Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer Plans

My summer is filling up! I recently recieved an email informing me that the camp I volunteered to work at in June would love to have and will, in fact, fly me out! It is in Bayab-Olgi, which is far west Mongolia. Seriously pul up Google Maps and check this place out. It's not space, but it's a pretty fine frontier. They speak Kazahk and the population is mostly Muslim. I am really excited to see such a different part of Mongolia. And really excited they are flying. 2 hour plane ride vs. 55 hour bus ride. Hugely Awesome. Ok so here is my summer:
I think I will go to Bayankhongor the 30th of May and then go to UB from there on the 3rd of June. Because I want to,
3-5 UB (meetings, a concert, cheering friend Josh at the Marathon, greeting the new volunteers at the airport, eating food, taking showers...)
6-10 or 11 Erdenet (visiting friend Katie, eating food, taking showers, meeting her cat, seeing Erdenet: The Boston of Mongolia)
10-11-12? UB (Get on the plane. When? How much luggage can I bring? Are there showers at this camp?...)
12-30 Bayan-Olgi (CAMP!, hopefully as close to the independant film as possible.)
30-1-2? UB (fly in, get back to Arvaikhher, spend as little money as possible)
I just found out that there are only flights from Bayan-Olgi to UB on Tuesdays and Saturdays. So Camp ends the 30th, but I wll stay in a hotel in Bayan-Olgi until the 4th! WOOT?!!!!
6?-11 Arvaikheer (Laundry, prepare for Overkhangai Life Skills Camp, Naadam!)
12-24 Hojirt Soum (CAMP! Part Deux!)
25-30 Arvaikheer (Laundry, rest, hike?)
31 UB
1 UB (Mother and Aunts Arrive! 4 Redmond Women of on a Whirlwind Mongolian Adventure! Look out!)
2 UB (See UB briefly, rest)
Day 1 8/3. Bagagazariin chuluu
Day2. 8/4 bayanzag and Temeen shavar
Day3. 8/5 Khongor sand dune
Day4. 8/6 Full day Camel trip around Khongor sand dune.
Day5 8/7 Ongi Temple
Day6 8/8 Orkhon water fall
Day7 8/9 Arvaikheer

9-13 Arvaikheer Hang out and see where Caitlin lives, works, and plays. Hike?
14-15 UB last sights, say goodbye
16-26 Arvaikheer (cry, laundry, Greet the new Arvaikheer when the come after they Swear-In on the 20th.)
27-29 UB/Outside of UB Mid-Service Training!

And soon after that my bike project event happens. Busy busy summer full of fun travel! I am so excited. And I hoping there won't even be too big of a letdown at the end of the summer because of the 88Bikes project and the new volunteers. I am going to make them be my friends by winning them over with my delightful personality, infectious sense of humor, and persistance! And if neccasary tying them up in my ger and making them play Uno with me. Just kidding! ...mostly...

I hope you all will have as good of summer as I am going to have. Although propably with more swimming and bbqs and grass. Blarg.

love, C

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dip n' dots from Outer Space

Last night, walking home, we were hit my some sort of supernatural thunder ice storm from outer space. It was pretty crazy. It was like Zeus thought Percy Jackson stole his lightning bolt and was hurtling ice kernels down at us mere mortals in anger. Or something. When I got home, I had a handful of ice in the pouch of my hoodie. Awesome as I am, I had made a huge fire before leaving for dinner so my ger was warm and cozy upon our return. Epic win.

This weekend was a nice break. There were a ton of volunteers in town and we ate a lot of good food. This week all the M19s need to go into UB for their COS (close of service) conference. So, in addition to our regular 5 PCVs in town, we had our soumers Kristen and Marissa from Kharkhorin and Brandon from Hojirt. And just because Arvaikheer is the bee's knees Lindsey and Josh came too. Ihab and Alberto, new VSO volunteers stationed in town were awesome enough to hang out with us a little too. Needless to say very little Mongolian was spoke all weekend.

Friday night Karaoke fun was had along with some group games. Saturday we ate at French Toast and Loving Hut and exchanged so many tv and movie files we all should be good on entertainment for many months. That night was the going away party for one of M19 sitemates for her counterparts and other people. She is officially gone from Arvaikheer, but is staying in UB another year as one of our PCVLs (volunteer leaders). It will be nice to have her still be around, but a little sad that she is all moved out. The bright part of the evening was teaching my friend Khandaa the "awkward turtle" sign. Hahaha!

Sunday all the M19s left for UB. Marissa, Josh, and I watched The Shining and I made Spicy Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta. (I will eat the leftovers for dinner tonight and I am already thinking about it. Yum Yum) Just as Marissa's car came to take her home, (that sounds way fancier than it actually is) Ihab came over. Josh, Ihab, and I played Uno while we waited for our Loving Hut pizza to be made. Walking home from dinner was the ice kernel storm from outer space. Crazy weekend!

It is amazng how hanging with friends can make my life seem so normal. I really forgot that I live in a tent without plumbing in a country where I barely speak the language. Not that remembering is a bad thing, but it was nice to have other things to focus on. Movies and food and friends and fun.

In work news, I have finished my first draft for the 88 Bikes proposal. The project is really coming along, but there is so much left to do. One step at a time. My grant was approved for the summer camp project. We will have enough funds for 37 scholarships for disadvantaged youth as well as money for supplies to conduct HIV/STI/AIDS prevention trainings will the campers. This will take place in the middle of July and I am super excited.

It is cool today, but I am still wearing one of my new skirts. I found a second hand shop and bought a couple to extend my wardrobe a little. Of my pants, only one pair jeans really fit anymore and I can't wear those to work. I also bought some teal knockoff converse shoes. I think the combo looks pretty awesome!

Shannon, I hope this makes you happy. I will try to do better with keeping my blog updated.

I miss you all. Congrats to all my friends who are graduating! I love you all!

love, C