Sunday, September 5, 2010


I guess I'll take some time and put some thoughts down after the blur that was my first week in my new city has now passed.
Working in a office is about how I remember it being: boring as shit and looking for ways to waste time without it looking too obvious. But, I'm blaming a lot of that on this week as it is the “introductory” week, and I don't really know exactly what I'm going to be doing yet. I have been told numerous times that this was going to happen and to expect it, so I'm not too worried about it. Before I can really dig into things I'm going to have to take time and get to know the people I work with to be able to figure out what kind of things people need help with.
I also remembered after this week that I still don't particularly care to work these rest of my time in an office, even if it is for the greater good. Fortunately at PC, it's supposed to be around 30 work hours in the office. That way, there is still room for community initiatives and actually being a community member rather than just the white dude you see walking around in work clothes sometimes. But, the director to my office was out this week, but I do plan to get a schedule set up before things get too settled in.
For the time being though, I've been working closer to 9-6 and sometimes later. By the time I've gotten off work, got home, made some food, done laundry, cleaned the house, and then pull my head out of my ass, there's not much time for me to do anything else. It will be a lot nicer once my apartment is set up as well and I don't need to be putting it together after work as well.
Anyways, not sure yet what kind of things I want to get into in the community, but I think maybe I'll figure it out when I get a chance to experience it a bit more. And I guess to do that I'm going to need to keep working on my Mongolian, which I've fallen off with a bit these last few weeks. However, my pronunciation is starting to get to where people can actually understand me. Haggling at the market is a rewarding experience not because of the saved money but because of the satisfaction of having another person actually understand me.

The week before I moved to my city was a massive clusterfuck of moving out of the town where PST was, to the capital for 3 days for the signing in ceremony and other training, and then finally heading to my new home. And also the talent show was while I was in the capital, which might have been the biggest learning experience I've had so far.
The song I played on the morin khuur was a very difficult song, and a lot harder than what I should have tried to learn in two months. The only real help I got from teachers before hand was them telling me to pick a different song. But alas, as stubborn as I am, I refused. So, for the weeks leading up to the show, I was literally practicing between 2-3 hours a day.
By the week of the show, I was able to play it fine by myself, but in front of other people I would get nervous and choke up, sometimes forgetting the song, cracking notes, or usually both. After some more practice, I was comfortable in front of small groups of people..
The day of the show there were about 250 people in the auditorium, including all of the new PCV's supervisors from their new work/school, PC staff, and other volunteers and friends from different years. I was exhausted from the week, and nervous as all hell. When they finally called my name to go on, I dragged the chair to the center stage, sat down, got set up, and then took some deep breathes to try and steady my violently shaking hand. It didn't work.
I choked through the first half of the song, missing notes, forgetting parts, and pushing through it. Anything but stopping and leaving the stage. I dont remember a whole lot of it, I just remember it as being a dream like haze, almost like I was watching myself play rather than just playing myself. My hand was shaking so bad that my fingers would sometimes miss the strings or hit the wrong parts, and on some of the more technical parts of the song a spot just a half fingertip's width will play in a completely different note or cause it to crack. I kinda pulled it together by the end, but I definitely choked in front of an auditorium full of people.
And it wasn't that bad, I just wish I had another chance to do it, which I'm not sure I'll get. But, if I can live through doing something like that, other stupid shit where I might make an ass out of myself are going to be a lot easier now. With as many awkward things that I'm going to do and say, then probably crash and burn after, they probably wont ever compare to that. Also, I kind of realized afterwords how stupid it is to get that anxious and nervous. There's no need for it, it doesn't do any good. I'm a bit upset I let it effect me so severely, and I think I'll remember that in the future. Anyways, as the old man always says, if you're going to make an ass out of yourself, you might as well do it in public.

More about the place where I'm at now... It's a big small city, although in Mongolia its either the 2nd or 3rd largest after the capital. Its big enough to get anything I need/want food wise, except some different spices and things for cooking western food, which is getting shipped from the good ol' USA. The city is apparently where the most beautiful women in Mongolia come from, and I would have to say I whole hardheartedly agree, even though I've only been a few other places. Even more, I work in an office with 7 other women, but there is another dude that just started working here.
Completely different workplace dynamic as all that goes. In Mongolia, there really isn't that whole “sexual harassment” thing. For example, while I was getting introduced to different girls in the office, the one lady was pointing out who was single, who wasn't. A joke, but still much different. And also, from what I've been told during training, things like holiday parties and other work events where booze is involved can sometimes lead to some rather “sexually themed” games.
The only thing I can say though, is that in Mongolia dating is also a lot different. If you're out with somebody in public, dating, and it goes on for more than a few months, you are practically married. What a mess that would all turn into. But, saying as how I'm in a bigger city and not in a small village somewhere, it might be a bit more like it is in American, but I kind of doubt it.
Then again, I am living in pretty modern conditions. It's a pretty nice place, and definitely nicer than anywhere I've lived alone before. It's a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and full bathroom, Hot water, a refrigerator, and a stove. A bit under furnished, and I still have to hand wash my clothes, but I'm definitely more part of the “posh corps” here, as compared to the folks living out in tents in the middle of nowhere with few amenities. Us business folk usually get put into more populated areas and end up with better living conditions. Still havn't made up my mind about how I really feel about living in such a nice place. But, I do enjoy the hot water. Being able to quickly rinse off before bed is awfully nice.

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