Sunday, January 31, 2010

my favorite month!

Happy February! It is the best month of the year!

Last friday I taught an English lesson to some monks at the monastery next to my haasha. It was great. The called me a Peace Corps Valentine. I taught them how to introduce themselves, the difference between volunteer and valentine, and the difference between p and f, which is difficult for mongolians. It was my favorite thing ever.

This past weekend was really great. PCVs Tyson, Brandon, and Marissa came to Arvaikheer from their various sites. It was great to spend time with them. Friday we ate at loving hut, then people came over to my ger, and then some of us went to New Leader Dance Club and busted some moves. My favorite part was when they played the Macarena. Saturday we had lunch at Altan Holboo, one of my top 3 Arvaikheer restaurants. Afterwards I returned home to bake cookies, finish laundry and get ready for our evening get together at Allison's place. Other people climbed to the Russian friendship monument, but I was really commited to those cookies, so I did not. Plus I am lazy. Allison's was eally fun. We ate (broccoli cheese soup, cookies, paprika chips, and Eritrean yum yum. We also played Truth or Dare like all grown-ups do at get togethers. My favorite dare was Brandon having to eat mongolian yogurt out of a cup which was placed between Marissa's knees. So mature.

Sunday a few people came to my ger for Kimchi stirfry lunch, which lasted until about 5. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning, watching the end of Season 3 of Dexter, and taking a shower. I feel kinda crappy today. Boo. I have a hard time feeling healthy for more than 4 days at a time. Its also really polution-y outside today. I don't like, I don't like, I don't like Mondays. But not as much as that one girl didn't like Mondays. At least it is February!

I love you! Be good! love, C

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I finished Pope Joan. I liked it, it was a real page turner. Not brilliant or anything, but good. I am still reading Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower IV, and HP and the Chamber of Secrets, and have now started The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, mostly because it is smaller than Wizard and Glass, so I can carry it around in my backpack.

Terrence and Brandon came to Arvaikheer last weekend and Terrence stayed with me Friday and they both stayed with me Saturday night. My ger is really too small to accommodate 2 grown men on the floor, but we made it work. I even treated them to French Toast on Sunday morning. Saturday I went over to my VSO friends Melinda and Antoine's apartement for crepes. Antoine is French, so they were authentic and delicious. For toppings we had a variety of canned fruit spreads that Melinda had made. I even got to try some of Melinda's (who is Australian) vegemite. For those of you who have not had it, I think it tastes a little bit like a spreadable boullion cube. Strong, but not all together unpleasant. I would totally eat it before I starved, if it came down to that.

My cat seems to think that my pillow is the only place she can sleep. This is becoming difficult as it is actually my favorite place to put my head while I sleep. Also, if my hair moves, my cat needs to bat at it, often hitting my face, distrupting my sleep. I do feel a little relunctant to completely banish the cat from the pillow, as I know he remembers such afronts and will get back at me later. I saw a picture headline on the onion which showed a cat and was titled "Kitten thinks if nothing but murder all day." Kinda makes you think...

I went to Book Bridge Library yesterday and sorted books. I really like alphabatizing books, although they sometimes look at me like I am crazy. I really think I can read a majority of the Advanced Fiction section by my COS, that's Close Of Service. Somewhere around July 2011.

Camber, just an FYI, this year July 11 and 12 is Naadam, or the festival of the three manly sports. Wrestling, Archery, and Horseback Riding. It and Tsagan Sar coming up in February are the two biggest Mongolian Holidays. If you can, you moght want to try to come them. There will be a lot of tourists, but it is quite the event to see. Also, you better not use language like that when you come here! hahahaha

A big thank you so Sara and Tony Venhuizen for the package I just recieved, candy canes intact and all! Also to my sweet Aunt Casey, thank you so very much and I hope you got the splinter out. If not, why not make one of the yound men lifeguards at the pool help you. Perfect.

