Letter to all, 11-05-00


November, 2001, part two

I'm teaching the police English. Adults are worse than kids for being chatty and always trying to go ahead and not let me pace the class for slower learners. It's odd for me to discipline police.

I get Newsweek and IM-chatted with a friend in America on X.13, who reflected the pain, anger, and fear of my country. I came home and tried to release my souls' screaming thru physical exertion. I feared grandma would see me and think I'd hurt myself chopping wood. Probably not a good idea to swing an axe when vision is blurred.

I was left to teach 5th grade, as a teacher was "sick". She had gone to the border to earn money. Deplorable to do this ahead of the priority of teaching her students, but how can one blame her for trying to feed her family? One reason Mongolian education is in the state it's in.

I sat down to help an 8th grader in class. The smell of vodka is easy to recognize. So I asked: What'd you have for lunch today? What' you drink for lunch today? Student: medgwee, youch, (I dunno, nuthin) I held him after class to talk with the teacher and me. Urging her to talk with the boy and not yell nor hit him. I couldn't help but laughing after he'd left. Turns out his older brother and father pressed him to drink before he left for school. How are teacher to discipline a child when it's his authority figures at home causing the irresponsibility? We reported it to the homeroom teacher. The fix all. Yet sometimes the HRT does not deal with discipline either.

I convinced teachers to hold peer tutoring sessions. This is out of the usual norm to only focus extra activities on the good student. And many students are showing the benefits. One teacher happily told me of how much better one girl is doing and how happy the girl is when she gets the precious euphoric "ah ha".

X.19 I go to my first "housewarming". Groups take turns cycling in during the 3-day event. The usual finger games, drinking, singing, and eating. I enjoy these gatherings, especially now that my language is better. The next day another teacher also had one. This was also his marriage. He already has a little boy, but these days of receiving family and friends in their new ger now means he's married. No single moment ceremony. It's also nice for me to go to such events because I'm always special-being the American teacher. I also got a look into the accepted level of humor, as our director of studies presented the gifts from the teachers. We'd collectively donated money. One of the pieces was a large carpet. The director wished our teacher well; that he have a warm fire, and that he can take off his jacket and play with his wife on the carpet.

Pat and I met a French guy in the store and later met p with hi for a drink. The company of a Westerner is a nice bit of variety and he could bring a bit of outside perspective to the scene with America.

I made the mistake that the housewarming festivities would be finished and returned to Batbileg's in my grungy ger clothes-he's a close neighbor. It was a cool gathering of all his friends though. We got shuffled out as a group of family came. And my image of negativity to some Mongolian men was renewed. Not but 2 hours earlier had this friend of Bataa's told me that his wife was not currently at the party because she was due to give birth any day, and here he was pulling me off to the side to suggest how good it would be for him, a Mongolian, and me, an American, to get together. Bastard!

Then I get to hand out with a different sort of guy. His name is Oiduv. His legs are crippled beyond use, and he uses braces and crutches donated from a trip to an American hospital in Los Angeles. We both get undue attention and are of the few who have lived outside the country. So we get along very well. He ha a friend with him I couldn't understand. So, he was teaching "how to talk to a foreigner". Many without exposure just don't seem to realize I could understand them very well if they just modified their vocabulary a bit.

The return of the workers.

not yet bringing you up to date... working on it...


Fri Dec 28 19:51:58 2001