Sunday, June 27, 2010


Sunday morning/early afternoon. Looking over some language sctuff but cant really find the motivation to keep working on it. In a little bit im going to go bug my host father to play a game of watap (shatar, aka chess) I played the oldest daughter a few days ago and she wasn't too bad, surprised me really. Wouldn't surprise me if the dad beats my teeth in judged on how much the daughter knows. I havnt had a whole lot of communication with the father yet. Apparently the mother is a kindergarten teacher, so I think patience is instilled in her a little bit. If I can get her to slow down when she talks I can usually figure out what shes talking about, as long as they are reasonably tangible things. I can also understand most question words by now, and the nouns during family communication are usually them, you, me, etc, or household items that I mostly know by now, so my lack of vocab surrounding nouns isnt very important. Usually the verb is something I need to figure out, especially with the different tenses that can really change the sound of them. But, if I can understand 4 out of 5 words in a sentence I can usually put it together, especially if there is a little miming involved. Still mentally draining though. After a half hour or so of really trying to communicate, I practically need to lay down for a few minutes.

Yesturday I went outside to get some exercise on the dilapidated playground equipment still left around the school from the soviet era. A set or two of monkey bars is all thats really left by the school...there are two other places around town that have newer equipment though. But whateva... on the way to the school, a couple of kids were playing some basketball on a court across the block from the school. One of them yelled something and said basketball and if I played, or something along those lines. The kids were probably 12, give er take a year. The one spoke reasonable broken english. Ended up shooting around with them and playing some 2 on 2 and then 3 on 3 for a bit. I had a good foot on any of them there so I had to take it easy, did a lot of passing so it wasnt overkill. They dont play with a take back line here so its kind of a clusterfuck, but works reasonably smooth when you get into it. And they play to 6, not 7 or 11.
Apparantly the one boy that started talking to me was my host fathers little brother. But, brother and sister are kind of loose terms here... I dont know if that means he really is his brother or if thats his cousin or what. Anyways, he knew who I was, asked if Tuul (in the english alphabet, dont have the letters for it in cyrillic) was my mother. He also knew that I played guitar and was learning the morin khuur.
Its weird how things work in a small town like this, especially when families are so big. Everybody knows eachother, and when something different is happening, everybody knows about it. It's hard for me to say exactly how he would know about me personally like that. It could either be somebody that the boy that is giving me lessons on the morin khurr knows, family talked to him, daughter/daughters know him, my language teacher knows them, or even a combination of some sort.
We were told, and kinda warned, about this. People are always observing or looking at whats going on. Shop keepers know a lot of people, people at the markets, at the bars, etc., and people talk. You need to think about what kind of impression you are giving off at all times. Say you go and buy a lot of booze, people are going to know. Buy some kind of strange food all the time, people are going to know. Id say this will especially be the case when I get to whatever cite im going to, givin its not my current town. The place Im staying at the moment is a reasonably bigger town, but still very small against any kind of american standard.