I made my first really impressive meal in my ger yesterday. I soaked dried tofu in a little soy souce and water the night before and stirfried them with Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage, the national dish of Korea), peppers, and onions. I was amazing, if i do say so myself. See I can cook! And then I did the dishes! I am quite the domestic goddess.

My just internet went out when I was talking to my dad. Poo. I love you dad.

I guess I will have to post this later, maybe tomorrow. Why internet? WHY!?!?!?!

Happy Birthday tomorrow to Aunt Kate!

With help from many people, I was able to contact a nice Mongolian man to start making a frame for my hammock. Hopefully by my birthday, I will have my hammock set up in my ger. Perfection.

Did I mention I was going to get internet in my ger for my birthday? I am! It will be great. Should I get wireless or cord? I need to figure out the pros and cons of each.

ok, now it should work!

love, C

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I can read. But mostly I watch TV.

The bus back from UB was not the party bus. However the rows were really close together, so we were all pretty cozy. We got started late, stop frequently (although not for lunch), Patrick and Brandon were concerned about not recognizing scenery (for a while we wondering if we were going to Bayonkhongor), but somehow we made it to Arvaikheer about a half hour before we usually do. I swear time does not flow the same way here. I immediately met Allison, I got Toulouse (my cat, we are trying Toulous now), and took a cab home. I haven't done much since getting back besides work and rest. I am still coughing a lot and am exhausted all the time. poo poo

I am so entertained right now. I got some new tv show seasons from friends on my external hard drive and picked up a couple new books in UB. I thought I would start to make a list of what I am reading/watching and a short review. Mostly for Miss Madeline, whom I adore.
30 Rock- funny, although I am still mad that it came out at the same time as Studio 60 and doomed it to failure, even though Studio 60 is smarter. The best part is really that everyone here is watching it, so we have inside jokes about it. Also I like Tina Fey and that Jenna girl from Ally McBeal.

Arrested Deveopment- I don't think it is as funny as other people do. It has it's moments and can be nice to watch after something scary (Dexter) before bed...but only since I finished Scrubs.

Big Love- Perhaps my favorite thing discovered since coming to the frozen tundra. I find polygamy really facinating and I really like what's his face and the third wife. They have really nice houses though, so sometimes I get sad. Like when they get ice out of the ice maker in the door of the fridge. :(

Carnivale- I am a little bored in the second season. But the first was really good. And I like Clea DuVall (Madeline, remember that episode of Buffy she was in where she turns invisible and gets to work for the CIA? That was awesome!)

Dexter- Makes me miss my dad who watches it and is too scary for me to watch in my ger. But I do it anyway, then I have nightmares. But not as much if I watch something light like Arr. Dev. or The Simpsons before bed then read a chapter from the british Harry Potter books that the book bridge library has. More on that later

Entourage- Another bit of awesome. Although since it features famous people in hollywood they have a lot of things I don't have. Like showers.

Extras- Hilarious, especially the 1st season. Kate Winslet advising how to have good phone sex while in a nun's habit may be the best thing that has ever happened on british television. (distinction due to Aaron Sorkin, hahaha!)

Firefly- AMAZING! No, this is my favorite show discovered in Mongolia. Joss Whedon is awesome. A big thank you to Madeline for teaching me about Joss. You are even more awesome.

Freaks and Geeks- good show, although I can kind of see why it was cancelled. Seth Rogen is really boring in it though, he got better with age. What happened to the girl? She is good.

Glee- I just started it. Why did my High School not have glee? I love it alot. I wish I was watching it with Jordan. I sing along through most of it.

Rome- Really good, although again a little too scary for my ger. They had indoor plumbing., which gives me some pause here in the hoodoo. I watched it all while during laundry, so now I need a new laundry show. Maybe Dexter would be better then...

The Simpsons- Great for after Dexter watching. I feel a little behind the times just watching it now.

The West Wing- yes I watched it again! I miss Jennie.

I just found out the Brandon is downloading Studio 60 for my birthday! Woohoo!

