Remember my last post, where I grumbled about blogs that play into peoples’ most simplistic, sunny impressions of Peace Corps life?
Me neither! Now then, let me tell you about my Peace Corps Brochure Weekend.
Friday night: The teachers and staff at my school all took part in a multi-sport tournament: Basketball, volleyball, ping pong, billiards, and chess. Once again, I was compelled to play on the Foreign Language Department’s basketball team; once again, we won our first game but got knocked out of the tournament when we lost our second; once again, my instincts for self-preservation meant I mostly avoided the ball.
Unlike last year, though, I kind of found myself wanting to win. We even went to the Teachers’ Room and practiced setting picks before that ill-fated second game. I also let myself get a little angry and I yelled (in English)(specifically: “JESUS CHRIST LADY”) at an elementary school teacher who was doing some serious over-the-back fouling. On me. She deserved it. She needed to get up outta my space. The math teachers razzed me later about it, though (“Oooo guys, Katie is angry“).
Afterwards, I met some other PCVs at a bar and we were really loud and American, so I guess I wasn’t on my very best Integrated Volunteer behavior that night, but whatevs, close enough.
Saturday morning: On Saturday morning the volunteers all went out to the orphanage and baked cookies.
On our walk there, we were laughing about how stereotypical our morning was going to be: Baking cookies! With orphans! This is what everybody thinks we do all the time.
(We do actually go to the orphanage every Saturday morning; this was our first cookie decorating party, though, thanks to a care package from my mom. Good idea, Mom!)
Even though we accidentally burned the first batch (and even though Bayartsetseg, my star English student and the de facto orphanage den mother, told us we were a bunch of idiots for doing so), we thought the morning went swimmingly. The older kids basically ran the show, while the younger ones dumped sugar all over everything.
There were a couple of new kids there that morning, and we’ve noticed that the new transfers (or, god, the newly orphaned) tend to hang back from the crowd. Ryan had the following exchange with a guy who was just kind of standing against the wall, watching the action:
Would you like to decorate the cookies?
Of course you can! Come here.
That’s him in the photo above, being very serious about his sprinkles.
Ryan’s Flip camera was also a big hit, as you can see. Coming soon: Thirty+ minutes of kid-directed, cookie decorating footage!
Saturday night: A couple months ago, I promised my teachers I’d teach them how to make pizza. As with a lot of things around here, people expressed enthusiasm for the concept of a pizza party, but scheduling the danged thing was a living nightmare. Finally, I took the bull by the horns and announced at our staff meeting that Pizza Night would be at my place, that Saturday. There was a brief silence while everybody considered this; before anybody could say anything, I blurted, “Andyouhavetocomebecauseit’smybirthdayparty.”
So, here you can see Bayaraa being the only one to respond to my bossy photo-prompt (‘You’re loving this pizza! It’s the best pizza in the world!’):
And here is everybody singing me happy birthday (around a table piled with the cakes and beer they brought):
And here’s Enkhmaa, helping me put on my new earrings:
And then a little later, I got a visit from the Birthday Hot Dog:
It was all so nice, you guys. I’m going to throw myself a birthday party every week!