After dinner I went over to a half basketball court around where I live. There were a few people playing there that looked like they were older and had some decent game that I could actually play against. there were 4 people playing 2 on 2, and about 5 other younger kids just kinda sitting around watching. I sat with them and watched the guys play, then when the game was over one guy that knew some english asked if I wanted to play.
Gamed up on some three on three mongolian style. I still dont know for sure if I have to take the ball back or not. Whatever though, the first couple games went alright. Made some shots, bricked off a decent bit of layups as usual, but ya boy plays some solid D so it was all good. By the third game though I couldn't catch my breath at all, I was literally seein stars. I still dont think my lungs have accounted for this air. And the dudes I were playing against noticed it too. They were probably around 18 or 19, maybe 20, and the one dude just kept posting me up and playing me hard as hell. By the time that game was over I was about to die, and they were barely breathing hard.
Was all good though. I had been told that playing hoops with some of the locals might get a little rough, them sizing us Americans up and all. It's a bit of a balancing act... I dont want to come off like a hardass but I dont want to bitch up, either. After the game was over, the one dude that knew English pretty well, Ogii, said we should go drink some beers. I said I couldnt and that my stomach was fucked up, which it kinda is, but its a bit taboo/rude to turn down alcohol here. I told him later this week or this weekend we could drink a few beers if he was around. I dont have a cellphone though, so we took a ride in his car to show me where he lived with one of his other friends.
This was a bit shady, to be honest. If I would have had a wallet on me or anything really expensive other than my keys I would have been a bit more worried. All kinda part of the process though. I'm going to have to meet people and go places I'm not completely familiar with, and also trust my instincts. Anyways, went and checked out this dudes house. Was a pretty big place comparatively, and met his mom briefly. She had a pretty solid "what the fuck" look on her face whenever I walked inside with Ogii.
When we were sittin around shootin the shit for a bit she gave me a huge bowl of tapar, (taragk) which is mongolian yogurt. I still havnt figured out exactly how this stuff is made and how sanitary it is. Whatever the case, I can't not take it, and I can't not eat it after I take it. Tapar isn't bad, its actually really good if you can mix a little bit of sugar into it. This was straight up, and tasted a little bit sour. Again though, no choice. Especially for white food in Mongolia, you don't waste any of it, so I had to plow down this huge bowl of yogurt after playing some intense basketball games.
As of now my the yo' is sittin in my stomach. I'm worried it might not be the case come tomorrow evening, but I guess there's only one way to find out. A few people I know have had some sort of GI issues already. The PCMO (peace corps medical officer) practically guaranteed everybody we would deal with GI issues at some point.
The past few days my belly has been feelin' a bit off, though. Lots of gas, actually. I thought a couple of times it was going to turn serious but it held together. Funny thing is, in Mongolia, farting is not a big deal at all. My host father has ripped a few at dinner time and it doesnt even turn a head or cause a giggle or anything. I took straight advantage today in class. The Americans are looking at me like "what the hell was that" and the teacher just doesn't miss a beat and keeps on teaching. This was clutch, too, because every time I had to fart it was an emergency. Sometimes you find a different cultural norm you can really get used to.


Tired as hell. For some reason last night I could not fall asleep... just couldn't get my mind to slow down. Finally passed out around 230 or so, and naturally today was less than pleasant. The mood swings here are pretty strange for me... almost seems like if I have a good day, the next day im going to be dragging, and visa versa. Even though I'm completely aware of whats happening its still hard to change the fact that it's happening. Forcing myself to get some exercise on the bad days helps, maybe having another cup of coffee in the afternoon will help as well, but it only goes so far.
Yesterday, for instance, playin hoops, makin friends, had a great day in the language classes, and was able to have some decent conversation with my host family members. Today my head's too tired to think, I dont feel like talking in Mongolian, or really doing anything else for that matter. Currently I'm trying to stay awake until it gets dark so I dont wake up in the middle of the night. At least as the process goes on I know that they are just swings and it will level out. Earlier in the month when I was feeling low I would start wondering if it's going to stay that way.
All in all, I'm still under the impression that living is living. Locations don't really matter a whole lot, or even money, as long as you have enough to eat and get what you really need. The only real differences I can personally see is that new places lead to greater variations in moods. Back home in pittsburgh it was pretty straight forward; days wernt every really bad, but they usually wernt anything really fantastic, either. A pretty straight line. In cali, at the beginning of things, I had a lot of the same feelings I do here. By the end of the road there it was starting to settle down and feel like home even there. Days just started melting together. The only variable I've ever noticed to have a severe affect on mood is relationships.
I guess when it boils down I'm still just not ready to settle down in one spot yet, but I kinda wish I was. Being happy is happy, and it seems like if I could be happy staying in one spot for an extended period of time it would be an easier life. One of my biggest worries that remains here for me is being content staying in the same area for 2 years. If I start to get itchy feet in the middle of a -40 degree winter it's going to make things difficult. But I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.


