Very often these days Ryan and/or I find ourselves sitting on the couch, saying the most pathetic thing ever, which is: “I really need to blog.” Then we accidentally watch seventeen episodes of Mad Men, notice it’s late, and retire for the evening. I see I’ve missed the entire month of April, here — one twenty-seventh of our entire Peace Corps Experience, gone, undocumented, lost to the ages. So many boring, tedious details of my life that you will never know about.
Unless I sum these things up right now!
1. You Will Listen To Me Talk About The Weather
Hey, look at this:
Is this a months-old picture from the winter, you ask? No! No indeed it is not! This, sister, is a picture of Erdenet on April the 29th. There was an actual blizzard on the 28th — a big, angry storm that pissed down snow all day long, with winds gusting at maybe 20 mph. The roads were pretty treacherous, so taking a taxi wasn’t really an option, even though it was the one occasion where I had a legitimate reason for not walking the 20 minutes to school (My usual, non-legitimate reasons for taking a taxi include:
- Oops, too much time staring at the internet and now I’m going to be late
- I’m carrying my laptop and it’s heavy…kind of
- JUST GOT PAID I’M RICH
- I’m wearing heels, wah
- Oh look, it’s my favorite taxi driver
- It’s Friday, and Friday is Katie Takes a Taxi Day
- Gee it’s colder out here than I thought it was going to be
So I spent a total of maybe fifty minutes trudging around in the storm – walking to school, then walking to the Russian supermarket to buy my sad little bag of overpriced frozen chicken breasts, then walking home. My stupid boots were soaked through by the end of it. Do you feel sorry for me? Probably you shouldn’t; I can, after all, buy chicken breasts in this magical city.
2. Privilege, Cont’d
Speaking of ways in which my Peace Corps Experience is cushy relative to others’, look at these adorable children singing and dancing:
They were celebrating the fact that we recently became an “E-School,” which means we now have at least one computer in each classroom, and all those computers are hooked up to the internet, and there’s a new online system that the teachers use to post grades and attendance records and the like. The internet connection is so slow as to be almost useless, but still. The whole thing is pretty amazing. Also, I had nothing to do with any of it.
So anyway, some teachers from an E-School in Darkhan came on an official visit, and the above singing and dancing was for their benefit. Guess what was also on the entertainment docket for that evening? Why, A Speech By The Foreign Teacher, of course!
Here is my speech, translated, in case you’re wondering what my Mongolian is like (when I’m given a couple hours’ notice, that is).
Hello, everybody. My name is Katie. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am from Washington, D.C., in the U.S.A. Uhhhh what else, okay, I came to Mongolia ten months ago with my husband. We, with other volunteers, spent two months studying Mongolian language, Mongolian history, and Mongolian culture. Then the two of us came to Erdenet in August. I work with the English teachers. I think I’m a lucky person–
(HUGE, ABRUPT APPLAUSE)
Ummm ha ha thank you? I think I’m a lucky person because our teachers are hardworking, and smart…and we have fun, too!
KATIE, REALIZING SHE HAS MADE SOME KIND OF ERROR, SOAKED IN FLOP SWEAT:
Soooo uh thank you all for coming to our school. Thank you for…for…uh…(turns to English teachers) hey what was that word again?
Yes thank you for shhaaaooouurrring your ideas with us. Thank you, and good luck!
(BIG BIG APPLAUSE)
(WEEPS WITH PRIDE, OR POSSIBLY SHAME)
Anyway, if you’re interested in my other, even dorkier internet endeavors, I’ve been trying to get my teachers on the blogging bandwagon — EFL in Erdenet is our teachers’ site, and Erdenet Writing Club is for the kids’ writing (the latter gets a lot more hits than the former, possibly because the kids just like reading their own writing and/or looking at the pictures of themselves). I’m not sure what my long-term goals are for these things; I’ve had the teachers comment and add links, and before the end of the school year I want everybody to upload at least one lesson to the teachers’ blog. I know this is all very boring to you, but announcing it here means it’ll be embarrassing if I don’t do it. So shame me into doing my job, everybody, please, thank you.
3. Speaking of my job
I forgot to mention that Ryan and I applied to be trainers this summer, and we were both accepted as first-half trainers, along with five other volunteers. For people back home: This basically means that, at the end of May, Ryan and I will relocate to Darkhan (another biggish city in Mongolia) and spend the next six or so weeks working with the new batch of volunteers-to-be, who will be living in little towns around the city. Also, we will probably be insanely busy and stressed out the whole time, and I will definitely not have the time or the ability to pout about it on this here blog.
For any M22s who might be reading: Hello! I like you already, and I will see you soon.