Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Day in the Life

view from my bedroom window
My days here in Mongolia are beginning to follow a pretty consistent schedule. Monday to Friday I go to language class from 9-1. It’s at a local elementary school, so I can walk there pretty easily. I come home for lunch and then go back to the school from 2:30 to 5:30 for our Technical Sessions, which is basically training for working within the health system.
The language is definitely hard, but I’m slowly improving. We got to choose if we wanted to be in the faster paced/advanced class or the slower/regular class, and I quickly chose the slower one. I’ve discovered that the hardest part is listening to people and then actually understanding them, but I think we’ll be working more on that soon. Our technical sessions are taught by two PCVs that are coming up on their 27mo mark this fall and a Mongolian woman who works for the PC.
Every Tuesday afternoon we go to our practicum sites where we meet up with a Mongolian counterpart (CP). My practicum is at the local health department and my CP is a midwife who also teaches prenatal and sex ed classes. It would be a perfect fit, except that she doesn’t speak any English and my Mongolian is basically useless at this point. I can’t even observe her prenatal classes because they’re in the morning during my language sessions, which I can’t miss. I’m not entirely sure how this will work out yet, but at least it’s just supposed to be training for our permanent sites, which will be much more prepared for our arrival.
my house with garden
My host family is still good. I’ve discovered that my house is by far the nicest out of anyone in my group, so I kind of lucked out there. Last weekend their oldest daughter, who lives in Ulan Battaar, came to visit with her two sons, but she went back on Sunday and left her sons here. I think they’re about 4 and 8, so the house has been a lot livelier this past week. I’m pretty sure my mom took time off “inspecting,” because she’s been home all week working in the garden. Communication with them is hard. I rarely know what’s going on, but I guess that’s not too different from usual.
As much as we have to do, I also have a lot of down time. I’m reading a ton, so any book suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I managed to watch the last few episodes of GoT. Next month we’re going into UB for the weekend, where I fully plan on seeing the new Jurassic Park, even if I have to fake sick to carve out an afternoon in our schedule.

room from corner
room from other corner
I feel like this is a boring blog post, haha. I mean, I’m adjusting to Mongolia really well, particularly in my house, where there isn’t much adjusting to be done. Our lack of a planned schedule is bothering some people, but India got me pretty used to that. There are still a ton of rules, but I haven’t managed to break any major ones yet! Covering my arm tattoo is a must for any non-casual situation, which is basically every situation with the PC, so that’s getting a bit old. It’s surprisingly hot here. Since we got to Darkhan it’s been in the 90s most days, but
it’s a dry heat with a good breeze. No rain yet, but this is the desert. So far I’ve consumed horse, but no alcohol of any sort, so it’s kind of surprising that my liver hasn’t gone into shock/withdrawal. Nadaam, a sporting holiday, is during the second week of July and I’ve been told that I’ll probably be able to try some fermented horse milk then.

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