Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Thawing of a Country

Mongolia, it seems, is waking up from the long cold slumber known as winter, and everyday is showing signs of its rebirth. It was so cold for so long, I began to doubt if I'd ever feel warmth again. I have, however, been taking full advantage of this nice weather and have been running and hiking as much as physically possible (yes, my Achilles is feeling better, thank you for asking.) It's as if Mongolia's people become more lethargic as the winter weather creeps in and as the temperatures have turned up, so have people's spirits, attitudes, and motivation. I failed to notice how much things slowed down in the winter, and it is only becoming apparent to me while witnessing how quickly things are moving now that spring is upon us.This is not to say that the weather here is constant; its still very volatile. Case in point, today was beautiful, blue skies and sunny and yesterday was snowstorms with a side of wind all the live long day. I'm very much looking forward to summer!

A photo I took of the fab weather on a recent hike

It seems to be a time for transitions for everyone. The M21 group will be having their 'Close of Service conference' next week with many leaving the country in June, and in the not so distant future, a fresh batch of clueless M23s will be dropped off here and our group of M22s will become the seasoned veterans who will bestow our wisdom on the newbies. Funny, I don't FEEL much wiser. Not gonna tell them that though....

I hope everyone's Easter was enjoyable and well spent. It came and went without us even acknowledging it. We seriously didn't even eat any eggs... and we ALWAYS eat eggs. Holidays just aren't the same here. This is probably where I would share a holiday Easter pic, but since no such picture exits... here's a little gem of an adorable 5 year old friend of mine.

Me and one of my students daughters just hanging out.

I'll tell ya what I DID do though, I got to visit a local soum (small town) with my counterpart Naraa last week and it was awesome. The soum was beautiful, really clean (they recycle!) and the people were friendly. It was great to get away for a while and it's always nice to come home after being away for a bit.

Tugruk Soum in all its glory...

On the way there, we stopped by a small stream that emptied into a nearby river. I was told that it contained some very delicious 'mineral water,' so we pulled over to fill several jugs to stock up on nature's miracle. As I assumed the Mongol squat position (see below) to get my water, I noticed several small tadpoles. I then noticed that they were in fact, trying to get these little guys into their jugs and containers. When I asked why, they explained to me that you drink the little fish, and they are good for your stomach.... but of course!

FISH!- it's what's for dinner...

The business training in action

In other news, I've started a weekly running club in my town on Saturday mornings and it's been going well. We will also host a 5k on April 28th to coincide with the 'Run Like A Wildebeest' run taking place in MI on the same day in honor of my friend Greg Flint and his family. It's been exciting planning the events to coincide with one another and hopefully we get a good turnout. All of my peeps should sign up for that race if you're in the Flushing area! Want more info? Check it:

Along with running, I'm still teaching English 3x a week to the staff in my building and I love it. It's really rewarding to be able to observe their progress. After a lesson on baking, I invited them all over to my house to make pizza. The ONE male who came is dead set on finding an American wife, for the sole purpose of her inherent pizza making abilities. Yes, I'll be accepting names of potential single applicants...

My director and some students enjoying pizza making

So other than that, I'm just reeaaally excited to be going home and seeing all of my family and friends in May. Not gonna lie, eating American food is a CLOSE third. Looking forward to gaining a minimum of 5 pounds and hanging out at Gina's until closing time. See all you fine folks in 32 days and much love always!