So, officially onto the third hole in my belt today. Sunday I got decked with a pretty gnarly case of food poisoning, and for about 10 hours was in pretty deep despair. I wasn't really mentally tired, but I was too exhausted to get out of bed and do anything except make runs to the bathroom or to go and empty out the pale I kept next to my bed if I couldnt make it to the sink. Definitely the most sick I've been in a very long time. Crazy how quickly it all came on, too. Around 2 in the afternoon I was doin fine, running some errands around town. By the time I got back and settled down though, I started to crash downhill pretty quick. By 6, I was in the depths.
Yesterday morning I didn't make it to my mongolian language classes, but was able to tough it out for an afternoon technical session. Still had, and still do, have a little bit of a fever that comes and goes, and am still a little bit weak. Trying to stick to some plain shortbread type cookies you can get around here and rice, maybe a little bit of apple juice for another day and hope my belly toughens back up. The way I see it though is its better to get sick here then it will be when I'm out at site and have a job and other things to worry about. I'm hoping my body is making adjustments after it's getting sick so at least not all is in vain.
Today was a long day... there was a lot to do and I pretty much ran straight though, and am still tired from getting over being sick in the first place. This evening I had to head over to the post office and polish off a few things on a computer that I need for a presentation I'm giving tomorrow to a small business in town here. Also while I was at the post office I was going to make a phonecall home that has been a whiles in the making. I was originally going to call Sunday night, but unfortunately my body was in the uncomfortable process of evacuation.
I finally got to the post office around 910pm here, which is 910am ET. Tried calling home first to no avail because I hadn't yet got the email that the folks were at home and that my old man's phone might not ring. So, before the post office closed at 10, the goal was to polish off/print out my presentation and a few other things, then still have at least 10 minutes or so to call home before the place closed up shop. After I printed everything off my computer and got off it, I went to the counter to pay for the internet usage and also for the 3 pages I printed out. Fortunately the one lady that worked there spoke English well, because the printer did not have paper loaded and my pages wern't back there. I wouldn't have been able to get close in mongolian if she wasn't there, especially with being tired. Thankfully, with her help though, I guess the print job was stored on the cache in the computer and she was able to print it out, even though the printer ended up being a bit busted and the type was smeared all down the right side of the page.
After everything finally got all sorted out with the computer and got printed what I could, it was about 945 and I tried to call home again using the one phone that is in the post office. For some reason or another, the phone is rather picky about when it wants to work. I think the most of it is my ignorance about it... I've began to come to the conclusion you need to wait a minute or two after you pick it up for it to connect to a network. After I got it to finally work and got a call placed in time to where I would be able to chat for a few minutes, something happened with the connection between the phone here and the phone at home to where it was only the "hello's" and then the phone disconnected. At this point, the place is going to be closing down soon, and I don't have enough time to wait for the phone to want to work again. I figured I'd just head back to my house here and try to use the phone with my calling card here.
Back at my house, I didnt want my family thinking that I'm using their phone to make long distance phonecalls. But, at 10 o clock at night, after a long day, speaking Mongolian is not easy. The word order here, the pronunciation, and it being an agglutinative language all make communication about things I havn't been formally taught a bit difficult. For instance, just looking up a word in the mongolian/english dictionary doesn't really give you a clear answer all the time. Anyways, when I'm trying to ask my host family if its okay and make sure that it would be free to use their phone if I'm using a calling card, it's not easy to do, and in the end, it did not happen. I think they thought I was confused about using the card and didnt know how to use the card, when I was just trying to make sure it wouldnt cost them anything if I used their phone.
Trying to think of a way that Mongolian is difficult and confusing... For example, in phonetic english,
bi alhem eadcen ---- I apple ate (I ate an apple)
bi alhemaa eadcen ---- I apple-my ate (I ate my apple)
bi chinni alhemic edcen ----I your apple ate (I ate your apple)
chi alhemaa eden ----- you apple eat (you will eat your apple)
chi minne alhemic edej baihn ----- you my apple eating (you are eating my apple)
chi alhemaa edech ve? ----- you apple-your eat ? (Will you eat your apple?)
The agglutinative part can get really confusing when you start getting 3 or 4 suffixes added on to a word, like,
Neiz - friend
neizooteigaa-with my friends
neizteigaa-with my friend
That particular night, I know the word for expensive, which is Onetei (price-with), and I thought the word for free was onegwe (price-without), but how to go about saying "will it be free for you if I use my card on your phone" gets quite a bit sticky, especially whenever my pronunciation is shit and I cant even be sure if I'm pronouncing the words that I'm trying to say.
I wanted to yell I was so frustrated by the time it was all over. Eventually I think we understood each other that it wouldnt cost anything for me to use my card with their phone, but I was still a little bit skeptical that they knew it was going to be free. In the end I told them zooger, zooger, bi margash xalbaa yawn... "no worries, no worries, tomorrow ill go to the post office." But I felt bad afterwords that my frustration may have came through. Told them I was sorry because I was very tired and right now i cant speak mongolian. Although I thinking back I think I said, "right now I'm not speaking mongolian" instead of "cant speak mongolian", which is funny.
From the outside looking in I'm sure it looks a bit trivial... "so what, you couldnt call home one night," but after a long day of bullshit it can really add up. Not to mention when somebody is expecting to hear from you and you dont call, and then you cant have any form of communication for another 3 days, you dont want them to start worrying about you either.
Been hot as helllll these last few days. Supposed to get up to 40 today, which is 104F. And also today, we have a little bit of a get together known as a "horhug". Apparently we will all be getting together and eating a goat or a lamb cooked in a barrel. Which I'm pretty excited about, except for the part about it being 104 degrees outside and also being pretty sure there will be a bit of drinking going on. It should be fun though, granted there is enough shade to be found. It doesnt get very humid at all here when it gets hot, so it will usually at least cool off a decent bit at night and its not terribly uncomfortable inside/in the shade.
Anyways, that's at 2:30, and it's 1130 now. Going to go get a bucket and some soap now to wash up my clothes so if I end up with alcohol and food poisoning later I'll at least have clean clothes to waste away in.