Monday, September 6, 2010


Alright, I’m a little bit sour at the moment because I just burnt my last batch of home made donuts, but I think I’m going to be okay. But, the from scratch ravioli I made myself for dinner were awesome, so suck it. Anyway, the melancholy I feel because of my botched pastries is a bit overlooked by the fact that I’m typing this on my new computer and no longer have to deal with the painfully slow and messy process of writing in a notebook. I don’t know how you bona fide writers do it. Punching keys is much more relaxing for me, and not to mention efficient. But I guess that’s why I’m here doing business work.
Although, I still have yet to do a whole lot of it. This past week was spent mainly in the capital where my business had their annual “all staff conference,” where everybody from all the different branches come into UB to talk about stuff. Included in this stuff was an opening ceremony sort of thing where each branch had to do a different introduction/skit sort of thing. So, when we were meeting at my branch and trying to figure out what we were doing, some people had the idea of doing a dance. “Jon, do you know any dances?” And instead of keeping my mouth shut, I told them I did, and that it was a dance to Thriller. They loved this idea, and I then showed them the choreographed dance that I did to it while I was studying abroad in Australia. Fortunately, they only wanted to do the first half of it, and didn’t want to do the other dance that I showed them, which was to Justin Timerlake’s Bringing Sexy Back.
Instead, they wanted to make a dance to the Shakira World Cup Song, Waka Waka, which I still think is the most annoying song I’ve ever heard, and probably more embarrassing than Sexy Back. First, I taught the branch the rendition of thriller, and then, after taking a few moves from the video and making up a few moves of my own, worked though the Shakira song. All this with yours truly in the lead position of a V shape. Like the 6’3 American hippie needs any more attention.
After choking on stage with the ol’ morin khuur, dancing this in front of 70 people made me a bit nervous but really not that bad. It all went smoothly, including the end when I finished up with the worm. The thing I was most worried about was my arm giving out when I was dropping to the floor and then eating shit in front of everybody. Anyways, a video of this I have, and will be posted shortly, even though I have a queer grin on my face the whole time. I resorted to a fake smile instead of the deep-in-thought-look I usually have on my face while dancing… lesser of two evils.
The rest of the time spent in UB was rather uneventful, but I did get drunk that night with everybody else and had a dance party. The night got pretty fuzzy by the end of things but I think I made it out without making too big an ass out of myself, but I was a dancing fool. I also had a chance to roam the city a bit after all my other co-workers went home and I stayed an extra day. Was able to make it to the big black market, where I grabbed a nice leather bag for 20 bucks and a nice northface jacket that is heavy enough to maybe get me to November for 35 bucks. People have told me they are rip offs, but I’m not sure I believe it. If they are, they are damn nice ones. All the tags, all the logos… even the plastic bag it was in had the NorthFace logo on it. I think that maybe they bang these things out in China somewhere, and if they can sell them here for more than they cost to make, might as well, even if it is 100 bucks cheaper than in the US. Everything is crazy cheap here in the markets. Just today in my city I got around to finding a tailor who is hand making me a pair of dress pants for 20,000T, or about 15-16 bucks.
Had the time to roam around and figure it out because I finally got around to putting my foot down at work about hours. Working 9-1 on Monday and Wednesday, and 9-6 the other days, leaving me at 32 hrs/week not including lunch hours. I had talked to another volunteer that works at an orphanage here with kids that are between 8-16 er so, and I’m going to start going there on my newly free Wednesday afternoons with my geetar. I figure I’ll kick it there and try to see what kind of trouble I can get myself into. They also have a small basketball court so I might just end up ballin’ out on some kids. I’m mad tall, no way they can hold me down… I’ll throw bows if I have to. And, tonight, some other volunteers put together a Monglish Club meeting at a restaurant. During which, Mongolians and Americans are supposed to speak both languages. But, as bad as most of ours Mongolian is, the eight of us only spoke English. However, I did find out that they are interested in having a regular English class, and was able to set one up for every Monday. Apparently I’ll actually be starting up the club again and taking over the spot from a previous volunteer that used to run it until he left a few months ago. The people that were there already spoke English very well, but just want more practice. A lot of people here want to take the TOEFL exams, which as far as I understand, is an English exam that you need to help get scholarships and study abroad in English speaking countries.
I was also able to talk somebody that has the scoop on a good Mongolian teacher that I can use for some tutoring to help develop my language a bit more. I’ve come to discover that I’m a bit too lazy to pick up the book and teach myself. Having a few hours planned out each week might just be enough to force me into it.

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