Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug 8th

Oh the old school pen & paper thing. I wonder if I'll even be able to read my chicken scratch whenever I type this up.

The nights are starting to get cold here, kinda hinting at the change that is going to come. Since it stays so dry here for the most part, the cold air coupled with the dry breeze makes it feel more like a warm winter night than it does a cool summer evening. It's still hard for me to believe that it will be -40 outside in just a few months. The figure I heard the other day is that the winter here averages -15 F, which is down right absurd, and which I'm not sure I believe. I dont think -40 is something I can imagine until I actually feel it. Surprising to me as well is that many of the family friends that came in and out of the house today were talking about how it was cold. I'd think that this heavy hoody/light jacket weather would still be a beach day here.
Today was little Euruka's third birthday. I wasn't aware until the afternoon because I was busy sleeping off both a cold and a hangover until 1pm. Yesterday we had a "host family appreciation" day, where us Americans that live in the town got together and made a bunch of pizzas, onion rings, pasta salad, and some other desserts. Also included on the menu to help show some American culture was jello shots, which went over with different degrees of appreciation. The one two year old that got his hand on a couple seemed to love them, but I'm not certain he will remember.
That all started around 2 in the afternoon, and with jello shots and beer I was pretty well lubricated by the evening. Even though I probably should have just rested, I ended up going out that night again for a little more partien. When I got home, my host family apparently had the same idea I had, and were doing some drinkin themselves with some friends. Nothing like a few more shots of vodka and a nice warm glass or two or airag for a nice night cap. Even with it though, I still going sleep for shit. Ended up passing out around 3am for some reason.
After waking up at 1, and then waking up from a 2 hour nap until 630, it was time for dinner. Groggy as well I roll into the kitchen to see whats up and find the dinner table wasn't there. My host mom hands me a bowl of soup and points to the family room.
In my slippers, gym shorts, a t-shirt, and after being awake for about 5 minutes, I walk into the family room where there is a nicely decorated table with a bunch of my host dad's extended family sitting around it, nicely dressed. Awkward. They all starred at me like I would have started at myself in the same situation.
I put my bowl down and excused myself for a second I could at least put all of my hair in a ponytail instead of the 2/3rds of it that was left after my nap. After I collected myself for a minute I was able to relax a bit and eat, but I still bounced pretty quick out the room afterwords. Later some more family showed up that I was a bit more familiar with and the dad once again started pouring vodka and airag down my throat. My Mongolian comes a lot smoother once the nerves get knocked back a little and I can relax.
The same two year old family friend from yesterday that was enjoying the jello shots was also at the party, and this little dude knows what he wants. When I was sitting down with a cup of airag, he came over, and without hesitation, grabbed up the cup, drank some, slammed it down, then grabbed a spoon off the table, threw it in the cup and then walked away. I was almost crying I was laughing so hard but I couldnt describe to anybody why it was so funny. Kinda had to see it I guess.

My body is still recovering form a pretty intense game of ultimate frisbee us Americans got together for two days ago. We gathered up in a field behind my one friend's house and played a pretty competitive game for a few hours. It was cool paying a foreign game like that and having some of the local kids and some other people watching the crazy americans run back and forth while throwing a flying disk. You would think that a bunch of people in the peace corps would be a bunch of non-competitive pacifists, but our sports games get down right intense.
People in the PC are way different than what I expected. I don't know I've really met any bonafide hippies. Out of us all left, over 70 people in my class, I am the only dude that has any sort of long hair (and I even probably wont any day here). I thought every other person was going to have dread locks and a tie-die shirt. 100% not the case. What I have found here is real and honest people, for the most part. Or at least a higher concentration than any other situation I've been in before. In just a couple weeks I'm going to get shipped off to where ever in the country and it's going to be strange moving away from these friendships and starting new. A few months with some legit people and in a rather extreme situation will form some pretty close bonds.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August... 4th I think.

Yea, so my computer finally decided to eat shit, so I haven't been writing at all. Not that there's a massive amount to report, anyways. Same shit, different weeks for the time being. In a couple of weeks everything will start to get turning again and I'll probably have some more to talk about. Only thing really worth saying is the original plan for me to get shipped way into the middle of nowhere and learn Kazakh instead of Mongolian got scrapped... an issue with the business that I was going to be working with out there, apparently. I see it as both good and bad... on the one hand, I'm glad I can focus solely on Mongolian as I think I have a much better chance of getting somewhere close to fluent with it. On the other, it is supposed to be beautiful out in that area with lots of mountains and other sctuff to do outdoors. But who knows where they will send me now. All I know is I requested to be sent somewhere remote, but no guarantees it will happen. And worth mentioning, remote is a relative term... most anywhere I get sent here that isnt a massive city will be remote compared to most American standards.

But yea, the language classes and then the trainings are keeping me busy during the day, and geetar and mainly morin khuur keep me busy there after, especially now that I can't watch a movie on my computer. During the swearing in ceremony here at the end of the summer, they have a bit of a "talent show," per se. My goofy ass will be planted front and center playing my newly purchased instrument. I'm probably more nervous about that than I was coming to Mongolia in the first place.