Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It’s August! (8/1/15)

It’s August and summer is still here! It’s not snowing yet. Yay! It’s been pretty hot this summer surprisingly. It rains pretty often, which cools it down for a few days. And then it gets really hot and then rains and then it’s cool etc. etc. All of the host families that I know of still serve steaming hot soup or heavy meat dishes during these hot days. Once, I was eating soup on one particularly hot day, and I look over at my host brother and his face is just pouring with sweat. Light, cold summer cuisine isn’t really a thing here.

August means I’ve been here for two months. In one week, everyone will be leaving their host families. We’ll have final center days where we find out our permanent site placements on August 10th. We will leave for our sites on August 15th. I had a dream about a week ago that Caleb and I ended up in the Gobi-Altai aimag, which is to the west and is quite mountainous. The same night, apparently one of Caleb’s fellow CYD trainees dreamt about all of the CYD site placements. He ALSO dreamt that we were going to the Gobi-Altai. Before this, I didn’t have a particular aimag in mind, but since those two dreams, I kinda want to be in the Gobi-Altai.

Last weekend, my sitemates and I went to Ulaanbaatar, the capitol city. We left on an overnight train at 10pm and arrived at 6am. We stayed in unofficial Peace Corps hostels. We visited the Peace Corps office, took pictures at Sukbaatar square (sp?), shopped at the State Department store and more.

The best part was the food. It was SO nice to have a choice in food. For breakfast, we went to Millie’s and I split a special with another trainee. It was eggs, toast, fried potatoes, and steak. As in beef steak. As in beef. As in cow meat. Wow, was that good. We ate German doners for lunch, which we as good as the doners I had in Berlin, if not better. For dinner, I ate a cheeseburger. As in cheese. Not cheese curds. But cheeeeessse! Oh how I’ve missed cheese. You’d think with all the cows, cheese would be a thing here, but alas, no. Cheese curds are a thing, but that’s a flavor that I’m not quite used to yet.

We stayed in UB for one night and left around noon the next day. We took a bus to Darkhan and then took the train the rest of the way back to our soum. I really liked our visit there. We had a nice time, and it was nice to become more familiar with the capitol city.

Last week, I had three practice teaching days. Two were with my partner Mikey, and one was solo teaching. My first time solo teaching went pretty well! I had a few issues, but overall I think I did well for my first time. Our trainers offered some good feedback, which is always helpful. Next week, I will solo teach on Tuesday and co-teach with Mikey on Thursday. Thursday is our last day of practice teaching! I’m looking forward to being finished with training.

On Friday last week, my sitemates and I took our LPI (language proficiency something). Peace Corps wants us to score at the novice-high level. I feel good about my LPI, so I’m positive I got novice-high. We will find out our scores at final center days next week.

In other news, Peace Corps called for applicants to perform at our swearing-in ceremony. The six of us at my site decided to go for it. It’s a mash-up of a Mongolian song we’ve been learning all summer and the Cups song from Pitch Perfect. For this, Marc plays guitar, I play ukulele, Alex plays the trash can, Mikey plays the cup, and Lexa, Jessica, and all of us sing. I think it’s a pretty cool song, and we’re hopeful to get chosen to perform. Again, I will share this when I have internet enough to share it.

PST is almost over. This summer has gone by very fast. I’m looking forward to living with my husband again and hopefully having better ways to be in touch with everyone back home on a more regular basis. One more week! I can’t believe it! I can only imagine how quickly the next two years will go by.  

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