Wednesday, September 2, 2015

School Has Begun! (9/2/15)

Across the country on September 1st, school begins. It’s kind of a big deal. In fact, it’s more of a holiday celebration than a real school day. Caleb and I were excited to start working yesterday, but what we ended up doing was going to our schools in the morning, attending our schools’ opening ceremonies, and going home.

I was told to be there at 7:30am. I was five minutes early. The ceremony didn’t start until after 8:30. Mongolian scheduling is one of the many things we will have to adjust to while we are here. The ceremony itself was pretty nice. All the students and teachers were there, and many parents. It took place outside in the courtyard, which was nicely decorated. Several students and teachers sang songs, some teachers and administrators gave speeches, and my ceremony featured two young contortionists who are students at my school. Caleb and I both gave speeches at our ceremonies, too. Caleb bravely gave his in Mongolian. My counterparts told me to give mine in English, so that students don’t think I know any Mongolian. That was easy. One of my CPs (counterparts) translated for me.

My counterpart, Nyamka, and I at my school's opening ceremony
After my ceremony ended, I spoke with my CPs for a bit about scheduling, and they told me to go home. No more classes today. I was kind of disappointed. This was the day I was supposed to start work and actually do something significant with my day. But no. So I went home. And Caleb joined me at home not too long afterwards.

So we napped. Caleb returned to the school in the evening to attend a teachers’ meeting. I got invited to a sort of dinner party for one of our teachers who will be out on maternity leave for the first half of the year. It was pretty fun. My CPs and supervisor were there, and I got to spend time with some of the other teachers I hadn’t really interacted with before. It was a good time, and I had the best soup I’ve had since being in Mongolia. It was so tasty!

Today, Caleb went to school in the morning. I didn’t have any classes until this afternoon, which were supposed to begin at 3pm but somehow changed to 1:30pm without my knowledge – adjustments. I am only observing classes for a few weeks, so I’m not teaching yet. I really enjoyed observing this 5th grade class. They seem super excited about learning English. There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy. This was about 2 hours, and then I was supposed to observe and 8th grade class for two hours, but our new English teacher isn’t starting until tomorrow apparently. So again, I was told to go home.

I went to the bank after school to transfer money to pay our rent. While this is a very easy task to take care of in the United States, imagine doing it in a different country, in a different language. But guess what. I was successful! It was a good day.

Ian's cat
Also, another M26 volunteer in our aimag wants a cat. An M25 brought a cat to my apartment today. We are holding on to her until Ian can come collect the cat. She is very sweet.

In other news, I’ve surprisingly had a lot of free time these past two days. A few days ago, I picked up a Stephen King book, On Writing, that I started a while ago. Simultaneously, Caleb told me that I should be writing. So, with Caleb’s encouragement and some inspiration from Stephen King, I’ve been writing a story. I wrote 1000 words yesterday and 1000 words today, and I hope to continue writing 1000 words every day.

Happy September everyone! Leave a comment below if you’d like!



  1. You have a kitty! You look so happy. I enjoyed the Stephen King book On Writing very much.
    Sounds like your school year got off to a good start...slow but good.
    I hope when you are not writing your story that you ( and Caleb ) will compile a recipe book of Mongolian foods. Love you! Marm

    1. It's just a temporary kitty. She owns the apartment already. School will be slow for a while, I think. We will likely be compiling a recipe book during our whole time here. Maybe we can make some videos to go with it. :)

  2. I too am interested in recipes from Mongolia, that would be fun to try over here so we can chat about food 1/2 a world away. Regarding your story, will you soon be publishing snippets for family?
    Mark L.

    1. Yes, we will definitely work on that recipe book. Maybe we can post recipes every now and then on the blog once we get them down. My personal favorite is khuushuur. It's not that difficult. Perhaps we can publish that one first and soon.

      With the story, I don't plan on anyone reading it until I'm finished with the first draft. At that point, I think I'll get Caleb to read it and make edits and then share with family. Caleb is what Stephen King calls an "Ideal Reader." He'll be my first editor. :)