On Friday I couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed or go to school. All of the stress of visas, ever-changing inconsistent information from nearly every institution we’re connected to, frustration about how slowly language learning is progressing, and the details of upcoming travel, combined with not enough sleep just about crushed me. Today… Read More S’mores Can Lie if You Let Them
I wish that I had read Fluent Forever before I started learning Mongolian. Instead, I was 4 months into language school before I picked it up. So now I’m trying to change systems while I’m using them, when I could have set them up well from the beginning. I’m sharing what I’ve learned (and am… Read More 7 Tips for Learning a New Language
So, one day, I went to the corner store and they put my groceries in this bag: I was uncomfortable walking the 100 meters home. Because, as a white person in an Asian country, I HAD A SWASTIKA on my grocery bag. Except, it’s not really a swastika, at least not in Mongolia. Here it’s… Read More Context is Everything: When my grocery bag had a swastika on it.
In recent years I’ve become skeptical of Operation Christmas Child. Every year in November there are blog posts that circulate arguing that they’re a bad idea for the sender (who spends a lot of money feeling like they’re making a difference in the world but maybe their time and money would be better spent elsewhere),… Read More My Observations: Operation Christmas Child in Mongolia
I spent an hour today looking at Target.com and Amazon.com and putting things in my cart that I know I’m not going to buy anytime soon. They’re not things that I need; they’re just things that I miss. Like Brach’s conversation hearts. It’s the Sunday before Valentine’s and I have seen NOTHING related to the… Read More I Miss Things
English has a lot of idioms and metaphors that involve animals: “It’s raining cats and dogs!” “He’s as sly as a fox.” “She’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” But animals represent different characteristics in different cultures so a couple weeks ago I asked my language teacher what some Mongolian animal metaphors are. Some are similar… Read More Animal Metaphors in Mongolian
A recent study showed that immigrants who were given smart phones with a data plan adapted better to their new country while remaining connected to their loved ones in their old country. We are so thankful for our smart phones and data plans (which are way cheaper than in the USA) and the apps that… Read More The Most Useful Apps for Expats in Mongolia
It was in the -30’s Celsius (-20’s Fahrenheit) when we left for school this morning. Winter in Mongolia starts earlier, lasts longer, and is much colder than where we lived in Michigan. Mongolians have many practical adaptions to help them survive and thrive in cold, long winter. One of those adaptions is looking at winter… Read More Today is the Beginning of the Third Nine.
Sometimes your kind act will be lost on the person who is affected by it. But, sometimes your kindness can change the trajectory of a day. Sometimes it can help lighten the load just enough that someone who is struggling is not crushed. And you may never know the impact. … Read More Three Kind Strangers
Here’s some Friday morning fun with words for you. When translating, there’s literal translation, where you say exactly what the individual words mean in the same order they’re presented in the originating language. Then there’s dynamic translation, where you convey what the words mean, rather than the precise terms or precise word order. Translation is… Read More Fun with Words
We were told we have yellow skin. No one has white skin, that’s ridiculous. Mongolians, mostly, have brown skin. Mongolians with very dark skin are considered black (as are most people of African descent) and Mongolians with lighter skin are yellow. We stick out in a crowd, especially in late fall and winter when there… Read More On Being Yellow
“Mongolia has a lot of holidays!” my mom said when I told her we had last Monday (the 26th) off of school and work. “Not really,” I said, then thought about it. We have had a lot of holidays this month, but it’s because we combined two cultures. We got to celebrate Chinggis Khan’s Birthday, Thanksgiving,… Read More November is For Holidays!