Here are a few photos of my mom’s trip to Mongolia and to China.
At the end of April, my mother and I went to Beijing.
I went to a rock show.
A few nights later, I went to a punk rock show.
In the few days that we were in Beijing we did many things. We spent 2-days hiking and one night camping on unrestored parts of the Great Wall. We rode bikes at night and ate Peking Duck. Of course we went to the Forbidden City. We also spent some time in the National Art Gallery and National Museum.
Now, I am back in Choir and the weather is much better for doing art outside. While I was doing this piece two boys walked up to look at what I was working on. We talked for a few moments before they left. I watched them turn around and walk back to say, “Can you teach us how to do art?”
I’ll be teaching an outdoor art lesson on Monday.
Yesterday, we got our first rain of the year. Let me back up. A week ago I was in the capital helping to update the Peace Corps Mongolia Language Manual for the incoming class of M25 volunteers. Between work I would spend time relaxing at the hostel where other international travelers would wander in from their vagabond adventures. I met an Australian man who was on the precipice of returning home after spending 18 months as a volunteer in Mongolia. A friend and I asked him, What are you looking forward to in Australia? And he replied, Well, the Australian environment is very much like Mongolia especially with the light. It isn’t yellowed like in the Mediterranean. It is piercing.
He continued, But the big difference is the lack of rain. I’m looking forward to spending a whole day sitting inside while it is raining. Ya know, where you can smell it before it hits and then the temperature drops and the whole environment just feels wet while you hear it pour down on the roof. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that.
Yesterday, it rained.
I wanted to provide a very short update with a few illustrations. I’ve started working with the Mongolian Gender and Equality Center on creating a comic about several cases for awareness materials. My guitar club has been popular and there are a few students who are developing some new hidden talents. My art club is also very entertaining and there is one student who is interested in fashion and she has got great talent and drive.
I recently met with Andrew Seiss, a young 23-year old, who is walking around the world. We happened to be in South America at the same time several years ago and by chance met the same people. He was riding his bike from his home state of Minnesota to the Tierra del Fuego and back. A great adventurer and new friend.
The vision for this Mongolia book is started to take form and hopefully these illustrations will be collected with my thoughts when I get back. In the meantime, enjoy these new additions.
We’ve been going through our Mongolian language and Community Youth Development training for two-weeks. The Mongolian language is pretty tough, but we’ve all been reassured by our 2nd and 3rd year Peace Corps mentors that we will get it eventually. Right now, it seems like there are daily ups and downs within the group, but we’ve all become pretty good friends sharing the highlights and frustrations.
The food is largely based on flour and meat. I’ve eaten noodle and mutton meat soup or pasta almost every day. There aren’t many spices are sauces that go on the foods so it can sometimes be tough to get excited about the cuisine. I was able to help out in a butchering of a sheep and it reminded me of doing the same in the Patagonia a few years with a gaucho. In Mongolia, they do this neat trick where they cut a hole below the sternum and put their hand in and cut the aorta so the blood isn’t wasted and there isn’t much of a bloody mess. I didn’t do a whole lot, but I held the legs as it passed, which was a bit surreal.
I’ve been playing a lot of basketball with my younger brother Purbaater which means “Thursday’s Hero”, but his nickname is Odus, which means “Small”. He has got a great jump shot, which is probably from his Judo training. My parents are very kind and laugh a lot. They are both involved in raising bees, which is a big occupation in my area along with growing vegetables.