Everybody, thank you for your support, re: my awesome financial graphics. Ryan said it might be more effective to present our expenditures as percentages of our monthly income, but I kinda think things are less damning that way. As a for instance: During those three weeks in February, we spent 14% of our income on beer and 10% on restaurants. Those numbers actually seem small to me; they don’t make me feel nearly as ashamed of myself as they should. And O, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We have sinned, and we must repent.
It does, in fact, feel like a moral failing every time we run out of money before the end of the month and have to dip into the next month’s stipend, and/or take out money from our American savings. We’ve never had this problem before. Not after right after college when our combined income was about $.02; not in D.C., when I was unemployed for months. The worst part of all this is that we’re probably rolling in dough compared to our counterparts. I make a little less than my teachers, but Ryan makes a little more than his coworkers. Plus there’s the matter of children, elderly parents, and rent — unlike most people we know, we don’t have to pay for any of these things. And yet here we are, blowing through money like it’s our job, whining about how we can’t afford to have a beer after dinner. We are swine.
But whatever, my only pair of jeans that still fit developed a second crotch-hole this week, so my outrageous clothing spending shall continue apace! (Peace Corps says we should spend something like $4 per month on clothes. That $4 can buy you one of the following: A couple pairs of socks; a shitty pair of winter tights; four patches for your holey jeans; 1/3 of a pair of shitty Chinese-made pants; two new zippers for your shitty Chinese-made pants that keep not zipping up; almost one set of extra rubber treads for your winter boots; two skirts’ worth of hemming or taking-in; one pair of eurotrashy sunglasses that will break immediately. Obviously, the “clothes repair” section of my brain has been annexing other, increasingly useless sections, like maybe “how to drive a car” or “cheese”)
I could always just eat my way back into my other pants. Considering the amount of egg piroshki I’ve been consuming lately, this is a very real possibility.
ANYWAY enough with this grubby money-talk. It’s springtime in Erdenet! I didn’t wear long johns today! Hurrah!
Here I am, looking constipated during the last (please god) big snowstorm of the season. It was a couple weeks ago; the snow started coming down hard in the afternoon and as soon as I was done with my last class, everybody’s favorite modeling-obsessed 11th graders tracked me down to do another photo shoot:
Erdenemunkh, the girl on the right, was one of my 11th grade Olympics participants. She ended up tying for fourth place with another girl from our school, Bulgamaa, who is also a hardworking lady with excellent English. I think they were a little disappointed in themselves, but by the time I saw them at the end of the day I was in no condition to offer them any comfort — from 8 am to 7 pm, Laura, Carolyn and I did nothing except proctor the exams (students’ and teachers’; guess which group kept their eyes on their own papers, and which was made up of flagrant cheaters), check the correctness of the essay keys (many a question was thrown out, thanks to design and grammar errors. Thanks, Ministry of Education) and score hundreds of essays. This was yesterday, so the trauma is still fresh in my mind. The less said the better. Christ Almighty.
So I should explain the other set of pictures I uploaded recently, from Men’s Day, aka Soldiers’ Day. The dudes of the school — teachers, workers, the director — were gathered in the gym at the end of the day for an hour of silly games. What kind of silly games, you ask? Here we have the “Unroll Toilet Paper As Fast As You Can With One Hand” game:
The “Fish For Cotton Balls Inside A Jar With A Sticky Piece Of Candy” game:
The “Stack A Bunch Of Magnetic Nuts With A Rod” Game:
The “Thread Pasta On Other Pasta With Your Mouth” Game:
And finally, The “Get In Formation And March And Sing Military Songs” Game:
This last one was actually impromptu, and kind of touching? In ways I can’t explain?
I’m sorry this post kind of sucks. Ryan and I are leaving in ten minutes to go vacation for a couple days in Ulaanbaatar, Land Of Good Pizza and Beer. Huzzah! I shall return with stories, and love handles.