Monthly Archives: July 2011

We hath been Staycationing

And it has looked a lot like this:

And also like this:

this:

and this:

and finally this:

Basically, as soon as we got back to Erdenet I bought a huge block of mozzarella and about 100 kilos of tomatoes and I’ve been creating delivery systems for them ever since.  I also scored a bag of fresh spinach, which you can see evidence of in the above pasta salad, and which I was not grateful for right away:

Katie Comes Home From The Market With Her Sealed Little Bag of Mystery Greens

ME
Guess what!

RYAN
Wh–

ME
I think I bought basil!

RYAN
What do you mean you thi–

ME
(tears into bag, sticks nose inside, inhales deeply) God damnit.

RYAN
?

ME, DISAPPOINTED
This isn’t basil.  (pinches off a piece, tastes it) Yeah I think this is just spinach.

ME, LIGHTBULB OVER HEAD
Wait.

So yeah, our Summer Peace Corps Training Job-Things came to an end last week.  As I have been telling anybody who expresses even the slightest, most cursory interest, IT WAS SO HARD AND I WAS SO STRESSED OUT THE WHOLE TIME JESUS well really it wasn’t that bad, just a lot of work that needed to be done well, and maybe I did it well or maybe I didn’t but who cares, it’s all over now, we are here at home in our beautiful apartment, eating cheese, because we deserve it, probably.

Here are our other Staycation Activities, in reverse chronological order:

1.  We went on a long, leisurely hike out of the city, through a green valley and up into a forested mountain, during the sunniest, hottest, most infernally burningly ovenlike part of the day.  This was something I thought would be fun.

Lesson learned.

2.  I got invited out to a ger for an afternoon, whee!  Third time ever in a ger, all right!  What?  Don’t look at me like that.

Here’s fellow Peace Corps TEFL trainer Bayarmaa, her husband Bayar, and her grandson Huslee, who is full of beans.

Here’s the ger, with a wee bit of Erdenet visible in the distance.

Here’s the fermented mare’s milk.  Other dairy products consumed but not pictured: Yogurt, clotted cream, dried curds.

Here are the mares, waitin’ to get milked, lookin’ not too happy about it.  Did you know that, in the summertime, they have to be milked every two hours?  True story!

Here is an example of the kind of Lame Dad Jokes that I like to make in Mongolian:

ME
Oh my, that horse is really angry!

BAYARMAA
Yes, he doesn’t like it when the others are taken away to be milked.  There’s one male horse and ten female horses.

ME
Oh okay he has ten wives?

BAYARMAA
Yeah.

ME
Lucky horse!

BAYARMAA
…yeah.

ME
Heh heh heh

Here is another kid.  Before this picture was taken, he had on a shirt that said “I’m a little monster!” in English.  I lightheartedly translated this for him, and it went really well, of course:

SCARY FOREIGN PERSON WITH UNINTELLIGIBLE ACCENT
Hey kid!  C’mere.  Let’s see your shirt.

INNOCENT CHILD
(frightened look)

SCARY FOREIGN PERSON
Oh yeah.  This shirt says you’re a little monster!

INNOCENT CHILD
(frightened)

SCARY FOREIGN PERSON
“I’m a little monster!” Heh heh.  Is it true?  Are you a little monster?

INNOCENT CHILD
(frightened, confused)

CHILD’S GRANDMOTHER
It says what??

SCARY FOREIGN PERSON
I’m…a little monster?

CHILD’S GRANDMOTHER
Oh my god I didn’t know!  (whips child’s shirt off of him, looks at it in horror)

SCARY FOREIGN PERSON
Um.

Whoopsies!

3.  Naadam.  The day we arrived back home was the last day of Erdenet’s Naadam, so we dropped off our bags and hustled on over to the fairgrounds as fast as we could.  Here’s what it looked like from the ferris wheel:

Pretty sweet, right?  Check out that brand new stadium!  Look at that Gravitron!  Gaze upon this corndog!


Wait, why was I wearing a scarf and a jacket on the 9th of July?  Oh because it was rainy and windy and 40 fucking degrees, that’s why.

Yeah, so.  We wandered around a little.  There were raffles and carnival games and eagles and traditional dances and songs.  There were also countryside boys on horses, one of whom let me take his picture only after I complimented him on his deel:

But we mass-texted everyone we knew (Hi I’m home in Erdenet now, are you at Naadam?) and got one of three responses (Response 1: Nothing; Response 2: Hello I am in the countryside with my family now; Response 3: Naadam was so cold I am at home), so after about an hour of being Freezing and By Ourselves we just went home.  Dear Mongolia: I am 0 for 2 on enjoyable Naadams, here.  Please step up your game next time, thank you.

This brings our Staycation Activities Summary to a close.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  Now I must get off the internet and pack a bag and go to Ulaanbaatar and await the arrival of the ‘rents.  That’s right, our first visitors to Mongolia will be here on Saturday!  Hopefully I will be fluent in Mongolian by then.

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