Friday, July 3, 2015

Sandstorms, Rain, and Sun 06/27/15

Another week of classes has flown by. On Sunday night we had the strongest sandstorm I have seen yet. I use the term sandstorm loosely. The image that comes to mind is something like “The Mummy,” with a face of death, destruction, and utter blindness. Here it is more like the wind kicks up the sand reducing visibility to about a quarter of a mile instead of 10+ miles. Walking in this environment can still be really miserable. Certain parts of Mongolia are more prone to sandstorms in the spring, but I think Darkhan, being rather dusty, has the occasional storm on a regular bases.

This week has also brought some rain which is a blessing, because it completely lowers the temperature. Last night was the coldest night I have seen yet, and I slept pretty snuggly in my warm sleeping bag. What follows the rain are days of pleasant sunshine with perfect temperatures.
Sally, I, and all of the other trainees have now been affiliated with the Peace Corps for a month. It is hard to believe that that much time has passed, yet the experiences have been so numerous that it feels like a year or an age has passed since we boarded the plane in San Fran.

On the humorous miscommunication front, my host community contains an enormous market where one may be able to acquire anything. The English speakers call it the Darkhan’s Black Market, because of its maze of vendors, stalls, shipping containers, buildings, and open air markets. This really unique place is also were the Taxi’s drop travers off for my community. Upon returning from Sally’s family on Sunday, I exited my taxi, and looked around for my family. When I didn’t see my Host mother or father, I oriented myself off of a building, cut through the market, and preceded to my Ger. (A distance of about 1.5 km) It was hot, but it was also the first time I had walked a decent distance by myself, so I rejoiced in feeling like I knew my community.

When I reached my Ger, I realized that my Family was not present, and also that my host sister had tried to call me multiple times. I called her back and explained in broken Mongolian that I was at the Ger/Home. Ten minutes later I see her running up the hill where upon seeing me she collapsed in grass. What I gathered from her is that she had been tasked with meeting me at the market, we had missed each other, and she was worried that I had been lost. Fear that she had lost the families American let to a mad dash back to the Ger to see if I had really made it home. Since, we had not been running, my host parents and I, found the whole experience humorous.

Later in the week, I was asked by my sister to translate a sentence and help her make signs out of notebook paper.  The sentence in Mongolian translated into, “Please, do not paint the walls.” It was explained to me that the signs were to go to the school where we were having class. I accepted the fact that there must be a group of English speaking children running amok in the school with paint brushes. When you don’t understand the language well, you learn to just go with it. Upon arriving at the school with my fellow trainees and seeing the sign in my hand writing placed were we would see them, I realized that it was for us. I also realized the difference between literal translation, and good translation. “Wet Paint! Please do not touch the walls.”

On the subject of translations, T-shirts in English are always fun. “Love Mosic”

Today, my fellow CYD trainees and I had a cooking class. We went to the market as one American horde, and with the help of our teachers purchased all we needed for lunch. We then stormed to one person’s house where we created great Mongolian dishes.

Tsiuvan is a dish containing steamed flower noodles, vegetables, and usually meat. We made it without meat. The noodles are created first with flour and water and rolled into flat layers which are then steamed about a pot of boiling water. Sometimes a soup is created and the noodles are steamed above the soup. Once the noodles are cooked the sheets of flower is cut into small pieces and mixed into a stir-fry of veggies and meat. I have had this dish a number of times with my family, and it is always good.

Khosher consists of fried dough stuffed with meat. Also very delicious, the flour and water is mixed and rolled into small circles. Raw minced meat combined with onions and various spices is then added on top of the dough. Folding the dough creates a pocket for the meat and the whole thing is fried in the skillet.

For Americans, I think we pulled off our luncheon/class pretty well. I should mention that Sally does not have access to the internet, so she will be posting things either through me or at a later date. My beautiful Wife is doing well, and we are looking forward to seen each other at mid-center days next week. On another note, I also have very limited access to the internet. I apologize for posting multiple blogs at once, but I do not have the luxury of spreading things out. Please check the previous blog to make sure you are caught up.   I also apologize for the lack of pictures. I am hoping to fix this at a better internet connection.


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