I kept a blog whilst I was out in Mongolia and I thought I would put them up on here to give you an insight into what life in Ulaanbaatar is like. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the immense cultural differences but I think it is important to know the kind of community you are donating your hard earned money to!
I am in general good health although I woke up this morning with a stinking cold! I know right? TYPICAL. I also had a pretty rough time on the Saturday after only managing about 10 hours sleep over 72hrs? Longest and hardest day of my life Saturday- without com
parison. Felt so so homesick and tired and just generally awful. More than a few tears were shed, I can tell you. All of your lovely cards and letters helped me through though- they are all up on my windowsill and really are making my room feel like my own space :)
(Left: Flying into Mongolia at sunrise)
Today I am feeeling goooddd. Although, I have to admit, a little hungry. Well, actually, VERY hungry. Mongolian food is basically carbs and protein and oil. Although everything they have cooked me tastes good, I can only manage very small portions as it is so so rich! I am coping though and I have changed my money up today so I can get some more food from the hypermarket which is only justtt accross the road :)!! Granny is worried and thought I was on some kind of diet I have eaten so little :L
I have to say, from what I have seen of Mongolian family life however, that it is so fascinating. To give just one example, due to the jet lag and general awfulness that was Saturday, I woke up at one o clock in the afternoon :/. I went in to have breakfast and ended up sharing it with the entire leg of a sheep wrapped in a blanket. In terms of technology etc, everything here is very much western but in terms of culture, it really is so different. They laughed at me as I went "woah" having shuffled in in my sleepy state :P
I start my work placement tomorrow and am working there only three days a week I discovered? Can I hear a woop woop for Mondays and Fridays off?? :P Start 9 and finish at five though. I might try and see if I can set up some extra sessions on those days to deliver my health and safety stuff. I have 50 certificates to distribute after all!
Already, there are social events booked into the calendar which means my time is already divided up- really 5 weeks is noooo time at all!! On the 18th I am going out to the nature reserve of Terelj (?) with other volunteers so see the real mongolia! This is what I have been hoping and waiting for so am so glad that I am going to be a part of that! :D Then, the following Friday, we are going for karaoke- oh yes, karaoke. Apparently a MASSIVE thing here, especially with the volunteers? Looking forward to humiliating myself there also! Lastly, I have also been asked to take part in this Your Voices project which is basically delivering hope to under privileged people and bettering their environment by encouraging aspirations. As a part of this, on the 2nd of April, I am visiting an orphanage where Zulaa is going to be giving a lecture- I will be working closely with her nearer the time to write articles etc for that.
So yes, I think that is basically me up to date. As much as I miss everyone at home, it is remarkable how quickly this is beginning to feel like the norm. I can see the days flying by remarkably quickly from now on. I think also that it has finally hit me that on what scale this really is going to be the adventure of a lifetime. I am well and truly independent here without a doubt and in a strange way, I am enjoying it?
I am saying this, bear in mind, before I have had to do my own washing...