Been pretty hot here these last few days... thankfully it stays dry and there is usually a pretty nice breeze coming through. Havn't made it outside yet today, but the last few days the sun was pretty strong. My one friend told me he saw the forecast, and after converting to F, it was around 96 er so. The days are so long here in the summer too because of how far north it is. It doesnt really get dark until about 10, and its already starting to get light out around 430 or so. In the winter, apparently it's about the opposite. With how the weather has been lately its hard to imagine how its going to be in a few months time.

Right now out in the kitchen my host mom is boiling up something gnarly that is going to be dinner im sure. This dude showed up earlier, who I believe is my host moms little brother, and he had a plastic bag full of meat/meat parts. What my Eej was boilin up looked like some kind of stuffed organs, cause they were tied off. Didnt smell too fantastic, especially because the house is warm right now because of the weather. Might get a little crazy later... I guess we'll see. Trying to at least let my body taste a lot of different foods around here, no matter how gnarly. I figure in the winter if I get shanghaied somewhere in the middle of nowhere, my body will need to know what nutrients are from what so I can crave the right things. Veggies will be scarce, so probably better I have other ways to get vitamins and minerals.
I havn't really had too much crazy shit to eat yet, though... a lot of mutton, potatoes, noodles/dough, carrots, onions, rice, and some eggs, some beef. and yogurt. We also got a bit of milk here a couple days ago, which I think came from my host mom's mom's place, although I'm not positive. It tastes a lot different from milk in the US, and my stomach doesn't quite treat it as well either. Paid for it the first day when I drank a bunch of it, so Im trying to just drink about a half a cup a day and see if I can adjust to it or not. Giving up milk would be a tough one for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Monday here, and back to full days of class. 9-1 of Mongolian in the morning, and then from 230-530 of technical training sctuff with business. My head is fried by the time I get home and it makes it even more difficult to communicate with my family. I did help make dinner tonight, which was xyywyyp (pronounced khuushuur), and was very good. It's fried dough filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, some meat, and some other stuff im a bit unsure of. I think the meat we had tonight was beef... for the last few days I think it was mutton that had been the main meat in the dishes. My host mothers cooking is pretty good. Most of what I've had so far have been soups/poridges, and I've ate a lot more vegitables than I thought I would. During the orientation days the teachers/trainers made it seem like it would be rice and meat. Or just meat, for that matter.
It's no wonder why, either. I just looked out my window a few minutes ago and saw a full sized cow eating some grass in my backyard area. While visiting a greenhouse today during my technical training, which involved visiting a few small NGO's around town, I passed heards of cows, goats, sheep, and horses. All of which are good eatin' here. Have yet to try the horse, but my host mother asked me if I liked it. I told her I had never ate it so I didnt know, but that I eat/like everything. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as elegant in my Mongolian. But whateva, I feel like it will be on the menu at some point, as I'm sure yak and camel will be if I get out in the boonies a little bit more. And hey, it's all free range organic.

