Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Howling ghost they reappear, in mountains that are stacked with fear

We did a trip! Check out the map (thanks to Krista!):

Where we went: Sumber soum (red dot) and Buir Lake (blue dot), Ikh Burkant (purple dot),

We were in Dornod, the province above mine. It borders both Russia and China, and we were (obviously) so close to the China side that we needed special permission from the government to be there. Even Ellen, our (now former!) Country Director, had to write a letter saying that we were cool and not spies for America or whatever. 

It was a looong ride (~8 hours) each way, and being only a two day trip, my tailbone was a bit bruised. It was some good times though. We even camped outside and made SMORES. Over a REAL ((cow-dung)) CAMPFIRE! I hadn't had smores in over 2 years (maybe 3?)... it was magical.

Anyway, to spare you the history lesson about this (turns out, extremely important) World War II battle site, read the wiki: 

Now! For pictures! (Pro tip: clicking on the picture makes it big and it seems to look better... at least on my work computer)

Actually in Dornod...
On a tank, also like a BOSS
Jess, lookin' good with her kitty umbrella... 
And me, lookin' not so good with my kitty umbrella... (I had a bum toe from a huge blister from the build, and it was HOT outside and I'm trying not to get sunburned. This was from when we were waiting for a ride back to the city after watching the horse race)
Aaaand here's Chris, in our ride back to the city. We're in a "pick-up" truck of sorts, probably more suitable for livestock.
Ok, NOW we're on our way east!
Past a many military checkpoints...
And FLAT open steppe.
I liked tree pictures this trip apparently. 
Near a mosquito-infested river! (It was really quite nice, but I still have bite-scars)
Our porgon, from faaar away.
Grave/memorial sites
Buddha on a hill (that we apparently weren't supposed to be on...? told to us after the fact) 
Really awesome.
Aaaand a huge lake that's connected to China. Which we apparently were also not supposed to swim in, also told to us after the fact!

Now that (my) Ellen has left... what is there for me to do? Apparently blogging and waiting for Naadam to be over so I can finish my project are the appropriate actions. Also, watching WWII documentaries. SO much I didn't know about it! I felt quite stupid. I need to take some more history classes.

Alrighty. Over and out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July, July, it never seemed so strange.

Since it's the end of July, most M21s have left... I missed most of the TEFL goodbyes because of camp and the like, and it's been really strange knowing I can't text or call people like I used to. The goodbyes have been strange, too, knowing that I'm staying.

And now it's nearly my turn to say goodbye to my community, as I move to UB. Considering the amount of times I almost started crying at work on Friday, I'm thinking this is going to be tougher than I thought. I really, really adore my hospital and my community and I'll miss being here everyday. This Peace Corps poster really sums it up well:

"The most difficult challenge is leaving."

Speaking of goodbyes, there was one that I didn't get to do- Mika. During my trip in UB/Dornod, I received a frantic call from my site mate saying that he had gone missing from my apartment. We think since he knew this time was growing ever closer to part with me, he decided to do it prematurely... and jump out the 3rd story window. There haven't been traces of him since, but I hope he's happy, where ever he is! God speed, you crazy bastard cat. :(

There are so many things I'd like to write about, but I'll save it for later. I'll basically be an emotional wreck for the next 3 weeks, so ignore the screams as it were. Instead, here are some photos from Ellen and I's trip to the countryside with my counterparts in late June:

He is my squishy and he will be mine. And he will be my squishy. (One week old kid!)

Milking a cow... LIKE A BOSS

And one more photo from Dornod's Naadam:

Happy Naadam! :)