Mongolia is full of wonderful surprises. Its so difficult to put into words how the last two weeks have unfolded, but I'll give it a shot. After spending last week in Darkham with all 66 volunteers, we were all broken up into groups based on sector. CED - Community Economic Development (which is what I'm doing), CYD - Community Youth Development (which is what Anth is doing), TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language (which is what most people are doing), and Health (hopefully you can figure that one out.) There are 7 business volunteers including myself, so we are all in the same little town.
Two days ago we met our host families. Mine are amazing and one of the daughters has a 4 month old baby and he is the cutest. They are really patient and helpful in showing me the "Mongolian" way. As far as communication goes, its basically a big game of charads and a lot of nodding and smiling on my part. I just hope I'm not accidentally offending anyone. We go to school everyday, which is broken down into 4 hours of Mongolian training, and 3 hours of job based training. Mongolian is hard, but I'm getting there. At school yesterday, we walked around outside on a break, and just as I was really feeling a world away, they started blasting a Rihana song on the speaker system. Mongolians really love their hip hop.
The town I'm staying in is a very small town surrounded by mountains on all sides. There are only 40 houses or so, a school, maybe 2 stores, a gas station, and a pharmacy. Its so crazy beautiful everywhere you look. I keep thinking the scenery looks fake because its so perfect. It looks like it could be the backdrop out of some low-dudget Hollywood movie, but I know its real. Daily life is a lot different here. I could get bored, but I'm choosing not to. Let's just say I ironed my underwear yesterday. There is always more to learn and more to see here. I love finding out how they do things and what their "normal" is.
So in short, Mongolia is beautiful and I'm very happy here. Not doing so bad with home sickness, but we'll see what happens. I wish I could be in better contact with everyone. The busy schedule, combined with the time change, and limited internet access are all factors, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.
Peace & Love