Friday, July 3, 2015

Adjustments and a Birthday Celebration! 6/28/15

Without getting into details, I will say that I moved to a new host family home on Friday. In my new family, I have a mom, dad, 20 year old sister, two 18 year old brothers, an 8 year old sister, and a 6 year old brother. This is a big family! I have a huge space here. I have a large carpeted bedroom with a TV, and I have my own kitchen space with a fridge, table, chairs, cabinets and freezer. The curtains here are great at blocking out the sun, so I have slept well the past two nights.

This past week went by quickly, but it was kind of stressful. We visited two of our sitemates’ homes, which has been a good experience, but that means I wasn’t getting home until 8pm or later. I couldn’t start on lesson planning or Mongolian homework until I got home, so this made for several really late nights. I’m glad my new family was okay with me sleeping in until 10am this weekend.

My sitemate, Marc, and I taught our grammar lesson on Wednesday. We got pretty good feedback from our observer, but I feel like it could’ve gone better. Still, this was just my second time truly teaching, so I’m not being too hard on myself.

After the micro teaching on Wednesday, our technical coordinators told us we had new micro teaching partners. This was kind of a shocker, since originally we thought we would be teaching with our current partner for two more classes. Marc and I had actually already planned out the class on Friday, and he had written half the lesson plan. It threw me off for a few minutes, but I found the merit in switching partners, so I got over it pretty quickly. My new partner is Alex, who, like me, hasn’t had any previous classroom experience. He is very chill and a quiet type, like me, so working together is making both of us be more extroverted in our teaching. We planned out a seemingly solid lesson plan for our classes on Friday. Unfortunately, my host family situation abruptly changed Friday during lunch, so I was not in a state to adequately teach the classes. Alex, the brave soul, taught the classes solo. From what I hear, it went pretty well! Today, we started planning our final micro teaching lesson, which we will teach this upcoming Tuesday.

Now, the birthday celebration! Marc’s 25th birthday was yesterday, and it happened to line up with our “cooking practicum” that we had to do. This means all of my sitemates went to Marc’s house around 11am to work on preparing food. I think Marc’s family thought that our entire soum would be stopping by for lunch, because we made SO much food. We worked together following instructions of Marc’s family and our Mongolian language teacher to create khoosher, tsuivan, egg salad, carrot salad, and potato salad.

Marc’s family also cooked us sheep meat in a very interested and incredibly tasty way. They heated up stones and added the meat, stones, water, onions, salt, and some vodka to this giant tin cooker thing and closed it up. They let it cook for a while, and WOW! That was good. I think my favorite thing of the day was the broth was came from the meat cooker thing. It is probably the best thing I’ve had since I’ve been here, actually.

We stayed at Marc’s for several hours, cooking, eating, singing Mongolian and American songs while Marc played guitar, eating more, having cake and more cake, meat and more meat, and some of us were given food to take home.

Afterwards we made plans to meet up soon to brainstorm about our community development project. And a few hours later, we did. We met under Alex’s shade tree, which has a view of the soum. It is quite pretty on shade tree hill, especially in the evening. We made some good progress and were ready to all go home when our Mongolian language teacher, Boloro, called. She met us at Alex’s house and asked us if we wanted to partake in some archery. Of course we did. We all took turns, and it was super hard to pull the line (or whatever it’s called) back at all. The girls in our group were pretty sad, and our arrows didn’t go very far at all. The guys did a lot better, but still we were all shown up by a 15 year old Mongolian kid, who pulled the line back with perfect form with no trouble. We left not long after that.

When I got home, my new mom and 20 year host sister fed me (yes, more food) and then asked me to milk the cows with them. So I did! I wasn’t making anything happen at first, but I eventually got into a very slow rhythm and was doing it pretty well. Nothing close to my sister, who was milking at warp speed compared to me.

I am looking forward to next week when I get to see Caleb for five days during PST mid-center days. We will all be coming together to sit through lots more safety and security talks and whatnot in Darkhan. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I will visit Caleb’s host family at his soum. We aren’t quite at the halfway point in PST, but time is definitely moving. I am staying very busy.

I wish I could actually post more frequently, but I have no internet at my soum. I am writing a blog post every week to keep everyone up to date, even though they are being published late. I am doing great here, so please don’t worry about me! I hope everyone is doing great at home. For those of you Alabamians, I hope you will be happy to know that I have been enjoying breezy high 60s low 70s weather these past few days. :)


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