As I come to the end of my final year of service, the anxiety of not keeping up to date with this blog has finally gotten the better of me. There have been several times where I have sat down to write an entry and couldn’t figure out what to say, or just ran out of steam. So, I’m going to provide you with more of a visual journey instead of a verbal one this time.
My parents came to Mongolia! They visited Choir, UB, Murun, and Darkhan.
My new sitemates and I facilitated a teacher development workshop. (photo by Brandon Westemeier)
Teacher’s Day, 2016
5th School’s Halloween Party. Very popular!
Hot Pot dinner with the sitemates (photos by Brandon Westemeier)
Gobi Thanksgiving 2016 (photos by Tom Dutcher)
Thankgiving with my Counterparts, solo-cooked
World Map project, worked on by teachers and students
Making garden rolls with Brandon (photos by Brandon Westemeier)
Shine Jil, 2017.
Gobi New Year, 2017. There was a party. 10 people at my house. There were indoor fireworks. It was great. There are no photos.
I went to UB, checked out our brand new Hard Rock Cafe, turned in applications to Middlebury Institute of International Studies and NYU, and received 2 packages from family back in the States.
With the help of my wonderful sitemates and counterparts, I ran creative writing workshops for teachers and students and then a creative writing competition.
My teachers received teaching and visual arts supplies, courtesy of Soroptomist International of Hampton Roads, VA, my Aunt Barbara, and my mother.
We had Eastern Gobi Regional IST. It was nice to get together and learn with other PCVs and from professional Mongolian Language Teachers.
A much different Tsagaan Sar than last year, because I was by myself. I went to a grand total of 3 houses. This is my star student and her family. She’s the one in purple, behind me.
Then there was TripleFest2017 (Feb/Mar)
Festival #1: Ice Festival, Lake Khuvsgul. The lake fully freezes over, several feet deep. (Some photos by Isabella Stocks)
Festival #2: Eaglefest, Ulaanbaatar. Eagle hunters from western Mongolia come to demonstrate their hunting skills and techniques. (Some photos by Isabella Stocks)
Festival #3: Camel Festival, Bulgan, Omnogobi. Plus Yoliin Am! We spent one night sleeping in the car and then the next two at the smallest hotel I’ve ever been to. (Some photos by Isabella Stocks)
Brandon and I had a St. Patrick’s Day celebration with our CPs. (Photos by Tsetsegjargal Dagvadorj)
Some of the teachers and staff set up a miniature ger in the new culture room. I didn’t help much, but they let me get a picture with it.
COS Conference, where we learned about the administrative responsibilities of closing out our service, learned which week we would be leaving, and saying goodbye to many of our cohort. (Photos by myself, Jennifer Myung, and Cailey Biles)
My school’s staff took part in a fitness challenge, where we jogged around our town’s track and did group exercise on the soccer field for 5 days in a row.
Many of the foreign language teachers in Gobisumber went on a trip to Selenge to visit some of the schools and see some sites along the way.
Near the end of May, I signed a contract to work with a private school in UB for the next two years!
I assisted my sitemate Brandon with the facilitation of his Summer Leadership Camp.
I met some new friends and visited a summer kindergarten for the children of nomadic families as well as the Kherlen River, near the place where Chinggis Khan was born.
I assisted at a summer camp for orphans in Erdenet.
In July I’m packing up all my stuff and leaving for the US, where I will spend one glorious month travelling across the country, buying clothes that fit me, and drinking delicious American beer before returning to Mongolia to continue my journey.
Here’s to two more years of adventure!