alex said the average temp in Mongolia is zero degrees C (freezing) because of the huge range… we were at nearly 100 F this summer, and now we’ll be at -40 F in the winter. Crazy, huh? Apparently when you get down to those cold temperatures, it just feels freaking cold and doesn’t differentiate itself, like being in the negatives and the single digits can feel different.

So for today, I’m gonna be super productive (I love Sundays, they are MY DAY and I usually spend them cleaning and/or doing nothing) and do my laundry, and write Christmas cards. ^^ Watch for those in the mail people! Also I wouldn’t mind getting some as well. :) Love to ya’all and happy holidays!

Also bonus pic of Mika and his new collar... he's getting so big!!

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