Ok so I don't really like to write about stuff that happned a while ago in blogs or journals (somehow the events lose their potancy quickly and it seems like a chore to write about them after they've passed) but in order to bring you up to speed, I'm going to try and post some e-mails and journal entries between the beginning of training and now.
But for context's sake, here's a brief summary of the last few months:
I was in a wee suburb town called Gachuurt about 30 minutes outside of UB for training. The town was beautiful, boasting a winding river lush with trees- a rarity in such an arid country. The training lasted something like 2 1/2 months and we were instructed in Mongolian language and culture. I lived with a lovely host family of a 44 year old mother, 3 daughters, ages ranging from 19 to 26, the 11 month old baby of the eldest sister, a 24 year old host brother I didn't really see ever and an uncle who just came to crash on the floor, in addition to a cow, a calf, 2 dogs and the occasional random family member (a sassy little 5 year old more often than not) who came to stay for a while. It was a full house!
I had a pretty good training group. Sometimes the personalities clashed in a rather unsettling way but I found some amazing friends I will keep until the end of my Peace Corps service and beyond! There was certainly a group of people there who kept me afloat and I them. Together we seemingly clung to our sanity though many indulgent afternoons filled with movies, group studying, countless ice cream bars, girl talk and general kindness and understanding. I think we were lucky to have each other and I am over the moon about seeing them at Christmas.
Also, my LCF (the woman who was serverd as the Mongolian teacher for half my training group and surrogate Mongolian mother) was amazing! She went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we were all okay and adjusting well. It was so wonderful to have her as my bridge into Mongolian culture. She took us clubbing and then delivered us home safely, came early to help me with the language, spent all day shutteling Aaron and I around UB to buy food for the host family appreciation party and checked up on our host families frequently to make sure that we were getting enough food and love. Through here I was properly introduced to the legendary Mongolian hospitality.
So that's about all the basics of training. More in detail to come...