Got to hangout in Darkhan this week for Mid-Center Days which means I've been reunited with the other 65 volunteers who are still here (2 people recently bit the dust, but for their own just reasons.) I guess we are here at a good time too because it is the anniversary of the city we are in, which means a randomn, AMAZING fireworks show at 10 pm on a Tuesday night. It was really special to watch, since there were no fireworks to be found on the 4th!
We have been here for 3 days and its been great to see everyone from all of the different sites. Anthony got to come visit my town last weekend, so we've enjoyed 5 precious days in a row together =) They really crunch a lot of sessions into the little time that we have here in Darkhan, but the evenings are ours. The trainers coordinated a group dodgeball tournament yesterday with all of the sites. There were a few tough calls, but my team (the non-TEFLs) came out on top..... (was there ever any doubt?) It was a huge success because there were no injuries and a cash prize =)
So what have I been up to lately? Celebrating Naadam and taking part in festivities has been a big deal for us this month. It is essentially the equivalent to the Mongolian Independence Day. Its common to wear the traditional Mongolian formal wear which is a "dell" and both men and women wear them. My family bought me a top which is red and gold and really beautiful. They gave it to me for my birthday and also CHOCOLATE CAKE! It was really special. So Naadam consists of the 3 "manly sports" which is wrestling, archery, and horseracing and takes place over 2 days (different in each town.) There was unfortunately no archery at our site but it was really fun to watch the horseraces and wrestling matches. There were also dancing and singing performances, which my host sister participated in and I loved every minute of it. Each night everyone gathered at the school to celebrate and dance and it was very much like a high school dance. But there was a strobe light and my brother DJed, so me and my other sitemates had a pretty intense dance party.
In addition to that, its been pretty low key here. Just really trying to get the most out of my language classes and learn more about what my job will be like come August. We have the vocabulary of 4 year olds and know all of our colors, most body parts, food, family, professions, and how to describe our basic needs. They are currently working on our placements and we will find out that info August 14th. Its been pretty inspiring learning about all of the community development project options we could choose to explore at site and see what passed volunteers have done. I'm really looking forward to our training coming to an end and getting settled in here and actually implementing some of the things we've been learning about.
Will be visiting Anthony the last weekend in July, so will have internet access! Until then...