I started bugging my language teacher today about where I could get mopNH xyyp (except the N is backwards, prononced Morin Khuur, with the R rolled) lessons around town, which is something I really, really want to learn. Google either that or horsehead fiddle to get an idea of it and also why I really want to get into it if yer curious. The winters are long and cold here, and outdoor activities will probably be limited. The last few winters here have been especially harsh, and it wouldn't surprise me if it coninuted this winter. Its called a zud in Mongolian, and it's practically a natural disater here. The ground hardens too much, or too much snow, and the livestock cant get food. People lost entire heards, lost everything. I've heard this last winter over 10,000,000 livestock died... which is a lot for a country with around only 3m people. It wouldnt surprise me if my job ended up being something with herders.
Anyways, couple the gnarly -40 degree winters with having no internet and living alone, I'm going to need some hobbies to keep from going insane. I figure my geetar, the Khuur, and maybe a set of cross country skiis will take the edge off. Also hoping to be in a position to build some decent friendships with local people by that time as well so ill have people to hang with. The more I reflect on why I'm here and whats important to me, building relationships with real people is, I think, my main motivation.
I want to live here, I don't want to just be staying here for 2 or 3 years. I dont mean I want to stay here for the rest of my life, I dont know what I want to do, but I want to have it feel like I've moved here. For example, studying abroad... It was always just like a long vacation or something. In the back of my head I knew I was just leaving in four months. I guess I think the best way to do this is to first, not make plans or try to decide what I want to do after, and to also build real relationships with local people. Preferably with herders, people based in agricultural business, etc. I'd like to move away from the business thing a little bit. Not that I dont think building relationships with counterparts in a more... professional? business setting isnt important, which it is, I just don't want to be some educated american in a suit. It would also be rewarding for me to kinda break that American stereotype as well. I want to work with my hands with other people and get my hands dirty, something I always liked while installing carpet.
At the moment, I'm interested in a more simple sort of life, and would like to live it to the fullest for a while. My eventual position will not be something labor based, my education and knowledge surrounding free market economys will undoubtedly be used, but I guess I just hope that it leaves room. In conjunction with my main position, the peace corps also requires me to begin a community based project, which seems to be wide open to possibilities. Even if my postion isn't something im super excited about, it seems there will be other ways for me to mold my experience into something I can meet some more personal goals with.
Alright, enough from me. This took way to long to type up. Eruka keeps busting into my room half naked and slapping keys on my computer. Typing and playing the guitar with her around are a exercises in futility. She almost deleted everything at least once... but alas, if you've seen the picture, Im sure you get why theres nothing i can do.


The weather is strange here. The day will start off and it seems like its going to be really hot, and then a strong wind will start blowing through and it will cool off a good 10 or 15 degrees. The last few days its been really windy, and a lot of times it will look like rain is coming any second. You can see the rain out in the distance is obviously falling, but I think what happens is it evaporates before it hits the ground because its so dry out here. In short, its generally pretty comfortable for the bis.cas. I have to wear to classes/training. At night, a hoodie and jeans does the trick just fine.

Found out today my host mother knows a little bit of guitar. I was pretty shocked when she picked it up and started strumming a bit. No hendrix by any means, but it seemed like she knew where to put her fingers for a couple of chords. From what I could understand, I think she used to play a little bit about 20 years ago. The family was in my room, and she started to play a few single notes that put together a part of a kids song she played and sung for Eruka. I keep trying to get Eruka to strum while i change the finger positions for chords, but she usually just grabs the strings or bangs out one or two and quits. In time I guess.
In addition to the guitar, the mother and the rest of the family also like playing on my iphone. A few different games on there have been a pretty big hit, and I'm glad it can get some use. At the moment, its really just a glorified gameboy and an alarm clock. Not having to worry about people calling is nice, but I do kinda miss the email and most definitley the news from it. I really miss the news. Back in the states that's what I would start off my morning with... couple cups of coffee, read over bloomberg, and hit up a few other sites for current events (i.e. digg and reddit). Here I either put something on on my computer or play the ol' geetar before heading to language class.
After some thinking, learning the language here is the hardest mental thing ive ever had to do. Its exhausting. Some mornings I wake up and get to class and start thinking to myself this is never going to work and I'm never going to pick it up. An hour later I'll be thinking that I can learn this stuff and I'll be convorsational in a few weeks. Starting from nothing makes it even worse. There are sometimes I get stuck and have no idea how to communicate something, and my brain reverts back to how to say something in German. Apparantly the 4 years that I slept through in highschool ended up sticking a little bit.