Currently reading:

A Year of Living Biblically: A guy tries to live biblically for one year. Funny, kind of annoying, makes me think i should write a book about living in Mongolia. He writes it just like a journal, and people say they like my blog, hmmm...

Wizard and Glass: 4th? installment of Steven Kings's Dark Tower Series. It is hard to keep track of all that happened in the 1st three and I think I have 3 more to go. Sometimes too scary to read in my ger, plus I don't have the next one here, so I am going really slow.

Harry Potter: I am re-reading HP because the library here has the British edition of the books. I like finding the differences from the American versions. The first one is called HP and the Philosopher's Stone. Dudley learns the word "shan't" as a baby (as opposed to "won't") and they spell color with a u. Also, I am a nerd.

Lion of Ireland- I got bored after 2 pages so I put it on hold considering I am reading about 7 other books at the same time.

Pope Joan- I just picked it up in UB at Greg's house. He let me take it, I didn't steal it! Just finished the introduction. I have heard good things.

What Dreams May Come-I haven't checked this book out, but I read it when I am at the library. It's pretty bad. I didn't even like the movie. Why am I reading this?

Recently finished:

Mere Christianity, CS Lewis- I prefer Narnia and felt it was rude that he could give me his side but he wasn't around to hear my arguments. Still I feel more cultured, so that's something.

Water Music, TC Boyle- I generally liked it. They talked alot about how hot it is in Africa, which was sometimes frustrating. I am reading it while in my sleeping bag freezing to death, but whatever. The descriptions of the enourmous queen were amazing.

Twilight-I hate myself. It's a disease! Sometimes it is good to just have something mindless to do. Plus Patrick read them with me so there!

I am really hungry, so I am going to go home now. I will add more later if I forgot some. love, C

Friday, January 15, 2010

UB! I am so poor!

The rest of the H1N1 shots for us Peace Corps Volunteers finally came in. This means anyone volunteer that hadn’t already received the shot due to their remote location or size or medical issues, had to come to Ulaanbaatar last weekend or this weekend. So Thursday morning, Patrick, Terrence, and I headed to UB on the 8 am party bus. The party bus is something other people had experienced, but this was my first time. It featured disco and laser lights as well as the most amazingly ridiculous music videos from a band called Modern Talking. 80s hair, keytars, and then later they added a rapper, I assume to help bring them into the next decade. At about 9 the karaoke started. Interestingly, at about 1030, the karaoke and music stopped, ridiculous Mongolian TV came on and apparently the party was over. I think once the sun comes up, the party is pretty much over. We arrived at about 2 pm and I headed to the PC office. Later that night we headed to Twilight bar for a few hours. It is really nice to hang out and see people I usually don’t get to see.
Friday I went back to the PC office for my H1N1 shot and ended up having to get Hep A and Hep B as well. Then a bunch of us went to Avatar at one of the two movie theatres in UB. It was an amazing movie and really fun. The screen was huge and there was popcorn, so I was really happy. Later I spent some time online and then went to Ix Mongol Restaurant and had a couple of beers with a bunch of volunteers. There are a few M19s that are getting ready to leave, so it was nice to see them before they head out.
So far on this morning, I came to Nayra’s cafĂ©, had pancakes and bacon and OJ and have been trying to get some research done on the Internet. Where should I go to grad school? What should I go to grad school for? Hmmmm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

boop boopidoo yeah

1. Eastern Orthadox Christmas meal with dishes from Eritrea was awesome. I love food and it is really funny to watch Mongolian taste spicy dishes. They no likey.

2. In 2 hours I will sing Popular from Wicked in front of my whole school. I needed a song without the words, Karaoke style, and this is the only solo I have. I wish I was Kristin Chenoweth.

3. Ate at Luving Hut again today. yum yum

4. Apparently my counterpart Tungaa wants to curl my hair for the occasion.

5. It is Andy's birthday today. I am so happy you were borned and that Canada exists so you could be from there. Happy Birthday!

5 1/2. It is cousin Kim's birthday. I am also glad you were borned. And glad I was born first. HAHA! Have fun celebrating in Steamboat! Happy Birthday!

