Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mongolia in April

Mongolia update


            It may not seem like it, given my recent posting on Korea, but yes life continues on in Mongolia, and it is as interesting as ever.  Got to love the Mongolian weather.  We have had days were was in the high 60s and then the next morning it was snowing with clear blue skies.  Then the next day it is back up in the 60s again.  I guess the Mongolians have it right when they say spring is like a capricious woman.  Thankfully that phase has not lasted very long.  (Knock on wood)

            Now it has been surprisingly warm these last few weeks, even breaking into the 70s the last day or two.  I’m not one to knock a gift horse in the mouth, but I did not expect it to get this warm, this quickly.  With the weather now warm enough to run outside without risking a case of hypothermia, I can run outside again.

Running in Mongolia


            So here I am enjoying the nice weather while going on a run through Zaisan when come across a Mongolian construction worker.  Now the extent of my Mongolian is limited to hello, and a couple of food items.  I say hello to be nice and the next thing I know he is running with me, and smashing into me like it is full contact running or something.  It is a very interesting style of running as I can't figure out if he is tripping on the rocks, wants to wrestle (a big pastime here) or this is how Mongolians always run.  Oh and the whole time he is spouting off in Mongolian, while all I can say is um I don't know Mongolian.  Thankfully he got tired after five minutes and I didn't end up being turned into a pretzel.

Quiz Night in Mongolia


            A local Irish pub (Hennessy's) runs a fairly regular quiz night that a number of expats join in on.  I have gone several times and it is always a fun experience.  The quiz questions and topics vary quite a bit depending on who is the quiz master but this time one of the rounds took me for a loop.  There is usually a liquor tasting round, this week it was Kahlua, Bourbon, and Tequila, however the quiz master added another alcoholic round.  Chug a Chinggis, a Mongolian Beer.


            Clearly one of those skills I didn't learn in college is going to come back and haunt me.  The rules were simple the first one to finish the beer and place the mug upside down on their head wins.


            Clearly I did not do well.  Oh well who knew not learning how to chug a beer, let alone drink one would come in handy one day.  My team came in fourth by the way and it was a valiant effort.

Junk to Punk


            Another bit of fun was being a judge for a school fashion show, Junk to Punk where the students use recycled materials to make fashion.  This year’s theme was characters, and since a good number of students here like anime, I was asked to be a judge, because you know I understand that stuff.  Well first time for everything I guess.  The fashion show was a smashing success, even if I was a bit clueless as a judge, and the students did an amazing job.  The only problem I had was one of the costumes had these really ornate looking white flowers that reminded me of cake frosting.  So I spent the rest of the fashion hungry, wishing I had some cake.

Payment


            The students occasionally have various after school activities that they need to find chaperons for.  I have helped out on several occasions, so I wasn't to surprised when one of my fellow teaching buddies mentioned that the kids were desperate for a chaperon for Fridays traditional Mongolian card game tournament taking place after school.  I said I could do it if the kids were desperate, I mean it’s not like I do much on Friday afternoons and I can grade papers and stuff while they do their thing.  Well the next thing I know I get brownies from the students for helping them out.

Diabetes here we come


            The school was also having a bake sale to raise money for Earth day because they are going to plant trees at their sister school, somewhere in the city.  Don’t ask me where it is exactly as I have no clue.



            Anyway I am a sucker for bake sales since I can’t get that kind of stuff in the stores here in Mongolia and I am too lazy to make it myself.  The students also know me well since they always seem to carry them by my room on their way to the lobby at the end of the day.  It’s not my fault they ran out of chocolate cake……. Ok yeah it is my fault, but I only bought 5 pieces.  I have no regrets, it tasted divine.