Half hour before dinner and I'm not sure what I should be doing so I'm going to write a bit. The mongolian way is to not really mind bounderies in houses, e.g. go into rooms without knocking, not really care. But where I'm staying it seems reasonably americanized, at least as far as family norms go... so sometimes i feel weird walking in their room if a few of them are in the living room, which is also their bedroom. In any other house I'd do it, but they dont really do it to me so I feel strange doing it to them.
I found out yesturday that they had previously hosted a peace corps volunteer here. Which makes sense because its been so smooth here. Some of my other friends have had some pretty strange experiences at their homes. I have warm water, a sit down toilet, and some other things like that that a lot of people dont. I'll take what I can get during my host family experience. It will be lot easier to deal with bathing in a plastic washbin, washing clothes by hand, using an outhouse etc when I'm by myself and dont have to deal with awkward situations.

Started my morin khuur lessons yesturday, and go to another one at 7 again. Pretty cool, and the dude that is giving me lessons is sick with it. Although I havnt really heard any other people play, he seems like he knows his way around the thing pretty well. He'll drop some classical shit, then switch it up to something more tradtional and oriental, then hit something with a bit of jump and funk to it. It's a lot different from the ol' geetar though... instead of pressing down on the strings you just kinda push them or touch them to change the notes. I figure its something like how a cello is played, but Ive never seen one played close enough to say for sure. He's trying teach me to play twinkle twinkle little star to start things off. I asked him if he played guitar and he said no, but told me to bring it tonight. So im figuring well spend sometime with me learning the khuur and sometime with me teaching him the geetar. He speaks about as much english as I do mongolian, and maybe a little less at this point. The peace corps is paying for my lessons, which I'm assuming was set up at about 1000 or 1500 torpor (pronounces tugrik, and except the o's arnt o's, they are o's with a line through them... like a theta sign if a theta sign is what I think it is) an hour.
I think tomorrow I'm going to this one guy's shop that makes them and is supposed to be real nice playing them as well. Bring a language teacher with me so I can communicate a bit. The dude custom makes them, but they cost anywhere form 150,000 torpor, to 700,000 + depending on how nice you want them to be. Ill probably shoot for one in the 300,000 range, which will be a very nice instrument. The US dollar is ~1400T right now. Still though, a liter sized bottle of water will cost around 600 torpor, and a reasonably expensive full meal here will can be had for 1400-2000 T. So 200$ - 250$ will buy a very very nice instrument. I'll probably drive my host family crazy playing it... maybe ill be able to rig up some sort of mute on it.

6-18 - the AM

My sleep schedule still isnt completely right. I usually try to drag it out around 730 or 745 depending on how many times i hit the snooze, but I start waking up around 6 or so and kinda lay in this light sleep until I finally get up. During it I have a lot of really vivid dreams, and are usually with me back in America somewhere. It's weird because then every morning I wake up I kinda remember all over again that I'm in Mongolia and am nowhere close to home. Sometimes during the night I will lightly wake up and wonder why my bed feels so weird, and then remember why. It can be difficult to get going knowing that there is so much work left to be done before I wont feel like as much of an outsider here.
It already feels like I've been living in this house for so much longer than a week, and taking my language classes for so much longer than a 5 days. It's encouraging to know I've only been here a few days, considering how much I have learned. It's rewarding in class when I'm making sentances and changing the tenses of verbs and modifying sentences for possesvive forms, etc. after only a few days of classes. It's discouraging when I get brought right back down when I still cant communicate for shit with anybody outside of the classroom.
But alas, off to class!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Week or so

The only real noise I can hear right now besides the clucking of keys is the dripping of my water filter. Its strange how quickly you get used to the idea that you must assume that your water is fecaly contaminated. Apparently the soviets thought it was a great idea to put the drainage pipes above the pipes for running water. If it all would have been maintained properly, maybe it wouldnt have been such a big deal. But alas, rust is a killer. The ambient drops do give a nice touch to my new room, anyways.

