Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mongolia or NE Ohio? Weird weather similarities...

Though I still miss leaves and forests, creeks and grass, there are many similarities here to NE Ohio weather wise....
Now that it's November, my steam heat has been on for 6 weeks and I have winterized my windows , there are days that I'd like to actually open a window or two! Just like back home, one day it's unseasonably warm, then the next day it's freezing cold! My heat is steam, with the old fashioned radiators and it's very, very toasty! There are many buildings heated by the same boiler and you can see the little building with the boiler and the black smoke rising from the stack. There are many of these stacks in our town and consquently a bit of air pollution hanging about in the cold weather.
As they say in Mongolian, "oh yahnna" , which roughly translated means oh my. So even when it's really cold outside I'm sitting in my apartment wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Yes, I shudder to think of all the years of cold interiors when I insisted on turning down the thermostat (with pricey gas heat), telling the kids and myself to just wear more clothes!
Now I can relate to what they wanted and rather enjoy the excessive warmth. However, I feel a little guilty with the excessive warmth. On the other hand, thank goodness I don't have to build fires daily or even many times during the day or night like my unfortunate counterparts living in gers.... (I was very fortnuate to enjoy the ger living experience during the summer and made very few fires...good thing, because fire building is not my forte'.
So I go from the warmth cozy comfort of my apartment, and have to hurridly layer up to go outside. Even wearing a long sleeve T and a light sweater inside make me sweat...Thus far, there have only been a couple days when I actually wore long underwear, though many days I wear the fleece sock/boot liners with my socks and boots.
It's still not cold enough for me to wear wool sweaters, long johns and a scarf over my face, but I'm sure the day will come soon enough.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

just call me baagst.....

a few of the advanced english class students at the Arvikheer museĆ£m. we practice speaking skills,and pronunciation top 2 and left

ecology club members have many awesome projcets above below and left

ecology club members top and left...

knitting club at the dorm!

english class at the dorm

Just call me baacsht ..which roughly translates to teacher in Mongolian. Though a social worker by education, I have found that I am mostly teaching English here, and I love it! However, I really need to brush up on my language skills. I cannot diagram a sentence to save my life, in fact I don't think I spelled it right either!
I currently teach two English classes to the dorm students (a few of them shown above) and they are wonderful, bright, eager, loving, sweet and sometimes mischevious! Mostly they just need more love and attention, which I am doing my best to give them. I have little teaching experience so am learning and flying by the seat of my pants! Some training this summer has at least helped me attempt to plan class time and what we will cover. There are over 60 students who attend the two classes! Sometimes I have 15, other times 30 with varying skill levels so it is challenging. I resort to playing games (hopefully they are educational), toss a spiderman ball to a student, try to pronounce their name (they made name cards with their names written in English) then ask them a question. The hour passes quickly and at least they are having some fun (me too)! One of their favorite activities is writing on the board so we do that every class, as well as using dice to practice counting and playing games in teams...
I have an amazing counterpart/dorm teacher, Octay, and we have found that we are of one mind when it comes to the dorm students and what they need!
Witness Octay teaching kids to knit! We have our own little stitch and bitch, Mongolian style going on! It was her idea and I happily joined in, even though it's on Saturday afternoon ...We started out with about 7 girls and within 2 hours had 20 kids there! Some already knew how to knit and others (including a few boys) were eager to learn! I brought chopsticks for those without needles and bought the locally available cheap yarn for the kids to practice with. They are so proud of their accomplishments and it makes my heart full!
The advanced English class is one that I mostly just practice speaking skills with and assist them with pronunciation. One of the interesting words we discussed was lion. They always say it like "leon". I told them that is a boys name, and if they want to sound like a native speaker....lion it is. Always a lively discussion in that group!