6. Facebook gave my parents a C- for naming me Caitlin. I give facebook a D+ for being called facebook. It's so trendy like celebrity kids names. Apple, Pilot Inspektor, Zoltan, and the like. On the other hand if Sarah Palin was my creator my name would be Loin Falcon Palin.

7. I have a pot of water on my stove at all time to humiditize my ger a little. It was suggested that is I put in yummy smelling esential oil type drops in the water, my ger would smell nice. It is being added to the list to your left.
<------------------ That way.

8. I miss you.

9. My power cord that my lovely Uncle Dave ordered for my computer, made possible by donations from Jack and Bea, Dave, and Viewers Like You, has arrived at it's preliminary destination to be couried to Mongolia by a friend of mine returning from Christmas Holiday in the sun. Thank you unamed friend and those family members that made it possible!

1o. I love peanuts in the shell. They are delicious. I can use the shells in my cat litter mixture. And they bags they come in are good for small trash bags. It's the little things...

11. I love my sisters. Alot. Also, they need to stop bothering our mother when she is on the phone with me. I will eat them.

Love, C


Sorry I have been so neglectful. I just have not really felt in the mood to update. I still don't really, but we shall see where this goes.

Last week my school had "monita." Which is essentially a secret santa gift exchange coupled with a sort of awards ceremony. I sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" which was terrifying and funny considering the event was on New Years Eve. Many teachers received cakes and champagne and placks from the director and another teacher dressed up as Santa, only wearing blue and white, which I think comes from Russia. Mongolian New Years has a lot of christmas elements. In fact most people seemed shocked and a little jealous when I explained that we have both. Americans don't get Tsagan Sar which happens in February this year, so I guess that makes up for it. It was fun, although it started late, ended late, and I was freezing the whole time. I got a package of goodies (juice and chocolate) from the school and an awesome picture from my "monita." The picture has 3D qualities to it and is of the 4 friendly animals. (Dove on a Rabbit on a Monkey on an Elephant, which I think comes from Buddhism.) I gave my "monita" a card I made for Loving Hut restaurant Dinner for Two.

Afterwards, All the PCVs in town got together at Esayes's new apartment. (His previous one got flooded.) I had one drink, waited until midnight, and went right to sleep. Esayes and Brandon stayed up to watch LOST, but not this kid. I like sleeping so darn much. Although, my wallet went missing earlier that night, it was a pretty good New Years. (In spite of the fact I was too tired to jump off the couch at midnight)

The next morning, I got up super early and walked with Brandon to the bus stop. I sent him on his way to UB and headed home. It was a long cold walk to take so early in the morning, so I took a nap to reward myself.

That weekend I made more christmas cookies and took some to the post office after they called to tell me I had a package. They seemed to like them and the package from my glorious mother had food coloring in it, so the second half of the cookies had red and green frosting, while the first half only had white and vaguely brown, from chocolate powder.

This week has been fairly univentful. Patrick came back from his American holiday, which is nice. I also found out from my friend Melinda who is a VSO volunteer from Australia that a Mongolian man she knows is interested in building a frame for my hammock. I really hope this happens. It would be so much fun to have my hammock up in my ger, plus it would mean having guests without sleeping on the floor.

Tonight is Eastern Orthodox Christmas, so we are heading over to Esayes's again for some traditional Eritrean dishes. I twisted my knee yesterday walking home. It was already feeling a little sore, i think from all the squating I do, and now it hurts alot. poo poo Tomorrow apparently is some sort of competition that I am expected to sing an English song at. oh boy!

I miss you all so very much! love, C

PS It is very funny to me what is happening on Facebook right now between PCVs here and their friends at home. Their friends keep posting how cold it is in America and the PCVs are getting a little haughty about it. Things are being posted like, "YOU THINK THATS COLD!" and "YOU HAVE CENTRAL AIR YOU WEENY!" and "it's NEGATIVE 35 here and all I have is coal and a stove!" HAHAHAHA!