The room is nice, quite nice. A comfortable single bed, two chairs, a desk, and a small armoire. Included with the drawers is a good sized mirror. From my brief experience in the country, mirrors seem to be an undesired luxury. Either that, or Mongolians just arn’t as vain as Americans. Whatever the case, I was able to look at my body for the first time since I’ve been uprooted. Maybe a little slimmer, but I don’t think I’ve lost more than a pound or two.

My appetite is finally starting to come back. For the first few days, it didnt matter how much I ran, how many push ups I did, or how much or little I had ate that day, I was never hungry. Blame it on the jet lag I guess, which kind of turns into a catch-all for feeling shitty for the few days after you land in a strange place. Constipated? Jet lag. Shitting your brains out? Jet lag/travelers diarea. Tired, anxious, stressed, depressed, irritable? Jet lag.

I never really bought it, though. I passed out in a pharmacudial induced coma on the way from sanfran to Seoul. A xanax, 3 lorazapams, and a single serving bottle of courvoisier to knock them down. 10 of the 12 hours I was out like a light. 4 lorazapams if you count the one I took an hour prior to take off the stem an honest panic attack. I would later be told that the flight attendent cranking her cart off my knee wasnt even enough to wake me up. Good think my friends were there to tell her to stop asking if I was okay and what I wanted to eat. Maybe my coma was a reason I never really felt like I was in another country.

It was dark when I landed in Mongolia, and also a bit rainy if I remember correctly. Whatever the case, the windows were foggy on top of the dark, and the hour bus ride to our dorms was bumpy as hell. I was still fading in and out of sleep, so I just figured it was a poorly paved road. Even when I got out at the dorms it was too dark to see in the distance, and was too tired and exhausted to care. It wasnt until the next morning I walked outside around sunrise and saw that the bus had literally drove through the hills and meadows for a while in an unpaved road and dropped us off at a town that popped up. An audible “holy fuck” ensued.

Rolling hills for the entire distance speckled with grass. Cows wondering whereever there is food, paying no mind to people. The cows are, I think, the funniest part. Sometimes they get out of the feilds and end up in the middle of town, munching on random patches of grass that might pop up. Cheaper than lawnmowers I guess, but its strange to be leaving the market or class and there is just a cow hangin’ out gettin some grub, no big deal. Even stranger is that its not even strange until you stop to think about it. They just kind of fit together, and it was never something I had to get used to. It was what it was from day one.

Didnt have to get used to living in the dorms with three other people in my room, either. Straight back to the beginning of college... strange place, strange people, new food, new classes. The first few days pf class were even just like syllabus days. Same ol’ pointless overviews where we talk about what we are going to do before we do it. Never understood why they don’t just give it to us and let us deal with it. All along, still didn’t feel like I was away from home. Sleep schedule was cocked up, but same as it would have been. I’m so used to sleeping nocturnally that if I go to sleep at 9 I wake up at 230am. My body just thinks it’s a nap. But other than that, still got enough sleep, and all was good.

The third night I barely slept. The mattress in the bunk bed I was sleeping on was practically and almost literally a piece of plywood, save the reasonably thick blanket put on top of it as a padding. I was too lazy to lay out my newly received -15C sleeping bag over it for some added comfort. I paid the price. The next day was miserable. Irritable as hell, and borderline hallucinating by the time it was over. You question everything. Why am I here, what am I doing here, two years is a long ass time, this is never going to feel normal, etc. Also the day I decided to first go out into town my myself and try to get my bearings a bit. Went to the post office, where you can get on one of six computers and pay for the internet, and wrote my first email home.

Something about describing how I was doing and how things were different, combined with being sleep deprived and the realization that the email was going a long, long distance was enough to let it sink in that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Anybody that deals with anxiety knows the warm, panicky, kinda dream like reality that comes on when it gets serious. I thought getting outside and getting some fresh air would make fix it, but all of the previously foreign but now local faces just set it in more.

But that’s the worst it got. No breakdown, no real freaking out. Just an overwhelmed feeling for about 10 minutes. That night I slept like a brick, and the next few days were a breeze. Language classes got much easier, and relationships with other people began to click again. But just when you’re about to get comfortable, the end of the week is coming. Along with it, a whole ‘nother set of anxieties that revolve around moving in with a random host family, to a random building, with random family members.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Something is up with the shower room, or at least the room where I would fill up a big plastic tub and use it to bathe myself. It started yesturday when I got home from my four hours of daily language class. There were a couple of dudes in there chiseling away at the wall by the spicket that wern't family members. People are here again today working on it, and I dont have any idea when it might be fixed or whats wrong with it. All I know is im not going in there to take a shower because I dont ask if its broken or not.

I just got finished looking over a few phrase books for about 2.5 hours writing down different things that might be helpful to communicate. Being able to say I'm full, I'm tired, and maybe be able to peice together a phrase to ask if the shower is broken or not will be helpful, among other things. The cyrillic alphabet makes things a lot more difficult to learn. Lots of throat noises, new sounds, and new letters to learn.

Luckily in my host family everybody is eager to help me learn. At the time, its really the only thing we can do together. I was trying to help them make byy3 yesturday (pronounced like boatz, kinda), which are like dumplings, but the only thing I really did well was get in the way. But thats how it is, and I think they all understand that at the moment as well. I've also only spent three days with them, I'm curious how our relationships will be in a few weeks.

The one I'm already getting attached to is Eruka, who is 2 years old, and the youngest of the three daughters I live with. Her cheeks are 90 percent of her face, and are usually about as red as a tomato. The absolute cutest thing I have ever seen. She is just starting to learn mongolian as well, so knows about as much as I do. Which is good, because when shes in the room we can just look at eachother and not have to say anything without it being awkward. Maybe she will throw a ball at me and play some half assed catch, or will repeatedly say "mai" and hand me different things which she expects me to give back in a couple of seconds. She is very friendly to me and not scared at all, which is nice. Pretty curious I guess, but I dont think anymore curious than she would be if a random Mongolian dude moved into her house. Yesturday the mom asked me to put on her shoes. I grabed them, and she knew what was happening so she came up to me. I sat down, she sat on my lap, and then I put her shoes on and finished them off with a double knot. I wish I was a better writer and could explain why that was so touching, or more precisely how completely cute she is.

The oldest daughter, who is 15, knows a small amount of english. Still, she doesn't know much more english than I do Mongolian, but it can still help sometimes. If there is something reasonably important to say, she can at least look something up in a Mongolian dictionary with a translation and get the point across. The first night I was here she taught me a card game with her other sister, and also taught me a game played with the ankle bones of chickens, I beleive. Although I forget what its called in Mongolian, its a game played kinda like the american version of marbles.


Writing this here at the post office before I post everything. Even since yesturday my language has come a long ways. During the week, 4 hours is spent in class everyday on the language alone, technical work related to my business postion is during the afternoons. No, I dont know what im doing yet and wont until the end of the summer. But I digress. Its sunday today, and yesturday I spent about 5 or so hours on language, and today Ive already spent about 2 and its only 1230. Without a doubt the hardest part about being here is not knowing the language... the quicker I get some good bearings with it, the more downhill the rest of my experience will be.
But whateva, about all from me for a little while. Check out some of the pictures I posted on facebook if yer curious, and leave comments. Best wishes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The ol' Disclosure

The thoughts and ideas represented in this blog are those of mine personally, and are not of the United States Peace Corps.

Other things worth saying... I've got to go to the post office to use a computer with internet, so what im doing is typing it all on my computer and then transferring everything over when I do get around to getting on the net. Will probably only be here once or twice a week, so the post will probably be long and cover a few days at a time. Hopefully I'll be able to keep with it. All comments are welcome!